|Championship Event Series race|
|Website||Official Breeders' Cup website|
|Distance||See individual races|
|Track||Turf, Dirt, All Weather|
|Qualification||See individual races|
|Weight||See individual races|
|Purse||Varies by Race; Between $500,000 – $5 Million|
The Breeders' Cup World Championships is an annual series of Thoroughbred horse races, most but not all Grade I, operated by Breeders' Cup Limited, a company formed in 1982. From its inception in 1984 through 2006, it was a single-day event; starting in 2007, it expanded to two days. All sites have been in the United States, except in 1996, when the races were at the Woodbine Racetrack in Canada.
The attendance at the Breeders's Cup ranks fourth or fifth in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races. The attendance of the Breeders' Cup typically only trails the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks (and in some years, the Belmont Stakes); for more information see American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events.
With the addition of three new races for 2008, a total of $25.5 million was awarded over the two days, up from $23 million in 2007. Each Breeders' Cup race awards to the winner a garland of flowers draped over the withers of the winning horse and four Breeders' Cup Trophy presented to the connections of the winners.
The Breeders' Cup is currently searching for a title sponsor.
The Breeders' Cup Grand National Steeplechase is not operated by Breeders' Cup Limited, but instead by the National Steeplechase Association, which has a licensing agreement to use the "Breeders' Cup" name.
Selection process 
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 14 Breeders' Cup Championships races with the exception of the Dirt Mile which will be limited to 12 starters. Breeders' Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based upon (1) performance in Breeders' Cup Challenge Races, (2) a point system, and (3) the judgment of a panel of racing experts. The field selection system will be implemented as necessary following the taking of pre-entries approximately two weeks before the Breeders' Cup (in 2012, this will take place on October 22) to officially rank the oversubscribed fields. The Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel (the "Panel") will rank all the horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races as described below. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference.
Through 2006, there were eight races on the Breeders' Cup card, all classified as Grade I races. In 2007, three races – the Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Sprint, and Juvenile Turf – were added, all of them run the Friday before the remaining eight races. Three more new races – a Turf Sprint, Juvenile Filly Turf and Marathon – were added for 2008. A Juvenile Sprint was added for 2011.
The order of the races on the card has changed many times throughout the event's history, but the Turf and Classic are traditionally the last two races (although this was not the case in 2012). The 2008 event was the first in which Day 1 of the event was dedicated to races for fillies and mares, with Day 2 featuring all other races. Since that time, the Filly & Mare Turf and Ladies' Classic have been the last two races on Day 1. For 2009, the Marathon, open to runners of both sexes, was moved from Day 2 to be the opening race on Day 1, but all other races stayed on the day they had been run in 2008. In 2011, the Marathon was moved from Day 1 to Day 2, with the Juvenile Sprint becoming the first race overall (and also the only one on Day 1 open to males). The Marathon returned to Day 1 in 2012.
The event was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing, and also attracts top horses from other parts of the world, especially Europe. The Breeders' Cup was founded in 1982 by pet food heir John R. Gaines (1928–2005), a leading Thoroughbred owner and breeder who wanted to clean up the sport's image. Before the Breeders' Cup expanded to two days, it was generally considered to be the richest day in sports. As of 2008, the second day of the Breeders' Cup is the second-richest. In 2008, a total of $17 million was awarded on that day, down from $20 million in 2007 (two races were moved from Day 2 to Day 1). The richest single day in sports is now another Thoroughbred racing event, Dubai World Cup Night. It features six races with a combined purse of $21 million in 2008.
Breeders Cup Wins – Jockey:
Breeders Cup Wins – Trainer:
Breeders Cup Earnings – Owner:
- Allen E. Paulson – $8,730,000
Breeders Cup Earnings – Horse:
- Zenyatta – $4,680,000
- Tiznow – $4,560,400
- Goldikova (IRE) – $3,508,200
- Conduit (IRE) – $3,240,000
- Curlin – $2,955,000
The following horses have won the same Breeders' Cup race at least twice:
- Classic: Tiznow (2000, 2001)
- Filly & Mare Turf: Ouija Board (2004, 2006)
- Ladies' Classic: Bayakoa (1989, 1990), Royal Delta (2011, 2012)
- Mile: Miesque (1987, 1988), Lure (1992, 1993), Da Hoss (1996, 1998), Goldikova (2008, 2009, 2010)
- Sprint: Midnight Lute (2007, 2008)
- Turf: High Chaparral (2002, 2003), Conduit (2008, 2009)
The only horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races is Zenyatta, winner of the Ladies' Classic in 2008 and Classic in 2009.
The only horse to win three Breeders' Cup races is Goldikova, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile three years in a row (2008, 2009, 2010).
The oldest horse to win a Breeders' Cup race is Calidiscopio, age 9, who won the Breeders' Cup Marathon in 2012.
The 1988 Breeders' Cup marked the first time a female jockey competed as American Julie Krone rode in three races that day; the Juvenile Fillies, the Juvenile and the Classic finishing 2nd, 6th and 4th respectively. Krone also became the first woman to ride all the way into the winner's circle when she guided Halfbridled to a historic victory in the 2003 edition of the Juvenile Fillies.
On August 11, 2009 the Breeders' Cup announced that it will use the standard colored saddle towel system starting with the 2009 event. The new color-coded system (which has been used at many North American racetracks since the mid-1990s) replaces the standard purple saddle towels which had been used since 1985. The first Breeders' Cup in 1984 used yellow saddle towels.
2012 races 
The race order for 2012 was as follows:
- $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint (ungraded)
- $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. II)
- $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I)
- $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)
- $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT)
- $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I)
- $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT)
- $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I)
- $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I)
- $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT)
- $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I)
- $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT)
- $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I)
- $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)
- $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I)
The Filly & Mare Sprint, Juvenile Turf, and Dirt Mile were not eligible to be graded stakes in 2007 or 2008. Similarly, the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Marathon, and Turf Sprint were ineligible for grading in 2008 and 2009. The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the body that controls grading of North American stakes races, requires that a race be run under the same conditions for at least two years before it can be graded.
Starting in 2009, the Filly & Mare Sprint and Dirt Mile became Grade I races, while the Juvenile Turf was Grade II. Although the latter event was the first Breeders' Cup race not to receive Grade I status, it is in a racing category which then had no US Grade I events (2-year-olds on turf).
For 2010, the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Turf Sprint received Grade II status, with the Marathon becoming Grade III. All other races retained their previous grading. For 2011, the Juvenile Turf was upgraded to Grade I and the Marathon to Grade II. The Juvenile Fillies Turf and Turf Sprint were upgraded to Grade I for 2012. No BC races were upgraded or downgraded for 2013.
The 2007 Dirt Mile was run over 1 mile and 70 yards, while the 2007 Filly & Mare Sprint was run over six furlongs. These distances were required because of the configuration of the dirt track at the 2007 Breeders' Cup site of Monmouth Park.
The 2008 and 2009 Turf Sprints were contested on Santa Anita Park's signature El Camino Real "downhill" turf course, with a maximum of 14 starters. In future years, the distance will depend on track configurations.
Beginning in 2007, the qualifying process was changed to grant winners of certain races automatic entry to the event in their respective divisions.
In 2011, the Juvenile Sprint was added.
NBC had broadcast every Breeders' Cup from its inception in 1984 through 2005. In 2006 ESPN took over the television contract for eight years through 2013. However, in January 2012 the Breeders' Cup announced a new contract with NBC Sports Group, superseding the final two years of the ESPN contract. Beginning in 2012, the Breeders' Cup would be broadcasted in its entirety on the NBC Sports Network, except for the Classic which would be televised on NBC in primetime.
Race tracks 
Past and Future Breeders' Cup sites:
- 2013 – Santa Anita Park
- 2012 – Santa Anita Park
- 2011 – Churchill Downs
- 2010 – Churchill Downs
- 2009 – Santa Anita Park
- 2008 – Santa Anita Park
- 2007 – Monmouth Park
- 2006 – Churchill Downs
- 2005 – Belmont Park
- 2004 – Lone Star Park
- 2003 – Santa Anita Park
- 2002 – Arlington Park
- 2001 – Belmont Park
- 2000 – Churchill Downs
- 1999 – Gulfstream Park
- 1998 – Churchill Downs
- 1997 – Hollywood Park
- 1996 – Woodbine
- 1995 – Belmont Park
- 1994 – Churchill Downs
- 1993 – Santa Anita Park
- 1992 – Gulfstream Park
- 1991 – Churchill Downs
- 1990 – Belmont Park
- 1989 – Gulfstream Park
- 1988 – Churchill Downs
- 1987 – Hollywood Park
- 1986 – Santa Anita Park
- 1985 – Aqueduct
- 1984 – Hollywood Park
The 2008 and 2009 events at Santa Anita were the first time that the annual event was held in consecutive years at the same track. These also mark the first times that the event was held on an artificial racing surface.
Notes and references 
- Sentient is New Breeders' Cup Partner | Blood-Horse.com
- Monthly Index to Online Story's | Blood-Horse.com
- "It's Official: Churchill to Host BC in 2011". BloodHorse Staff (bloodhorse.com). June 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- "Breeders' Cup to adopt standard colored saddle towels for World Championships (includes picture of new towels)". Breeders Cup (breederscup.com). August 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "Breeders' Cup Announces Final Race Order". Breeders' Cup. September 22, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- Graded Stakes Committee releases 2008 changes – Thoroughbred Times
- LaMarra, Tom (November 25, 2008). "Six New Grade I Races for 2009". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
- LaMarra, Tom (December 3, 2008). "Arkansas Derby Among Three New Grade I Stakes". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- "2011 Graded Stakes: 13 Fewer Than '10". BloodHorse.com. December 4, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Hegarty, Matt (December 2, 2011). "Two BC races, Cotillion among four new Grade 1 stakes for 2012". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- "American Graded Stakes Committee releases 2013 U.S. graded, listed stakes list". brisnet.com (Bloodstock Information and Research Services) (BloodHorse.com). November 30, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
- Angst, Frank (September 22, 2011). "Breeders' Cup post times announced, pick five wager added". The Thorooughbred Times. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Shulman, Lenny (January 22, 2012). "NBC Takes Over Breeders' Cup Coverage". The BloodHorse. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
See also 
- American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events
- Breeders Crown
- The Grand National
- Breeders' Stakes
- List of horse races
- Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
- Past Breeders Cup winners and Stats
- Breeders' Cup History & Facts
- Breeders Cup News
- Ten Things You Should Know about the Breeders' Cup at Hello Race Fans!