About the Breeders’ Cup
Every fall, thousands of horse racing fans attend the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, a series of 13 races created to showcase the best thoroughbreds in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and more. Hosting duties for the two-day event traditionally rotate amongst North America’s top tracks, including Santa Anita Park, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Keeneland and Woodbine.
With $26.5 million in purses, the Breeders’ Cup is one of the world’s richest showcases of thoroughbred racing. The keystone of the event, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, is a 1 and ¼-mile race for three-year-olds and up and is usually the final Breeders’ Cup race on Saturday’s card. The list of entrants often includes the winners of that year’s marquee races, such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Travers, Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Past winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic include American Pharoah, Zenyatta, Tiznow, Sunday Silence, Unbridled, A.P. Indy, Cigar, Ghostzapper, Curlin and Saint Liam.
The female version of the Classic is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, traditionally held on Friday. The Distaff is a 1 and ⅛-mile race for fillies and mares who are three years old and up. Past winners of the Distaff include Zenyatta, Inside Information, Personal Ensign, Lady’s Secret, Azeri, Royal Delta, Beholder and Ginger Punch.
Aside from the Classic and Distaff, the Breeders’ Cup features 11 other exciting races, including the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Breeders’ Cup Mile, Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a key stepping stone along the path to the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown.
The Breeders’ Cup was inaugurated in 1984 as a year-end championship for the top North American thoroughbred horses, as well as from other parts of the world, especially Europe. From 1984 through 2006, the Breeders’ Cup was a single-day event showcasing seven (and later eight) marquee races. In 2007, it expanded to a two-day event, with additional races and an increased purse structure. Currently, the Breeders’ Cup features 13 races, six of which are contested on turf.
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