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Breeders’ Cup Classic
Breeders' Cup Classic
The Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1) is no doubt the most important race in the Breeders' Cup thoroughbred racing championships. It is the kingmaker, considered to crown the best of the best, having produced nine Horses of the Year in its first 20 runnings. Of the $26.5 million total purse for the fifteen Breeders' Cup races, the Classic accounts for $6 million, with a winner's share of more than $2.5 million.
American horseracing's classic distance is 1 1/4 miles on dirt, and in these races, the Breeders' Cup Classic has offered some of the most memorable, spine-tingling competitions the world of thoroughbred racing has seen. It is extremely competitive, with eight of the races decided by less than one length. The Classic's only two runaway victories quickly come to mind: Volponi's 6 1/2-length upset in 2002 at Arlington Park and Skip Trial's 6-length triumph in 1997 at Hollywood Park. That year's eventual champion, older contender Skip Away, won in 1:59.16, the fastest time ever for the Classic's 1 1/4 miles.
At the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic, Ghostzapper emerged victorious at 2.50 odds with jockey Javier Castellano. Roses in May came in second at 8.70 odds with jockey John Velasquez, and Pleasantly Perfect placed third at 2.50 odds with jockey Jerry Bailey.
In 2003, a field of 10 faced the starter vying for the winner's share. 14-1 shot Pleasantly Perfect was unhurried early, then turning for home went 4 wide to wear down 5-2 favorite Medaglia d'Oro in the final strides and win by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:59 4/5. It was 3/4 length back to 15-1 shot Dynever in third.
The Breeders' Cup Classic kicked off, quite appropriately, with a classic finish in the 1st Breeders' Cup in 1984 at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. Three horses came charging together through the final furlong, with longshot supplemental entry Wild Again setting the pace and prevailing finally by a neck on the inside. With Gate Dancer bearing in on favorite Slew o' Gold nearing the wire, jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. restrained the older male through the final yards to protect this would-be champion. Gate Dancer finished second but was disqualified down to third, moving Slew o' Gold up to second.
The year's best horse does not always win the Breeders' Cup Classic - the race did not yield its first Horse of the Year until 1987. That year, the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships returned to Hollywood Park, and along with it, Kentucky Derby 1986 (G1) champ Ferdinand coming face to face with the Derby's 1987 winner Alysheba. They hooked up inside the 16th pole and fought to the wire, with even-money favorite Ferdinand, under jockey Bill Shoemaker, prevailing by a nose. Ferdinand was voted Horse of the Year and champion older male, while Alysheba was honored as champion 3 year old male. On the following year, Alysheba won the Classic in near darkness at Churchill Downs' first Breeders' Cup and was voted Horse of the Year.
The Breeders' Cup Classic in 1989 saw Triple Crown rivals Sunday Silence and Easy Goer reuniting as they battled through deep stretch, just as they had at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) that same year. Having already won both the Derby and Preakness, Sunday Silence triumphed once more by a neck over Easy Goer, who had won at the Belmont Stakes (G1) that year. Sunday Silence was voted champion 3 year old male and Horse of the Year. After a truncated four-year campaign, Sunday Silence would then be sold for stud duty in Japan, becoming the country's all-time leading sire.
The Breeders' Cup Classic is no doubt the most important race in the Breeders' Cup thoroughbred racing championships.
The Classic's only two-time winner is Tiznow, who provided two scintillating finishes by holding off Giant's Causeway by a neck in 2000 at Churchill Downs, and then returning courageously to best Sakhee by a nose in 2001 at Belmont Park.
Three year olds have performed remarkably at the Breeders' Cup Classic, winning seven of the first 20 runnings. Tiznow was a 3 year old when he won and was voted Horse of the Year in 2000. Two 3 year old champions have also become successful sires. The Classic's 1990 winner, Kentucky Derby champion Unbridled, sired winners of the Derby and Preakness Stakes, as well as two Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) victors and one Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner. Meanwhile, the Classic's 1992 winner and Horse of the Year, A.P. Indy, regularly ranks among North America's leading sires and sired Juvenile Fillies (G1) 2001 winner Tempera.
The Breeders' Cup Classic has indeed yielded more than a few classic contests but it has also produced its share of puzzling wins and one especially bizarre finish. Just look at Arcangues who won in 1993 at 133.60-to-1, the longest price for any winner of the Breeders' Cup races, and Volponi who won in 2002 at 43.50-to-1.
The markedly unusual finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic took place in 1998, which featured the best field ever assembled for a Breeders' Cup championship race. Picture this. Silver Charm has taken the lead in the stretch but began to bear out in the final furlong. Leading European contender Swain (Ireland) followed Silver Charm to the far outside under left-handed whipping by his jockey, Frankie Dettori. Awesome Again dashed through the hole they created and won by three-quarters of a length over Silver Charm. Skip Away, the 1.90-to-1 favorite, who finished sixth, was voted champion older male and Horse of the Year.
Breeders' Cup race betting at OTB online racebook.
|Breeders' Cup Race||Grade||Purse||Date|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 4|
|Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile||I||$1,000,000||November 4|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 4|
|Breeders' Cup Distaff||I||$2,000,000||November 4|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies||I||$2,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf||I||$2,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Sprint||I||$1,500,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile||I||$2,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Mile||I||$2,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Turf||I||$4,000,000||November 5|
|Breeders' Cup Classic||I||$6,000,000||November 5|
OTB Schedule - Wednesday, Sep 28
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|
|Australia A||11:00 PM|
|Australia B||11:10 PM|
|Australia C||11:25 PM|
|Batavia Downs||6:15 PM|
|Belmont Park||1:29 PM|
|Charles Town||7:00 PM|
|Daytona Beach Eve||7:25 PM|
|Daytona Beach Mat||1:04 PM|
|Delaware Park||1:14 PM|
|Evangeline Downs||6:35 PM|
|Finger Lakes||1:09 PM|
|Grand River||6:35 PM|
|Harrahs Philly (Chester)||12:40 PM|
|Harrington Raceway||5:00 PM|
|Iowa Greyhound Park Eve||7:30 PM|
|Jacksonville Eve||7:45 PM|
|Jacksonville Mat||12:35 PM|
|Monmouth at Meadowlands||7:00 PM|
|Monticello Raceway||12:50 PM|
|Mountaineer Park||7:00 PM|
|Northfield Park||6:00 PM|
|Northlands Park (TB)||8:30 PM|
|Palm Beach Mat||12:59 PM|
|Penn National||6:00 PM|
|Presque Isle||5:25 PM|
|Remington Park||8:07 PM|
|Sanford Mat||1:29 PM|
|Southland Mat||5:00 PM|
|Tri-State Eve||7:00 PM|
|Wheeling Downs Mat||12:30 PM|
|Woodbine (TB)||6:45 PM|