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What Is The Breeders Cup?

Santa Anita Park

What is the Breeders Cup is a question a casual observer might well ask when confronted with the huge media coverage that builds every year in November.

The Breeders' Cup is an important two-day international Thoroughbred horse racing event held annually at different venues throughout the United States.

The first Breeders' Cup, in 1984, consisted of seven races with purses totaling $10 million and has grown exponentially in the decades since.

What is the Breeders Cup total prize money?

Today, the Breeders' Cup is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world, with 18 races and a purse that has surpassed $30 million. 

What is the Breeders Cup Goal?

The goal of the Breeders' Cup is to bring together some of the finest horses and jockeys in the world to compete at the highest level of Thoroughbred horse racing. The event typically features Grade 1 stakes races, which are the most important competitions for thoroughbred horses, in addition to other important races.

As part of their commitment to horse welfare, all horses competing in the Breeders' Cup must have participated in at least one race within the previous 10 months and must have been entered in the race for eligibility by a Breeders' Cup representative. 

The race is held at various tracks in the US notably Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, Monmouth Park, Churchill Downs and Belmont Park.

Churchill Downs

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Each Breeders’ Cup features several different types of racing competitions. The highlights of the Breeders’ Cup event are the seven championship races whose purses range from $2 million to $6 million.

These races include the Breeders' Cup Classic, Breeders' Cup Distaff, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Sprint, Mile, and Turf, each of which present the top competitors with a stiff challenge and are watched by fans and experts around the globe. In addition to the championship events, the Breeders’ Cup also features four Challenge Races, eight Win and You’re In Races, and four races specifically designed for two-year olds.

Win and You’re In Races are Breeders' Cup competitions that offer an automatic qualification to the top finishers for the Breeders' Cup championship races. In these races, the first, second, and third place finishers are granted an entry into the corresponding Breeders' Cup championship race. The criteria for these races vary by region.

The Breeders' Cup Classic is the most prestigious race held during the two-day Breeders' Cup event and has the highest purse of all the races, awarding up to $6 million. It is a Grade 1, 1½-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds and up and typically features the best racers in the world.

Horses must be entered into the race by a Breeders' Cup representative and have participated in at least one race in the last 10 months in order to qualify. The Classic is the most anticipated and highly watched race of the event.

The Breeders' Cup Distaff race is a Grade 1 stakes race for female horses of any age. With a purse of $2 million, the Distaff is the second-highest paying race of the two-day event. The race is typically 1⅛ miles and with a strong, talented field of mares, fillies and mare-sired horses.

This exciting race is a highly exhilarating event annually and is a must-see for any breeders' cup fan.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile race is a Grade 1 Thoroughbred horseracing event held annually as part of the Breeders’ Cup. It is a dirt race open to two-year old horses of either gender and has a purse of $2 million.

The Juvenile is one of the premier events of the two-day Breeders' Cup and typically attracts the best young horses in the world. It is a highly prestigious event and never fails to excite and enthral both fans and competitors alike.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race is a Grade 1 Thoroughbred horse racing event held annually as part of the Breeders' Cup. It is a dirt race open to two-year old female horses and has a purse of $2 million. The Juvenile Fillies is one of the most sought-after races of the two-day event and typically attracts the best young fillies in the world. 

The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-olds and up. The one-mile race has a purse of $2 million and typically features the top sprinters in the world. 

The Breeders’ Cup Mile is a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds and older horses, and awards a $2 million purse. The one-mile turf race brings out some of the finest and fastest turf runners in the world.

Finally, the Breeders’ Cup Turf is a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds and up and has a purse of $4 million. The 1 ½ mile turf race is one of the highlights of the two-day event and is always full of drama and excitement.

Keeneland Thomas Kelley-Dreamstime

The 10 most notable Breeders' Cup winners are Zenyatta (2008), Tepin (2015), California Chrome (2016), Arrogate (2017), Lady's Secret (1986), Lure (1992), Da Hoss (1996 & 1998), Is It True (1990), Alphabet Soup (1996), and Dayjur (1990).

The remarkable aspect of Da Hoss' Breeders' Cup wins is that he is the only horse to have won the Breeders' Cup Mile twice, in 1996 and 1998.

The Breeders’ Cup also showcases the breeders and owners of the horses participating in the event. The organisation works with horse breeders to make sure their foals are eligible for the Breeders’ Cup races, and awards the owner and breeder of the winning horse with a $50,000 bonus each year.

The Breeders’ Cup also awards trophies for each race and presents a Horse of the Year trophy to the owner and breeder of the horse of the year. 

Conclusion

The Breeders’ Cup is an unforgettable event that attracts large crowds of horse racing fans every year. From the small-town horse farms to the larger racetracks, the Breeders’ Cup brings together the best horses and jockeys to showcase the art and sport of horse racing.

It is an event that is rich in history and tradition, one that will continue to bring excitement and joy to the world of horse racing for generations to come.

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