Breeders’ Cup Basics

The Breeders’ Cup is the biggest event in global horse racing.

If the Triple Crown is the horse racing equivalent of MLB League Championships, then the Breeders’ Cup is the World Series.

The Daily Racing Blog will be writing a lot about the event in the next six weeks, so if there are some readers out there who aren’t familiar with the two-day celebration of horse racing, here is a Breeders’ Cup primer which should give you a basic understanding of why it’s so special.

WHO: The Best Thoroughbred Racehorses In The World. The Breeders’ Cup is two days of elite horse racing that attracts the biggest names in the sport from all over the globe.

In past years, horses from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela competed in the event. That’s representation from six continents!

Other than the U.S. the country with the most BC Wins is Ireland.

WHAT: Horse Racing’s World Championships.  The Breeders’ Cup is the end game for horse owners and trainers: a Win in one of these races can ensure a year-end award, a horse’s increased Value when it’s time to breed, and some serious bragging rights.

There are multiple races for horses depending on age, sex, the distance they like to run as well as whether a horse prefers to run on grass or dirt.

The World Championships take place over two days, and there are 14 races in total.

The first day of racing is referred to as Future Stars Friday, which focuses on 2-year-old Thoroughbreds and showcases five Juvenile races, with 7 million dollars in prize money.

Saturday’s races are designated for Thoroughbreds 3 years old and older. The day features nine races with purse money of 21 million dollars.

WHERE: Keeneland Race Course. The Breeders’ Cup takes its show on the road every year, and in 2022 the event will be held at the beautiful Keeneland Course in the heart of Thoroughbred country, Lexington, Kentucky.

This is the third time the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Keeneland with the first instance taking place in 2015 and the second time just two years ago, when fans were prohibited from attending due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In past years, the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Keeneland Race CourseChurchill Downs, Hollywood ParkAqueduct, Santa Anita ParkGulfstream Park, Belmont ParkWoodbineArlington Park, Lone Star Park, and Monmouth Park.

Hollywood Park introduced the world to the first Breeders’ Cup in 1984

The track to host the most Breeders’ Cup in history is Santa Anita Park, which has held the event 10 times since its inception in 1984.

WHEN: November 4th & 5th. The World Championships typically take place over the first weekend of November, which gives Thoroughbreds plenty of time to qualify to run over the course of the spring, summer, and fall.

WHY: To See Who’s The Best Of The Best. In 1982, a group of prominent Thoroughbred breeders from Kentucky led by John Gaines coordinated to create an event that would draw the very best horses in the world, to find out once and for all who is the best Thoroughbred on the planet.

Since then, horse racing’s World Championships have evolved from a one day, seven race affair into a two-day racing festival with 14 races.

The spirit of the Breeders’ Cup remains strong as the Thoroughbred elite compete annually on an international stage.

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