The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the annual horse racing showpiece of Grade One races staged every year in November.
These championships have been in existence since 1984 as a single race day but from 2007 onwards they outgrew
themselves and became the two-day event we now know and love. As of 2018 event prize money had grown to a total of over
$30 million with the main race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worth a cool $6 million alone.
The idea is to bring the best juveniles, sprinters, milers and even those with more stamina together at the end of the
racing season to see who will essentially be crowned as the champion of champions.
Typically we get to see the young Triple Crown horses clashing with the older generation in the Classic, a race that
rates among the very best anywhere in the worldwide horse racing scene.
The 2018 meet was staged at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby and was described by most as
one of the best yet. A comprehensive run-down of the results is listed below.
How To Bet The Breeders’ Cup
Over November 1 and 2, 2019 we will witness the 36th Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park in California, a venue that has hosted this great event nine times already.
Fourteen championship races, one at Grade 2 level and all the others at Grade 1, will take place over the first Friday and Saturday of November from 5½ furlongs up to a mile-and-a-half. We will hopefully get to see the best of the US against some strong contenders from overseas in the closing event; the Breeders’ Cup Classic and betting the race makes it more fun!
Betting the various Breeders’ Cup races is simple and is one of the best ways to make yourself feel like you are
taking part in the action, no matter how far from Santa Anita you may be. The three main bet types are the ‘win’,
‘place’ and ‘show’ bets and here’s an explanation of what they mean:
WIN – This one speaks for itself; your chosen horse must win for you to get paid.
PLACE – To win this bet, your horse needs to finish in the first 2 past the wire.
SHOW – This time, your horse must be in the top 3 to win the bet.
The payouts you can expect to receive depend not only on how much money is in the pari-mutuel purse, but also on
the degree of difficulty. With this in mind, the highest payouts are on win bets, the second highest are on place
bets and given that it is usually the easiest to get right, the lowest payouts are on show bets.
If you are feeling like a true wagering pro when betting the Breeders’ Cup you can try something a little
different. Say for example you like two or more horses in a certain race but can’t choose between them, an EXACTA
bet may be the wager for you.
An exacta basically requires you to predict which horses will finish 1st and 2nd and, if you get that right, can
lead to a really big payout. If you’re not so sure that you can predict this accurately you can also ‘box’ your bet
to give yourself a better chance.
Boxing means you will pay double the amount to place the bet, but it means that your chosen two horses can finish
1st or 2nd in any order and still give a reasonable payout.
If you think of yourself as a real pro try a TRIFECTA bet. This time you need to pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses
in the right order. Once again you can ‘box’ this bet and get paid out so long as your chosen horses finish in the
first three, whatever the order. A SUPERFECTA will also be available concerning the first four to hit the wire but
is incredibly tough to get right.
Placing Your Bets
Of course nothing much beats being at the track and walking up to the teller to collect your money when you’ve backed the winning horse, but for most of us it’s not realistic to make it to Santa Anita for the championships so betting here online is the way to go.
TVG will take you right to the heart of the Breeders’ Cup action allowing you to choose winners from the comfort of
your own home. New customers can click here to create an account and benefit from our generous sign-up offer: deposit $100 and get a $100 deposit bonus. Sign up now!
The Racing World Coming Together
Although the original premise of the Breeders’ Cup was to bring together North America’s best horses at the end of
the season, the Championships have become much more of an international affair over the years with some of the best
of England, Ireland and France making their way over the pond to compete.
This meet is timed nicely after most of the championship races in Europe have concluded, so for those horses still
showing enough enthusiasm after a long season it’s an ideal chance to race in different conditions and perhaps
supplement their income and their reputation before going off to the breeding sheds.
Given that they are raced on turf and involve the need for stamina, horses bred and especially trained in Europe
have done particularly well in the Mile, the Turf and the Fillies & Mares Turf over the years.
The Breeders’ Cup Schedule
As we mentioned above, the Breeders’ Cup became a two-day event back in 2007 after the championships became so
popular the organizers simply couldn’t fit this much great action into one day.
The first day of the 2018 meet was known as Future Stars Friday and, along with some support races, features five top class
juvenile races over various distances. Saturday is the big one though with over $21 million in purse money on offer
across nine championship races, culminating in the Breeders’ Cup Classic itself. Here’s how the schedule looked at Churchill Downs:
Friday, November 2
Saturday, November 3
2018 Breeders’ Cup Results
The 35th Breeders’ Cup was one of the best yet with a new Classic champ crowned in the shape of the brilliant Accelerate.
Although it was a shame we missed out on seeing Triple Crown hero Justify the meet lost very little for his unfortunate non-appearance as $30 million was shared out among 14 new Breeders’ Cup champions. Here are the full results:
Future Stars Friday
Over 42,000 people were in attendance to see the next generation of superstars as for once all the juvenile races were run on the same afternoon – the youngsters did not disappoint!
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Listed Race) (2yo) (Turf) – 5½ furlongs
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1) (2yo fillies) (Turf) – 1 mile
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) (2yo fillies) (Dirt) – 1 1/16 miles
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) (2yo) (Turf) – 1 mile
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) (2yo) (Dirt) – 1 1/16 miles
70,423 people packed into Churchill Downs on Breeders’ Cup Saturday and they were treated to some amazing performances by the likes of Expert Eye, Enable and Accelerate. The two-day total was the third highest attendance in Breeders’ Cup history.
Saturday’s betting meant a total handle of $157,445,841, a staggering amount of money which is the fifth-highest since the Breeders’ Cup became a two-day event back in 2007.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Dirt) – 7 furlongs
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) – 5½ furlongs
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Dirt) – 1 mile
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Turf) – 1 3/8 miles
Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Dirt) – 6 furlongs
Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) – 1 mile
Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Dirt) – 1 1/8 miles
Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Turf) – 1½ miles
Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) (3yo+) (Dirt) – 1¼ miles
How Horses Qualify For The Breeders’ Cup
In terms of what is required from each of the horses to be successful, it differs wildly in these championships with
both dirt and turf courses used over various distances from 5½ furlongs to a mile-and-a-half.
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each race, sometimes only twelve depending on any track limitations, so the
qualification process has to be pretty stringent. Horses can be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup by their owners and
trainers and will then be eligible for Breeders’ Cup Championships races, paying entry fees to take part.
The Breeders’ Cup organizers employ a points-based system for qualification with win, place and show horses earning
10, 6 and 4 points respectively in Grade One stakes races. 6, 4 and 2 points are awarded for Grade Two races and 4,
2 and 1 for Grade Three’s throughout the year.
Horses earning points in stakes races during the season means it is easier to select the final field in November
should a race be oversubscribed.
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races take place from January right up to go time in November across the world and are the primary deciding factor in final Breeders’ Cup field, ahead of the stakes points system. The third adjudicating system, should it be needed, is a panel of racing experts who can decide which horses should take part when a race is oversubscribed.
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Breeders’ Cup Venues
Between 1984 and 2018 twelve individual race tracks have been used to host the Breeders’ Cup so, despite the fact the championships are free to move around the country, relatively few locations have been entrusted with the task of hosting this event given that a big enough capacity and a quality turf course are prerequisites.
The 2019 event takes place at Santa Anita, the tenth time that the meet has been staged in the shadow of the San Gabriel mountains putting level with Churchill Downs. Other tracks to have hosted multiple times are Belmont Park (4) and Hollywood Park and Gulfstream with three each.
Tracks visited just a single time by the Championships are Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star Park, Monmouth and Woodbine in Canada.
Breeders’ Cup History
The championships having been in existence since 1984, then as a single racing day and now as the two-day event
have now become accustomed to, they have evolved and earned their place right at the very top table of
international horse racing.
Although the sport is packed full of tradition, new initiatives are usually well received within racing if the
proposition is sound and these championships have been a great example of that, including how they’ve grown
the years and how they are perceived by overseas owners and trainers.
Originally created as the year-end thoroughbred championships of North American racing, the Breeders’ Cup
became known as much for international participation, especially visiting horses from England, Ireland and
as it did for domestic champions.
Although the first championships took place in 1984, the idea came about in 1982 when leading owner John R.
proposed the Breeders’ Cup during the Kentucky Derby Festival awards luncheon and we’re glad he did!
Some within the sport didn’t see the benefit of such a championship and at first did not want to support it,
however luckily many more in the game did see the future potential of such an event and so on November 10, 1984
Hollywood Park hosted the first ever Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The event grew rapidly in popularity after the inaugural meet and at first organizers took the championships on
somewhat of a road show, Hollywood Park being followed by Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream
and Belmont all within its first seven years before certain tracks began to be favored more than others (see
Breeders’ Cup Today
The rise in prize money over the first 20 years and the bigger influx of European horses on the big day meant
the expansion needed since 2007 to a 2-day event was crucial in ensuring the Championships don’t become stale.
As of 2019 we will see fully 13 Grade One races across Friday 2 and Saturday 3 of November with around $30 million
in prize money on offer. Returning champions such as Roy H, Enable and Accelerate are anticipated while we await
the winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the summer.
Choosing Your Breeders’ Cup Bet
You don’t have to be a professional handicapper to place a bet in any Breeders’ Cup race. Reading the form, work out
times or what sort of race conditions the horses prefer is a good start but remember to check in here for more info
on each horse as we near post time in November.
At the 2018 meet a combination of winning favorites such as Newspaperofrecord and Enable along with some outsiders like Stormy Liberal and Shamrock Rose kept things interesting for the bettors, showing there’s a chance for everyone to bet a Breeders’ Cup winner.
Check back on our Breeders’ Cup Contenders page
during 2019 for a more in-depth look at who could be in the winner’s circle at Santa Anita.
Breeders’ Cup Live Streaming
NBC Sports will have live TV coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and as usual there should be a huge audience at home as well as at the track. Coverage of the 36th championships will include all 14 races across November 1 & 2.
No longer though must we rely on getting to a television set in order to not miss one of the biggest race meets of
the year anywhere in the world. Advances in technology means live streaming is available now on all major sporting
events, including the Breeders’ Cup.
As well as live TV coverage there will be a chance to watch the Breeders’ Cup via live streaming online. The event
can be streamed through NBC Sports Live Extra or by using the NCB Sports Live Extra App for mobile devices such as
smartphones and tablets.
NBC’s online coverage mirrors their live televised coverage for the most part, taking in all the atmosphere and
tradition of the two days as well as the racing itself. You may simply be asked for your TV provider and a password
to access the online coverage.
Unforgettable Races Beamed Live
There have been some classic races at the Breeders’ Cup since 1984 beamed live to millions via TV and now online
streaming. Some of the highlights have been:
Enable (2018 Turf)
Quickly becoming known as the Queen of the Turf, Enable succeeded where many others had failed in winning Europe’s premier race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, before coming to Louisville and landing the $4 million race under the ever-ebullient Frankie Dettori.
Arrogate (2016 Classic)
Despite having won the Travers Stakes by an incredible 13 lengths in one of the best performances of the year,
Arrogate did not come into this race as favorite as he had Dubai World Cup winner and former Kentucky Derby hero
California Chrome to beat, but beat him he did.
American Pharoah (2015 Classic)
Classics are usually hard to win, however the Triple Crown winning favorite had no trouble in dispatching this
field by over 6 lengths in one of the best ever Classic wins. American Pharoah had won the Triple Crown that year
before astonishingly improving even more in this race, a huge performance.
Goldikova (2010 Mile)
Having already won this race in 2008 and 2009, the ever-popular mare came back to attempt an unprecedented third
victory in 2010 and managed it in great style. She did even go for a fourth win, however that was not to be.
Tiznow (2001 Classic)
After the heroics of 2000, Tiznow defeated Europe’s top rated horse and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee to
become the first ever two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner.
Tiznow (2000 Classic)
European tough nuts Giant’s Causeway and Kalanisi had each won Grade 1 races overseas and had two huge battles
between them in England before coming to Churchill Downs. Kalanisi won the Turf race just before this race went off
and Giant’s did not let down the form either, coming to apparently win this race before the “Iron Horse” himself
was just out-battled by Tiznow. A classic indeed.
Da Hoss (1998 Mile)
Having already won the Mile in 1996 and been off the track for two years before winning a small prep race, Da Hoss
looked like winning this at odds of 11/1 before being headed in the stretch. He found a second wind though and
managed to get up on the wire to score, much to the delight of the Churchill Downs crowd.
Cigar (1995 Classic)
One of the all-time greats, Cigar came into the 1995 Classic at Belmont Park on a run of 11 straight wins and did
not disappoint fans when swooping home to win this. He famously went on to win 18 in a row.
Ferdinand (1987 Classic)
It’s always hoped that Kentucky Derby winners can compete in the Classic and in this case we had double the fun.
’87 Kentucky Derby hero Alysheba came thundering home to attempt to win this, however he found the previous year’s
Derby champion Ferdinand too tough and the older horse came out on top. Alysheba would come back the following year
to emulate the feat and take the Classic for himself.
Keep It TVG For Your Breeders’ Cup in 2019
Remember that you can bet right here on TVG so be sure to keep checking in for the latest on the 2019 Championships at Santa Anita, we’re already counting down! Check out our main Breeders’ Cup page for more info. Sign up today to receive your bonus!