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What is the Breeders' Cup?

Added on: Oct. 25, 2016

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships consists of a series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races and it’s held every year at a different location. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup will be taking place on November 4th and 5th (Friday and Saturday) at Santa Anita Park, a thoroughbred racetrack in Arcadia, California.

This actual event is operated by Breeders' Cup Limited. This company formed back in 1982 and then just two years later, in 1984, the first ever Breeders’ Cup was held. The purse for each race can vary a great deal but is typically between $1,000,000.00 and $6,000,000.00 and there are 13 races held over the two day event. It used to be a one day event from its inception right the way up until 2006 when it first became a two day event.

All of the Breeders’ Cup races have traditionally been held in the United States, with the exception of 1996, when it was held in Canada at the Woodbine Racetrack. This is one of the top attended American Thoroughbred horse racing events, but the average attendance is slightly lower than that of several other major US horse racing events such as the Kentucky Oaks, the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes.

Each race in the Breeders’ Cup awards a total of four Breeders’ Cup trophies to the connections of the winner and the vast majority of winners from each race will also inevitably end up picking up the Eclipse Award in their respective division. The races that are currently run include the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

There’s also the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the $4 million Breeders' Cup Turf and, finally, the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Apart from the Dirt Mile which is limited to just 12 starters, a maximum of 14 starters are permitted in each of the 13 Breeders' Cup Championships races. The selection process is based on three different factors and this includes the performance of potential runners in Breeders' Cup Challenge Races, as well as a point system and also the judgment of a panel of racing experts.