Breeders’ Cup Preview 2018

Breeders’ Cup Preview 2018

The History of the Breeders’ Cup                           

The Breeders’ Cup is the answer to the age old question of who is the best. It’s history begins in central Kentucky in 1982. A group of prominent thoroughbred breeders led by the visionary John Gaines, hatched a plan to create a year-end, culminating championship. Their vision was to create an event that celebrated the best of horse racing.

The first Breeders’ Cup took place in 1984 at Hollywood Park, which is now closed, in Inglewood California. From its inception in 1984 through 2006, it was a single-day event; starting in 2007, it expanded to two days. All sites have been in the United States, except in 1996, when the races were at the Woodbine Racetrack in Canada.

The Breeders’ Cup Trophy is an authentic bronze reproduction of the original Torrie horse that was created in Florence by Giovanni da Bologna in the late 1580s. The horse is an ecorche, showing the muscles of the animal in detail. The original ecorche bronze horse of Giovanni da Bologna is in the Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The Breeders’ Cup Trophy was cast from the original and was directly supervised and approved by the University of Edinburgh for the exclusive use of Breeders’ Cup Limited. The largest version of the trophy is permanently owned by the Breeders’ Cup, and is displayed at the official host track each year. Replicas are presented to the connections of the winners of each of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races every year.

As the Official Flower Garland Provider of the Breeders’ Cup, Kroger Floral Design Center creates each of the 14 Championship race garlands. The official flower garland is comprised of the rare combinations of Beauty Asters, Golden Asters, Cremons and Catteleya Orchids, which are grown exclusively for the Breeders’ Cup since 1988.


How It Works                                    

Before the best can race, we need to determine who the best are. There are a few ways for a horse to qualify for a Breeders’ Cup race. The first is by winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, which you can learn more about here.


The second is based on a points system, where horses are ranked based on their performance in major races during the year. Points are awarded based on the following scale:

Race Quality Win Place Show
Grade 1 10 6 4
Grade 2 6 4 2
Grade 3 4 2 1


The third way to gain entry is to be selected by a panel of experts. For each race, there are a maximum of 14 horses selected for each Breeders’ Cup Championship race. Seven who come from the Challenge races and points system and seven who have been selected by the experts. This ensures the highest quality of competition.


How much do they win?

The Breeders’ Cup is the richest two days in sports, with $30 million paid out in purses and awards over the entire weekend. Winnings are paid out to owners, stallion nominators, and foal nominators. Owners share their winnings with their trainer and jockey on their own terms.


Purse Sizes

Future Stars Friday, November 2

Juvenile Turf Sprint $1,000,000

Juvenile Fillies Turf $1,000,000

Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies $2,000,000

Juvenile Turf $1,000,000

Sentient Jet Juvenile $2,000,000

Saturday, November 3

Filly & Mare Sprint $1,000,000

Turf Sprint $1,000,000

Dirt Mile $1,000,000

Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf $2,000,000

TwinSpires Sprint $2,000,000

Mile $2,000,000

Longines Distaff $2,000,000

Longines Turf $4,000,000

Classic    $6,000,000


Purse Distributions Percentages:

Official Finish Owner Purse
1st 55.0%
2nd 17.0%
3rd 9.0%
4th 5.0%
5th 3.0%
6th 1.0%
7th 1.0%
8th 1.0%
Travel Awards* 8.0%

*Travel Awards: $10,000 is awarded to all non-Kentucky starters in North America and $40,000 is awarded to all starters outside of North America.


Example: Breeders’ Cup Classic

$6 Million Gross Purse

Official Finish Owner Purse Travel Awards
1st $3,300,000  
2nd $1,020,000  
3rd $540,000  
4th $300,000  
5th $180,000  
6th $60,000  
7th $60,000  
8th $60,000  
$6,000,000 $5,520,000 $480,000


When are the Races

Future Stars Friday, November 2

Juvenile Turf Sprint 3:21 pm

Juvenile Fillies Turf 4:00 pm

Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies 4:40 pm

Juvenile Turf 5:22 pm

Sentient Jet Juvenile 6:05 pm


Saturday, November 3

Filly & Mare Sprint 12 pm

Turf Sprint 12:38 pm

Dirt Mile 1:16 pm

Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf 2:04 pm

TwinSpires Sprint 2:46 pm

Mile 3:36 pm

Longines Distaff 4:16 pm

Longines Turf 4:56 pm

Classic    5:44 pm


*all time are approximate and subject to change




1 Thunder Snow (IRE) Morning Line Odds 12-1

2 Roaring Lion Morning Line Odds 20-1

3 Catholic Boy Morning Line Odds 8-1

4 Gunnevera Morning Line Odds 20-1

5 Lone Sailor Morning Line Odds 30-1

6 McKinzie Morning Line Odds 6-1

7 West Coast Morning Line Odds 5-1

8 Pavel Morning Line Odds 20-1

9 Mendelssohn Morning Line Odds 12-1

10 Yoshida (JPN) Morning Line Odds 10-1

11 Mind Your Biscuits Morning Line Odds 6-1

12 Axelrod Morning Line Odds 30-1

13 Discreet Lover Morning Line Odds 20-1

14 Accelerate Morning Line Odds 5-2

15 Collected (AE) Morning Line Odds 30-1

16 Toast of New York (AE) Morning Line Odds 20-1



Photo by Austin Johnson/Ace Weekly

If you haven’t paid attention to horse racing science Justify won the Triple Crown you may be asking yourself, “Why isn’t Justify racing in the Breeders’ Cup Classic?”  Sadly the short answer is he is retired. However that answer doesn’t sit well with many people who have not been following the horse. WinStar Farm had planned to race Justify in the Classic however in early July Trainer Bob Baffert said in a statement that “Justify had some filling in his ankle, and he is just not responding quick enough for a fall campaign,” Baffert said. “We all wanted to see Justify run again, but ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure he is perfect. Without 60-90 days, I can’t be definite.”  Roughly two weeks later WinStar Farm President Elliott Walden said, “The timing is bad for another start in 2018, and therefore we have to retire him. Like American Pharoah, we can’t take the risk of running Justify as a 4-year-old. We all wanted him to finish his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but it was not meant to be.”

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