Breeders' Cup Classic
|Grade I race|
The first turn in the 2007 Classic
|Distance||1 1⁄4 miles|
|Record||1:59.02, Ghostzapper (2004)|
|Qualification||3-year-olds and up|
|Weight||4-year-olds and up: 126 lb (57.2 kg); Northern Hemisphere 3-year-olds: 122 lb (55 kg); Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds: 117 lb (53 kg); fillies and mares allowed 3 pounds.|
The Breeders' Cup Classic is a Grade I Weight for Age thoroughbred horse race for 3-year-olds and older run at a distance of 1 1⁄4 miles (2,000 m) on dirt. It is held annually at a different racetrack as part of the Breeders' Cup World Championships. All of the races to date have been held in the United States except for the 1996 edition held at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada.
The Classic is considered by many to be the premier thoroughbred horse race of the year in the U.S., and for 2008 only the Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup, Melbourne Cup and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe surpassed its $5 million purse. Often, the winner goes on to win U.S. Horse of the Year honors, as have the four winners of the race between 2004 and 2007—respectively Ghostzapper, Saint Liam, Invasor, and Curlin. Due to the extremely high quality of horses in the event, the race is notoriously hard to predict. One notable example of an underdog winning the Classic is the victory of Arcangues in 1993. This was the biggest upset in Breeders' Cup history and his $269.20 payoff for a $2 wager remains a Breeders' Cup record.
Beginning in 2015, the Breeder's Cup became part of what is being called horse racing's Grand Slam —- the traditional Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) plus the Breeder's Cup Classic. In 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse to ever accomplish this feat.
Beginning in 2007, the Breeders' Cup developed The Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of races in each division that allotted automatic qualifying bids to winners of defined races. Each of the fourteen divisions has between three and ten of these "Win and You're In" qualifiers.
In the Breeders' Cup Classic Division the number of runners are limited to 14 and there are seven automatic berths. The "Win and You're In" races for the Breeders' Cup Classic are:
- The Stephen Foster Handicap, a Grade 1 race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky;
- The Whitney Handicap, a Grade 1 race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga, New York;
- The Pacific Classic, a Grade 1 race at Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California;
- The Awesome Again Stakes, a Grade 1 race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and
- The Jockey Club Gold Cup, a Grade 1 race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
- The The Gold Cup at Santa Anita formerly called Hollywood Gold Cup, a Grade 1 race now currently held at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California.
- The Haskell Invitational Stakes, a Grade 1 race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey;
- 1:59.02 - Ghostzapper (2004)
- 2 - Tiznow (2000, 2001)
Largest winning margins:
Most wins by a jockey:
Most wins by a trainer:
- 2 - Charlie Whittingham (1987, 1989)
- 2 - Jay M. Robbins (2000, 2001)
- 2 - William I. Mott (1995, 2011)
- 2 - Bob Baffert (2014, 2015)
Most wins by an owner:
- 2 - Stronach Stables (1998, 2004)
Winners of the Breeders' Cup Classic
† Indicates filly/mare
+ Race record
Gold background indicates winners of the horse racing "Grand Slam"
- Breeders' Cup Classic "top three finishers" and starters
- American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events