Bits and Pieces: Breeders’ Cup Classic

November 3, 2022

By Margaret Ransom

The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), which is worth $6 million again this year, has always been contested at the classic distance of 1 1⁄4 miles on dirt. It used to be the richest race in the world until the Dubai World Cup in 1995, then the inaugural Pegasus World Cup, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and now the $20 million Saudi Cup.

(Flightline. Past The Wire Photo)

American Horse of the Year winners who have also captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic are: Alysheba, 1988; A.P. Indy, 1992; Cigar, 1995; Tiznow, 2000; Ghostzapper, 2004; Saint Liam, 2005; Invasor, 2006; Curlin, 2007; American Pharoah, 2015; Gun Runner, 2017; Authentic, 2020; and Knicks Go.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert leads all trainers with four winners – Bayern, 2014; American Pharoah, 2015; Arrogate, 2016; and Authentic, 2020. Retired Hall of Fame jockeys Jerry Bailey and Chris McCarron each rode five winners to lead all jockeys. Tiznow in 2001 and 2002 is the only horse to have won the Classic twice and will remain the only one as last year’s winner, Knicks Go, was retired and stood his first year at stud this year.

The fastest Breeders’ Cup Classic time belongs to Ghostzapper, who set the mark of 1:59:02 under Javier Castellano in 2004 at Lone Star Park. It is also remains the track record for the distance. In 2015 American Pharoah’s final time of 2:00.07 set a track record at Keeneland. 

The Classic is responsible for more than just Horse of the Year Honors, it’s provided some exciting moments. The inquiry involving Wild Again and Gate Dancer, Alysheba winning in the dark under the lights at Churchill Downs; Swain, closer to the outside rail than the inside, being defeated by Awesome Again at Churchill Downs and, of course, the biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history. In 1993 when European import Arcangues stunned the Santa Anita crowd at odds of 133-1 under jockey Jerry Bailey and returned $269.20 for a $2 wager.

American Pharoah is the only Triple Crown winner to have also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Cigar (1995), Pleasantly Perfect (2003) and Invasor (2006) are the only three Breeders’ Cup Classic/Dubai World Cup winners.

Nice score King! @jonathanstettin Well played with the 4 singled on one ticket. 2 times! Big congrats.

Michael R. Snow (@theWynnDough) View testimonials