Breeders' Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is a two-day festival of Thoroughbred horse races held in rotating locations throughout North America. Inaugurated in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup features 14 different races, 13 of which have Grade 1 status. The Classic, the Turf, and the Mile ae ranked among the top Grade 1 races in the world. And the Distaff is the second-highest ranked Grade 1 race for fillies and mares.
While it is held in a different location each year, the Breeders’ Cup consistently draws significant crowds; in a typical year, it is the fourth-highest attended American horse race, regularly out-drawing Triple Crown fixture Belmont Stakes.

Most Successful Horse

Eighteen horses have won the same Breeders’ Cup race twice, while four horses have won two different Breeders’ Cup races. But the most successful horse overall is the living legend Goldikova, who took the Mile three years running from 2008 to 2010. Foaled in Ireland in 2005, Goldikova was trained and based in France, though she competed in races all over the world.
Trained by prolific former jockey Freddy Head, she was ridden by Olivier Peslier in every one of her starts. Goldikova burst onto the scene from the beginning of her career and remained a force to be reckoned with until her retirement at the end of her age-six season. She won both of her starts in 2007, then took multiple Grade 1 wins each of the next four years. By the time she retired, Goldikova had won 14 Grade 1 races (including nine over colts and geldings), making her one of the greatest racehorses of the modern era. Since the current grading system was introduced in 1971, those 14 Grade 1 wins ties her for 7th most of all time.
While most of her success came in France, Goldikova made a home away from home at the Breeders’ Cup. After winning the Mile in 2008 and 2009, she won an unprecedented third straight in 2010, surging past Champion Turf Horse Gio Ponti at the final post. Striving for her fourth consecutive victory in 2011, then six-year-old Goldikova finished a close third, just a length behind Court Vision and Turallure. This would mark the final race of her esteemed career.

Leading Jockey

Many of the top jockeys of the modern era have competed at the Breeders’ Cup over the years, but the leading rider is Mike E. Smith with a staggering 26 wins, ten more than second-place John Velazquez. Born in New Mexico, Smith is an equestrian lifer; he began breaking horses at his grandparents’ farm at age eight and started riding in races at age 11.
Smith has had success all over the world, becoming one of the first American jockeys to win a European Classic in 1991, and setting a North American record for Stakes wins in a year in 1993. But he truly made his name at the Breeders’ Cup, taking 26 wins over 25 years. He earned his first at the Mile in 1992 and wound up taking home the title in 12 different Breeders’ Cup races. His final Breeders’ win was in 2017 when he claimed the Juvenile Fillies at age 51.
But his career would not end there. Smith became a household name the following year when he rode Justify to the American Triple Crown in 2018, becoming the oldest jockey ever to earn that honor. But the Breeders’ Cup forever remains his most prolific event.

Leading Trainer

The leading trainer at the Breeders’ Cup is U.S. Racing Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Despite a lifelong interest in horses. Lukas put his equestrian dreams on hold and initially pursued a career as a high school teacher. In his mid-30s, though, Lukas leaped training quarter horses, and ten years later, he made the switch to Thoroughbreds.
Lukas has gone on to become one of the most esteemed trainers of all time and holds America’s two most prominent records. He has the most American Triple Crown victories with 14, and the most Breeders’ Cup wins with an incredible 20, spread over seven events and 30 years. Despite his advanced age, Lukas is still a significant figure in Thoroughbred racing.
Accepting the 2013 Eclipse Award of Merit, Lukas said, “when they start giving you awards, they are trying to get you to retire. Well, you young trainers get ready because I am not retiring.” Indeed, Lukas claimed his 20th Breeders’ Cup victory the very next year.

Other horse racing betting events

Our team has reviewed all the latest betting events for May 2020. Check out our other posts: