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|
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 in late October or early November. 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, including 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.
The Classic is regarded as the fourth leg of horse racing's Grand Slam — the traditional Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) plus the Breeder's Cup Classic. After American Pharoah's Triple Crown win earlier in 2015, the term became popular; the colt became the first horse to ever accomplish this feat. Sunday Silence in 1989 was the first to claim a "Small Slam" by winning three of the four legs (but not the Triple Crown).
In 2007, the Breeders' Cup developed the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of races in each division that allots automatic qualifying bids to winners of defined races. Each of the thirteen divisions has between two and twelve of these "Win and You're In" qualifiers.
In the Breeders' Cup Classic division, the number of runners is limited to 14, with up to eight automatic berths. Note though that one horse may win multiple challenge races, while other challenge winners will not be entered in the Breeders' Cup for a variety of reasons such as injury or travel considerations.
- The February Stakes, a Grade 1 race run in February at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan
- The Stephen Foster Handicap, a Grade 1 race run in June at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
- The Gold Cup at Santa Anita (formerly the Hollywood Gold Cup), a Grade 1 race run in June in California
- The Haskell Invitational, a Grade 1 race run in July at Monmouth Park in New Jersey
- The Whitney Handicap, a Grade 1 race run in August at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York
- The Pacific Classic, a Grade 1 race run in August at Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California;
- The Awesome Again Stakes, a Grade 1 race run in October at Santa Anita Park in California
- The Jockey Club Gold Cup, a Grade 1 race run in October at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York
- 2 - Tiznow (2000, 2001)
- not applicable. Because the Breeders' Cup Classic is run at different racetracks each year, some of which are faster than others, there is no official stakes record. Note though that American Pharoah's time of 2:00.07 set a track record at Keeneland, Ghostzapper's time of 1:59.02 set a track record at Lone Star Park and Alphabet Soup's time of 2:01.0 set a track record on Woodbine's old dirt track.
Largest winning margins:
- 6 3/4 lengths - American Pharoah (2015)
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
- Breeders' Cup Classic "top three finishers" and starters
- American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events
- Grand Slam - ESPN.com
- American Pharoah - Breeder's Cup.com
- "Breeders' Cup Challenge". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
- "Japan Races Added to BC Challenge Series". bloodhorse.com. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- "Keeneland Track and Course Records" (PDF). Keeneland. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie". www.lonestarpark.com. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Woodbine Track Records - Thoroughbred". www.woodbineentertainment.com. Retrieved 25 July 2016.