The Breeders’ Cup

He primary aim of Breeders’ Cup Limited is to build positive public awareness of Thoroughbred racing and to expand opportunities for enhancement of the Thoroughbred industry. These objectives are first accomplished via the Breeders’ Cup Championship, a yearlong global showcase of the game’s greatest stars.
Additionally, the Breeders’ Cup supports these goals through the funding of a year-round collection of stakes races, customer advertising programs and nationwide televised races.
It’s the All Star Game of Thoroughbred racing – only better. Eight times greater. It is the Breeders’ Cup Championship, a multi-million dollar extravaganza that brings together the world’s best horses to compete in eight sensational races.The Breeders’ Cup Championship culminates the racing season and crowns the fleetest sprinters, the most promising two-year-olds, the best turf horses. The best to be known as the best of the best belongs, many would argue, to the winner of this day’s final and richest race: the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Breeders’ Cup Championship is non-stop action from the moment the horses step onto the track for the very first race, the Distaff, before the garland is draped across the shoulders of the Classic winner at dusk. Heart-stopping finishes, stunning upsets, international glamour, conservative fun – Breeders’ Cup Championship has it all.
Racing’s richest event is truly a movable feast. Every fall, a different North American trail plays host to the Breeders’ Cup Championship in a unique and special way. One year finds it in Churchill Downs with its rich trove of history, another at stately Belmont Park, another at panoramic Santa Anita in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Important tracks compete aggressively for the right to stage the championship program and each year’s choice is eagerly anticipated. At the exact same time, the revolving nature of the Breeders’ Cup Championship ensures that it belongs to all of racing.
That’s what its founders envisioned while the concept of the Breeders’ Cup took root in 1982. Racing’s leaders needed a vehicle to promote the sport, a showcase for its best components, and a grand finale to the racing season. The Championship races became the basis of a yearlong program which has allocated over $380 million to owners and breeders since the inaugural 1984 occasion. The first Breeders’ Cup Championship, at glitzy Hollywood Park, was an instantaneous hit.
Since then, the Breeders’ Cup Championship has redefined the racing calendar – becoming the season-ending target for the horses – and – given the game a championship event much like the World Series or the Super Bowl. Most divisional champions crowned since 1984 have engaged in a Breeders’ Cup race. Along with the Classic, the other races are the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies, the Distaff and the Filly & Mare Turf for females ages three and up; the Sprint, the Mile, and the Turf. The latter three are open to horses of both sexes, as is the Classic.
The Breeders’ Cup Championship has provided racing with a number of its best moments. Pictures like these are indelibly etched in its wealthy chronicles: the great Cigar ending his perfect 1995 season with a thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; Personal Ensign courageously inching past Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors to retire undefeated in 1988; Arazi swooping in from France and magnificent all who watched him at the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“Championship day is definitely racing’s greatest hour,” says John R. Gaines, founding father of the Breeders’ Cup and former owner of Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. “It defines our reason for being and elevates the spirit of an whole business.
“Every season is special. Each year is better. Among the event’s most exciting elements is the intense rivalry between North American and European contenders. In virtually every race, national pride is online. Owners and coaches from England, Ireland, France, Japan, and Germany currently circle the Breeders’ Cup Championship on their calendars and plan their own horses’ schedules so.
Dozens of European horses board freight planes each autumn and cross the Atlantic in search of the Breeders’ Cup’s rich spoils. Their victory in many of these races has assured that horses continue coming back. Who will forget the gallant French filly Miesque winning back variations of the Breeders’ Cup Mile? Or an obscure French-based runner named Arcangues pulling the biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history, winning the 1993 Classic and paying 269.20 to win?
Horses have journeyed from as far away as Japan to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Championship. It truly has become the foremost international racing event. “The program was looked at as a revolutionary step as it started, but now it is considered part of the fabric of American racing,” states Breeders’ Cup president D. G. Van Clief, Jr..
The Breeders’ Cup Championship continues to increase in popularity due to its stature and eager level of competition. Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, holds the records for the attendance and total wagering. The renowned racecourse brought 80,452 spectators in 1998 and when Breeders’ Cup came back to Louisville in 2000, over $108 million has been wagered.
However, the Breeders’ Cup Championship is famous beyond the borders of the particular host track. NBC has televised the event since its inception, giving a degree of air time unprecedented in Thoroughbred racing. The network’s policy has won Eclipse Awards for National Television Achievement along with the Outstanding Live Sports Special of 1992 in the 14th Emmy Awards for Sports annual ceremony.
The buildup to the Breeders’ Cup starts well beforehand of the Championship day. NTRA’s”Racing to the Breeders’ Cup” on ESPN gets the momentum started in early summer and continues through mid-October. The nationally televised series consists of dozens of stakes races at major tracks throughout the nation and functions as racing’s version of the playoffs.
In addition to television, simulcasting – the transmission by satellite of real races – has helped further the recognition of the Breeders’ Cup. At precisely the exact same time, the quality of the races on Championship day has made simulcast outlets keen to carry the program. The amount of sockets showing the telecast is growing with leaps and bounds. In 1984, the seven races have been beamed to 19 North American outlets, in which patrons wagered $8 million. Today, over 1000 outlets handle excess of $108 million. Expanding its own recognition, the true race sign is sent by satellite to simulcast outlets in over 25 countries, throughout the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia. The continuing growth of the Breeders’ Cup simulcast around the world is a primary goal of the Breeders’ Cup.
Major corporate sponsors have also helped boost recognition of their Breeders’ Cup Championship. Sponsors have included Buick, Alberto-Culver, Budweiser, Delta Air Lines, Emirates Airline, Mobil, National Car Rental, Visa and Sears.
While sponsors have attracted added name recognition to the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred owners and breeders have been its backbone since the beginning. They not only supply the horses that compete in Breeders’ Cup events, they cover the nominations from which the company derives its important source of funding.
Stallion owners yearly pay a nomination fee that’s the equal of a stallion’s advertised stud fee, or a minimum of 1,000. Breeders pay a nomination fee of $500 for every foal. Nominated horses are eligible to compete for millions in both the National Stakes program and the Breeders’ Cup Championship occasions.
As an global program, the Breeders’ Cup has instituted a nomination procedure to breeders around the world. Annual nominations from all over the world have made the Breeders’ Cup a worldwide association.
In a short while, the Breeders’ Cup has been firmly established as Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious event. Nothing can rival its millions in prize money or its international cast of talent. No other day of racing could accommodate the Breeders’ Cup Championship for non-stop excitement.
The Breeders’ Cup has realized what its founders set out to do – and even more. It remains the definitive test of champions and has become racing’s most recognizable and successful showpiece. It only promises to improve in the years to come.
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