The 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships will take place at Keeneland Racing Track in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 4-5. Fans across the world may see the live matches on partner TV channels. Also, fans can place bets via simulcast outlets or online, making the event and the celebrations leading up to one of the most thrilling experiences ever.
Here are some interesting facts regarding the Breeders’ Cup, which dates back to the early 80s when a Hollywood star was hailed as the U.S. President, there were only a few TV channels, and gas rates & prices were cheap.
John Gaines: Father of Breeders’ Cup
John Gaines, who owned Gainesway Farm near Lexington and died in 2005, is the one responsible for the concept of a world championship thoroughbred race. Gaines viewed it as a chance to improve the racing industry. By adding a major fall race to match the Triple Crown in the spring and summer, Gaines sought to also improve the relationship between the breeders and the racing industry.
Gaines first proposed the idea of the race at a luncheon before the 1982 Kentucky Derby. After less than three years, Hollywood Park in California opened its gates for the first-ever Breeders’ Cup race. In front of more than 60,000 spectators and a national audience watching on their TVs, that fateful November race would become a yearly spectacle still going strong today.
Two Additional Days for Fans
To add more excitement to the race, officials of the Breeders’ Cup included a two-day event in 2007, which was hosted in New Jersey. Since then, the two-day race program has undergone several changes, and now the World Championships are split into a Future Stars Friday with five additional races for 2-year-old horses. The Super Saturday, however, was a race for horses aged three and older.
With more than $180,000,000 gambled on the fourteen championship races for all breakdown of the mile odds, the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar established a record for an overall purse last year.
Leading Breeders’ Cup Host
The Breeders’ Cup was held three times at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, which had been shut down in 2013. Currently, the park is now home to the SoFi Stadium. Santa Anita Park in Arcadia holds the record for most hosts with ten events.
Del Mar, which is a 2-hour drive south of Los Angeles, historically had its first hosting of the Breeder’s Cup last 2017. As great as these places are, Kentucky holds the record for the most hosted events at 11.
Foreign Horses Titleholders
One of the goals for improving the racing industry was to bring in competitors from all over the world in hopes of attracting a global audience. Since then, the Breeder’s Cup has hit that goal, with several foreign participants vying for that elusive title.
The majority of foreign horses that are doing well come from Europe and compete in turf events. Pebbles, a British-bred thoroughbred, had eight victories under her belt when she competed between 1983-1985. Goldikova, an Irish thoroughbred based in France, won the Breeder’s Cup three times. Asian contenders are also starting to catch up, as the 2021 finals at Del Mar saw horses from Japan(Loves Only You and Marche Lorraine) dominate the race.
Hall of Fame Race Mares
Twenty-four horses have overall achieved more than one Breeders’ Cup race, but only two have won three. Goldikova dominated the Breeder’s Cup for three years, winning the 2008, 2009, and 2010 editions in her three starts. Famed jockey Olivier Peslier rode Goldikova through these wins. After an exciting race in 2011, Golidkova failed to get an elusive four-peat as she only placed third.
Beholder, a mare based in California trained by Richard Mandella, thrived despite considerable setbacks. At age 2, she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and at age 3, she won the Distaff, and at age 6, she won the Distaff once more after missing the following two competitions due to injury.
One of the greatest races in Breeders’ Cup history belongs to Beholder in a win over Songbird in 2016. For their feats, both Goldikova and Beholder were welcomed to the Racing Hall of Fame.
Ireland For Most Number Of International Breeders’ Cup Wins
Thirty-eight of the 388 horses who have raced in the Breeders’ Cup over the years have triumphed, including Twilight Gleaming, Space Blues, and Modern Games in 2021 from Ireland. Following Great Britain, which has given birth to 24 winners, comes France, with eight.
With the 2022 Breeders’ Cup hanging around the corner, many fans are now thrilled to witness the most exhilarating horse racing finale show this year. While it’s still a week before this happens, it is always good to look back at how this grand racing show started and be amazed by the interesting facts that the Breeders’ Cup has.