Breeders’ Cup Origins

With the Saratoga and Delmar summer meets behind us, racing fans from around the world will turn their attention to the Breeders’ Cup.

Each racing season ends with just one finish line: the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

It’s the two-day, 14-race, year-end culmination that every horse, jockey, trainer and owner across the globe has in their sights.

Where the world’s greatest come together to crown Champions, and spectators celebrate as history unfolds before their eyes.

But, some readers may wonder how did this special weekend of racing come to be? The abridged answer to that query:

In 1982 a group of prominent thoroughbred horse breeders from Central Kentucky had a plan. 

Hashed out on cocktail napkins, with a nice bourbon providing the bravado, their idea was to create a year-end, culminating championship for their sport, akin to the World Series

An event where horses from around the globe could meet to settle the age old question, who is the best?  An event that would celebrate the best of thoroughbred horse racing. 

Put it on a national platform, broadcast it around the globe and help build the market for racing and breeding.  Their vision became The Breeders Cup.

That concept became a reality in 1984 when, the now defunct, Hollywood Park Race Track hosted the inaugural Breeders Cup Championships.  The location of the event changes annually. 

With the exception of 1996 when it was held at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada, all the BCC have been in the United States

From 1984 through 2006 it was a single day event.  In 2007 as the prize money grew, more races were added, and it became a two day affair- Friday and Saturday.

Over the course of 37 years the Breeders Cup has charged to the front of the worldwide racing stage. 

With 345 horses having been crowned Champions, the event has transcended the sport itself.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup is November 4th and 5th at Keeneland in Kentucky. The 14 BC races offer purses totaling 31 million dollars.

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