Friday, October 3, 2008

BREEDER'S CUP - From all-about-horse-racing.blogspot.com

From all-about-horse-racing.blogspot.com

The location of the Breeders' Cup changes each year. Churchill Downs has hosted the event six times, which is more than any other track, and is one of the main contenders to host the 2010 event.

Oak Tree Racing Association is hosting the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park for the fourth time. It previously hosted the event in 1986, 1993 and 2003 and will host it again in 2009.

As Santa Anita Park has replaced its main dirt track with a synthetic track, the Breeders' Cup will be held on a synthetic surface this year for the first time in its 25-year history. The turf races will continue to be run on natural grass.

Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada hosted the Breeders' Cup in 1996, which is the only time the Breeders' Cup has been held outside of the United States.

Last year, when the Breeders' Cup World Championships was run over two days for the first time with three additional races added on Friday, there were a record 117 starters in all of the races combined.

The first Breeders' Cup was held at Hollywood Park in 1984. The first race of that event was the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which was won by betting favorite Chief's Crown.

The Breeders' Cup was originally a seven-race event. In 1999 the Filly & Mare Turf was added and last year saw the establishment of three new races. The addition of three more races this year increases the event to 14 races and raises the total purse to $25.5 million.

A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the Breeders' Cup Championships races, with the exception of the Juvenile Turf and the Juvenile Fillies Turf which are limited to 12 starters each.

According to a new policy, trainers whose horses test positive for anabolic steroids at this year's Breeders' Cup will face a one-year suspension from the event, and trainers who violate steroid regulations three times will face a lifetime ban.

The attendance at last year's Breeders' Cup was reasonable, considering the weather. A crowd of 27,803 braved steady rain for the three new races on the Friday card, and a crowd of 41,781 watched the eight remaining races under clearing skies on Saturday. The event typically draws around 57,000 fans.

Last year, 14 of the 25 Breeders' Cup Challenge winners ended up competing in the Breeders' Cup. Four won - War Pass (Juvenile), Ginger Punch (Distaff), English Channel (Turf) and Curlin (Classic). Two placed - Idiot Proof (Sprint) and Shamdinan (Turf).

Following last year's successful launch, the Breeders' Cup Challenge was expanded this year from 25 races at 7 tracks to 57 races at 17 tracks. The expansion included qualifying races for all 14 divisions.

The 2008 Breeders' Cup Challenge series has been run at 15 North American tracks, including Woodbine in Canada. The series has expanded internationally as well, with races held at both Sha Tin in Hong Kong and Ascot in England.

In 1993, 133-1 longshot Arcangues stunned the world with a two-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic. His $269.20 payoff for a $2 wager still stands as the highest payoff in Breeders' Cup history.

The average win payoff for the Breeders' Cup Classic is $30.60. Last year, the average win payoff for all Breeders' Cup races combined was $13.50.

In 1999, the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 payoff on a $2 bet was $3,058,138.60. A group of lucky fans picked the winning combination on a $196 ticket.

Betting favorites have won 64 of 180 Breeders' Cup races (35.5 percent). When heavy favorite Cigar won the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1995, his win payoff was $3.40, which is the lowest ever for that race.

Of the 35 horses to go off at odds of 100-1 or greater in Breeders' Cup races, only Arcangues, the winner of the 1993 Breeders' Cup Classic at 133-1 odds, finished in the money.

The worst finish by a betting favorite was in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile when Cuvee, winner of the Kentucky Breeders' Cup and Saratoga Special Stakes, finished 12th (and last) by 58 lengths at 3-2 odds.

The largest winning margin in any Breeders' Cup race was in 1995, when Inside Information beat Heavenly Prize in the Breeders' Cup Distaff by 13 1/2 lengths.

While there have been several close calls in Breeders' Cup races (eleven wins by a nose margin), there has only been one dead-heat win. In 2003, Johar made a late run in the Breeders' Cup Turf and finished on even terms with High Chaparral.

Since 1984, the post position with the most wins is 2 (23 wins). Post positions 1 and 4 are tied for second (20 wins each). Only two horses have ever won a Breeders' Cup race from post position 13.

The most common color of the winning horse in both the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic - formerly known as the Distaff - is bay (12 and 13 winners, respectively). Last year, Ginger Punch was the second chestnut filly to have ever won the Distaff.

Off-track conditions have been listed in only three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Classic (1988, 1995 and 2007). Although some horses aren't affected by mud, it's not surprising that the slowest winning time of 2:04 4/5 was recorded when the track was muddy (Alysheba in 1988).

In 1994, there were 26 foreign-based starters in Breeders' Cup races, which is the greatest number ever. Of these, Barathea won the Mile and Tikkanen won the Turf.

Two 7-year-olds have won Breeders' Cup races - Cardmania (1993 Sprint) and Miesque's Approval (2006 Mile). Older horses have started but haven't won - like Better Talk Now, who finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf last year at age 8.

Tiznow, the only two-time Breeders' Cup Classic champion (2000 and 2001), has more Breeders' Cup earnings than any other starter. He is the sire of major stakes winners Tiz Wonderful, Slew's Tizzy, and the 2008 Belmont Stakes champion Da' Tara.

In 1995, Cigar broke the two-minute mark in the Breeders' Cup Classic for the first time in the 12-year history of the 1 1/4-mile race. His winning time of 1:59.58 wasn't broken until 2004 when Ghostzapper finished in 1:59.02.

With so many races to choose from, it's not surprising that several horses have entered more than one race. The most versatile of all starters was Pleasant Tap, who placed sixth in the Juvenile (1989), eighth in the Turf (1990), second in the Sprint (1991) and second in the Classic (1992).

Kona Gold just wouldn't give up - he raced in the Breeders' Cup Sprint five years in a row, placing first (2000), second (1999), third (1998), fourth (2002) and seventh (2001).

Perfect Drift and Sprint kingpin Kona Gold are the only five-time starters in Breeders' Cup history. Perfect Drift ran in the Classic every year from 2002 until 2006. His best finish was in 2005, when he came third.

In 1987, Miesque achieved international stardom when she defeated a talented field of mostly male horses in the prestigious Breeders' Cup Mile. She won the race again in 1988, making her the first ever back-to-back winner in Breeders' Cup history.

Ouija Board has been the only mare to win two editions of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2004 and 2006). She won the 2006 Eclipse Award winner for outstanding female turf horse.

The list of multiple Breeders' Cup winners is small - Miesque (Mile, 1987 and 1988), Lure (Mile, 1992 and 1993), Bayakoa (Distaff, 1989 and 1990), Da Hoss (Mile, 1996, 1998), Tiznow (Classic, 2000 and 2001), High Chaparral (Turf, 2002 and 2003) and Ouija Board (Filly & Mare Turf, 2004 and 2006).

When Dance Smartly won the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1991, she became the first Canadian-bred Thoroughbred to win a Breeders' Cup race. She retired from racing a year later as the richest filly or mare in Thoroughbred history, with winnings of $3,263,836.

In 1993, 2-year-old filly Mariah's Storm was injured while trying to qualify for the Breeder's Cup. She eventually returned to racing and competed in the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1995. In 2005, a movie about her life called Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story was released, except the horse was called Sonador.

When 18-year-old jockey Fernando Jara guided Invasor to victory in the Classic in 2006, he became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race. He broke the record that had been set by Eddie Castro just a few hours earlier, when the 21-year-old won the Mile aboard Miesque's Approval.

In 1986, 54-year-old Bill Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby when he rode 18-1 outsider Ferdinand to victory. The following year he rode the same horse to victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic and became the oldest jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race.

Retired jockey Jerry Bailey rode in 102 Breeders' Cup races and won 15 of them, leading all jockeys in Breeders' Cup victories. His highlights include winning the Classic five times (Black Tie Affair, 1991, Arcangues, 1993; Concern, 1994; Cigar, 1995; and Saint Liam, 2005).

Jockey Garrett Gomez rode two winners in last year's Breeders' Cup - Indian Blessing (Juvenile Fillies) and Midnight Lute (Sprint). By the end of the year he had won a record 76 stakes races and had earned over $22.8 million. Not surprisingly, he won the 2007 Eclipse award for outstanding jockey.

Last year saw two dual winners - Cornelio Velasquez won the Mile on Kip Deville and the Juvenile on War Pass, and Garrett Gomez won the Juvenile Fillies on Indian Blessing and the Sprint on Midnight Lute.

There's a long list of jockeys who have won two races at a single Breeders' Cup - 18 riders have done it 29 times in total, with Mike Smith doing it four times (1994, 1995, 1997 and 2002) and Jerry Bailey three times (1995, 1999 and 2000).

Although the list of jockeys who have won two races at a single Breeders' Cup is impressive, no jockey has ever won three in a single year. Last year dual winners Cornelio Velasquez and Garrett Gomez had a chance - Velasquez had six mounts and Gomez had eight.

Julie Krone is the only female rider to win a Breeders' Cup race. In 17 Breeders' Cup mounts, she had two second-place finishes and a win on Halfbridled in the 2003 Juvenile Fillies.

A total of 41 jockeys rode the 117 starters in last year's Breeders' Cup. Less than half of them had only one mount, and nine of them had five or more mounts. Kent Desormeaux rode in every race except the Distaff and the Classic.

During the 2003 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Richard Mandella experienced the richest day of any trainer in history when he sent out four winners and amassed total earnings of $4,564,040. His winners were Pleasantly Perfect (Classic), Johar (dead heat in the Turf), Halfbridled (Juvenile Fillies) and Action This Day (Juvenile).

Lit de Justice's last-to-first run in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Sprint made history. His trainer, Jenine Sahadi, became the first woman to win a Breeders' Cup race.

D. Wayne Lukas had a starter at every Breeders' Cup from its inception until 2006. Last year was the first year he didn't have a starter. He leads all trainers in the amount of money won ($19,645,520), the number of starters (146), and the number of winners (18).

When Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby last year, he broke a 22-year jinx - he was the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to capture the Kentucky Derby (even though 13 others tried before him).

Last year War Pass won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by 4 3/4 lengths. Unfortunately he suffered a leg injury shortly before the 2008 Kentucky Derby and wasn't able to repeat Street Sense's Juvenile-Derby double from the previous season.

In 1994, Timber Country won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He couldn't pull off the Kentucky Derby the following year, but he did win the Preakness Stakes. He became the first Juvenile winner to capture a Triple Crown race.

No Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner has ever gone on to win the Belmont Stakes.

Winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, run annually on the first Sunday in October, have a hapless history in the Breeders' Cup Turf - all ten that have attempted it (like Dylan Thomas last year) have lost.

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