Who is on and who gets off the Breeders’ Cup donut this year?

October 28, 2020

No matter how you play the Breeders’ Cup it is a big money event. If you are a breeder, owner, trainer, rider, or bettor, the Breeders’ Cup can be a financial windfall if you are good and fortunate enough to shine on that stage. No matter what part of any team you are, or if you are in it alone, the Breeders’ Cup affords some of the most lucrative rewards in the Sport of Kings. Sure, there are individual races with bigger purses, but no combination of races offers the ramifications the Breeders’ Cup World Championships do. If you want to play on the grandest stage at the highest level this is where you belong.

If you wanna win, you have to bring it!

I’ve never been one for statistics. You know that on any given day thing. That said, as a student of the game I do look at them, and at times some can be pretty relevant. There are quite a few surprising Breeders’ Cup statistics, and I think more than a few are quite interesting.

Mike Smith is the leading Breeders’ Cup rider, active or inactive. He’s ridden 145 horses in the Breeders’ Cup and won with 26 of them and counting. He’s almost 10 million dollars ahead in Breeders’ Cup money won over John Velazquez with $36,634,605.00 in purse earnings.

You have to go down to 12th on the list to reach the first young gun on there. That would be Irad Ortiz Jr. with $13,580,345.00 in purse earnings. Irad was helped by last year’s win in the Classic. That big purse can really propel a rider. Irad sits at 9 wins from 53 mounts and counting.

You have to go down to 30th, still a nice ranking, especially for a young rider, to get to brother Jose. Jose is 3 for 50 with $5, 710,690.00 in purse earnings. Considering their ages and expected career longevity they are both threats to unseat Mike Smith at some point. Purses escalate giving recent riders the edge. Irad has 9 Breeders’ Cup wins to Pat Valenzuela’s and Laffit Pincay’s 7 apiece but about double the money won.

Russell Baze won an awful lot of races. None in the Breeders’ Cup. He was 0 for 6.

Tyler Baze is still trying and has a chance to get a few. Right now, he’s at 0 for 19.

Tyler Gaffalione feels like he has his share of Breeders’ Cup’s with his name on them. He is also sitting at 0 for 19.

Luis Saez is at 0 for 22 and will ride Maximum Security in the Classic. Luis won the Kentucky Derby and Saudi Cup on him but was not paid for either win to date. You have to think he will be feeling that pressure going into the gate if he doesn’t win one before then. Luis is one of those ice in the vein’s riders, if anything it will likely motivate him as much or more than the big payday.

Aaron Gryder recently announced he was retiring after the upcoming Del Mar meet. Not before he got his Breeders’ Cup win, he is 1 for 6. He took the Marathon on Calidoscopio in 2012.

Jamie Spencer has been Champion Jockey in both Ireland and Britain. In the Breeders’ Cup he is at 0 for 25.

Ken McPeek looks to be loaded coming into the Breeders’ Cup this year. His contingent is led by the powerhouse filly Swiss Skydiver, who has the rare distinction of being qualified by the “win and you’re in” program to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and also the Classic. She won the Alabama to get in the Distaff and the Preakness against the boys to earn a shot at the Classic. The Distaff is first preference, but she is pre-entered to both. McPeek likes surprises. Stay tuned.

McPeek also knows how to win a big race. He has won the Belmont Stakes, Preakness, Travers, Spinster, and many others. So far, he has run 31 horses in the Breeders’ Cup. No wins. Zero. He sits at 0 for 31. You know he has got to be feeling that and looking to do a John Sadler. Sadler was at 0 for 49 in the Breeders’ Cup when he won the Classic with Accelerate. He sits at 1 for 50. McPeek’s jockey for Swiss Skydiver has a better Breeders’ Cup record than McPeek. Robbie Albarado has won three Breeders’ Cup races, Court Vision in 2011, Tapitsfly in 2009, and Curlin in 2007.

Bob Baffert sits atop all Breeders’ Cup trainers with over 30 million in purses won from 15 winners. He has started 119 horses in the Breeders’ Cup and has a good chance to add to his lofty numbers in this year’s event. Even Bob can’t match the percentage of Maria Borell, who thanks to Runhappy (the horse who advertises everywhere except Past the Wire) will likely remain forever tied for the best Breeders’ Cup winning percentage as a trainer. Maria sits at 100% she is 1 for 1.

D. Wayne Lukas has more wins than Bob, at least for now, but less money. Lukas is 20 for 167 with just over 22 million in purse earnings.

Aidan O’ Brien also looks well equipped this year. He comes in at 12 for 147 and just over 23 million in purses. Most of that bankroll was earned on the turf.

Recently indicted trainer Jason Servis was 0 for 11 in Breeders’ Cup races.

Simon Callaghan sits at 0 for 11 also. That’s nothing compared to Ken McPeek’s 0 for 31 but believe it or not, Christophe Clement is on the donut at 0 for 38. Nobody will be rooting harder for Clement’s undefeated filly Plum Ali in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf than Christophe himself. Hey, Clayton Kershaw did it why can’t Christophe?

It seems like Peter Miller and Brad Cox come to run in the Breeders’ Cup. Peter is at 5 for 25. Not bad. Cox is at 3 for 12, more than respectable.

Richard Baltas is at 0 for 13. If his Venetian Harbor is leading in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint down the lane will anyone be rooting harder than he will to get off the donut? Maybe owner Domenic Savides, but that’s about it. Word is he has an expensive party bill to pay.

Mark Hennig is 0 for 13 but he is far from the only excellent trainer to be on the donut. Allen Jerkens, RIP, The Chief, The Giant Killer, slayed many. None in the Breeders’ Cup. He went 0 for 11.

Patrick Biancone looks live this year, but he has before. He is on the donut at a whopping 0 for 23. He’ll be rooting Diamond Oops hard, real hard!

Zenyatta leads all Breeders’ Cup horses in money won. She went 2 for 3 and earned $4,680,000.00. That’s even better than two-time Classic winner Tiznow who at 2 for 2 earned $4,560,400.00. 

Goldikova went a remarkable 3 for 4 and earned $3,508,200.00. There is a whole “slew’ of horses no pun intended with earnings of $345.00. Quite a spread.

China Horse Club spends an awful lot of money on horses. Their Breeders’ Cup earnings to date are $345.00. Juddmonte Farms tops the list with $16,815,820.00 in money won.

Galileo (IRE) leads all Breeders’ Cup sires in money with 5 winners from 53 starters. He has earnings of $12,736,287,00. More Than Ready has the most winners at 7, going 7 for 25.

It stands to reason someone is getting off the donut this year. Some nice resumes will also be padded. Who will they be remains the question.

Contributing Authors

Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

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