Breeders' Cup History

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The Story Behind Breeders' Cup

The inaugural Breeders' Cup took place in 1984. It’s been 33 year since the inception and which has seen 301 champions crowned. The Breeders' Cup has forged its way to be the centrepiece of the worldwide racing stage.

The concept was the brainchild of Gainesway founder John R. Gaines who was a leading owner and breeder. It was created to become an end of year championships that would attract the best horses from around North America and Europe. The Breeders’ Cup was a single day event from 1984 until 2006, when the racing was split over two days. There were several new races introduced to split over the two days. It’s been 33 year since the inception and which has seen 301 champions crowned. The Breeders’ Cup has forged its way to be the centrepiece of the worldwide racing stage.

The Breeders’ Cup is held at different racetracks every year. The now obsolete Hollywood Park staged the first running in 1984 where the 31-1 outsider Wild Again won a three way finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the legendary Pat Day. In 2016, Santa Anita Park held the event for a record ninth time. Churchill Downs is one behind having hosted the event eight times, most recently in 2011. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will be the newest edition to this prestigious list of racetracks who have held the Breeders’ Cup when it hosts the racing spectacle in November 2017.

The current list of races are below:


  • $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
  • $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
  • $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
  • $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
  • $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
  • $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint
  • $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile
  • $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff
  • $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
  • $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
  • $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
  • $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf
  • $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic

Breeders' Cup – Purse Structure

Above we can see the total amount each race at this year’s Breeders' Cup is worth. How is this money distributed among the winners? Below is a table explaining the purse pay-outs for each finisher.

Finishing Position Owner Purse Breeders’ Cup Classic Example
1st 55% $3,300,000
2nd 17% $1,020,000
3rd 9% $540,000
4th 5% $300,300
5th 3% $180,000
6th 1% $60,000
7th 1% $60,000
8th 1% $60,000
Travel Care* 8% $480,000

*Travel Care: $10,000 is given to non-Californian horses in North America and horses who compete that arrive from outside of North America are awarded $40,000.

The only way to bet on this year’s Breeders’ Cup is on TVG.com. TVG will provide you with all the odds on every market that you need for a profitable Breeders’ Cup. There are 13 top class races to bet on over the weekend. The highest quality racehorses from around the world will converge on Del Mar to battle it out to be crowned champion. Who will you have your money on?

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