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Each fall, the world's best Thoroughbreds, jockeys and trainers compete in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, a two-day racing event in which winners wear the title of the "world's best." With so much money on the line, the Breeders' Cup regularly attracts the best horses from North America, South America and Europe, and provides racing fans and bettors the rare opportunity to see so much talent lined up at one venue. A series of 14 races, the Breeders' Cup is highlighted by the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Breeders' Cup Distaff, the Breeders' Cup Turf and the Breeders' Cup Mile, four of North America's richest horse 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 right to be called the best of the best belongs, many would argue, to the winner of the 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 first race, the Distaff, until the garland is draped across the shoulders of the Classic winner at dusk. Heart-stopping finishes, stunning upsets, international glamour, old-fashioned fun - Breeders' Cup Championship has it all.
Racing's richest event is truly a movable feast. Each fall, a different North American track plays host to the Breeders' Cup Championship in a unique and special way. One year finds it at Churchill Downs with its rich trove of history, another at stately Belmont Park, the next at panoramic Santa Anita in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Major tracks compete aggressively for the right to stage the championship program and each year's selection is eagerly awaited. At the same time, the revolving nature of the Breeders' Cup Championship ensures that it belongs to all of racing.
That's just what its founders envisioned when the concept of the Breeders' Cup took root in 1982. Racing's leaders wanted a vehicle to promote the sport, a showcase for its finest elements, and a grand finale to the racing season. The Championship races became the cornerstone of a year-round program which has allocated more than $380 million to owners and breeders since the inaugural 1984 event. The first Breeders' Cup Championship, at glitzy Hollywood Park, was an instant hit.
Since then, the Breeders' Cup Championship has redefined the racing calendar - becoming the season-ending goal for the best horses - and given the sport a championship event much like the World Series or the Super Bowl. Most divisional champions crowned since 1984 have participated in a Breeders' Cup race. In addition to 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 inaugural event was held on November 10, 1984 at glitzy Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. It was an instant hit. The championship races have since become the cornerstone of a year-round program that has allocated over $380 million to owners and breeders alike. Most divisional champions crowned since 1984 have participated in a Breeders' Cup racing event.
In 1986, a separate $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase, run two weeks earlier than the series at a different track, was added to the program. That race was discontinued after 1993. A turf race for fillies and mares was added in 1999.
After Hollywood Park, the Breeders' Cup would change venues yearly. Each fall, a different North American track plays host to the prestigious thoroughbred racing event, which have included the richly historical Churchill Downs, the stately Belmont Park, and the panoramic Santa Anita Park in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
The Breeders' Cup has no doubt accomplished what its founders set out to do, and more. Today, after 26 years and running, the Breeders' Cup remains the definitive test of Horse racing champions, and has become thoroughbred racing's most recognizable and successful showpiece worldwide.
Past Breeders Cup Classic Winners include - Bayern, Mucho Macho Man, Fort Larned, & Zenyatta.