When it comes to betting on the Breeders’ Cup, there are 5 races to choose from on Friday and 9 races on Saturday. The biggest event of the 2-day Championships is the last race on Saturday for a prize of $6,000,000!
The world’s fastest Thoroughbreds compete in the Sprint, sometimes achieving speeds nearing 40 M.P.H. in the stretch. This race is contested at three- quarters of a mile for male and female horses, 3-years-old and older.
The Breeders’ Cup is on November 6th & 7th, 2020 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) is another of the seven original Breeders’ Cup races. It has always been constested at the six-furlong distance and this year offers a purse of $2 million.
This race has always been a significant predictor of who will win the year-end Eclipse Award as outstanding sprinter and only 12 times in the 36 previous editions has the winner not collected championship honors at the end of the season – 1987, Very Subtle won and Groovy was champion. Others are 1989, Dancing Spree (Safely Kept); 1990, Safely Kept (Housebuster); 1991, Sheikh Albadou (Housebuster); 1992, Thirty Slews (Rubiano); 1995, Desert Stormer (Not Surprising); 1997, Elmhurst (Smoke Glacken); 2003, Cajun Beat (Aldebaran); 2005, Silver Train (Lost in the Fog); 2008, Midnight Lute (Benny the Bull); 2009, Dancing in Silks (Kodiak Cowboy); and 2013, Secret Circle (Points Offthebench).
Two horses have won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint twice and both in consecutive years: Midnight Lute in 2007 and 2008 and Roy H. in 2017 and 2018. Retired jockey Corey Nakatani rode four winners, including three in a row – Lit de Justice, 1996; Elmhurst, 1997; Reraise, 1998 and Thor’s Echo, 2006. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has tightened the girth on five winners – Thirty Slews, 1992; Midnight Lute, 2007 and 2008; Secret Circle, 2013; and Drefong, 2016.
Midnight Lute still owns the stakes record of 1:07.08 for his win in 2008 a Santa Anita.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” events for the Sprint, listed with the winners, are”
June 6 Carter Handicap, Belmont Park: Vekoma
August 1 Bing Crosby Stakes, Del Mar: Collusion Illusion
September 26 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes, Belmont Park: Firenze Fire
September 27 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes, Santa Anita Park: C Z Rocket
October 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes, Keeneland: Diamond Oops
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint was run for the first time in 2008 at about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s signature downhill turf course. Now a grade 1, it was contested as an ungraded event until 2010 when it earned a grade 2. It was elevated to its current grade in 2012.
Because not all North American tracks are capable of running a 6 ½-furlong sprint over their turf course, this race has been held at varying distances over the past 12 years. At Churchill Downs (2010, 2011, 2018) the distance was five furlongs. At Keeneland in 2015, the distance was about five furlongs and at Del Mar in 2017 the race was contested at five furlongs. Last year, though held at Santa Anita, the race was conducted at five furlongs again since the downhill turf course had been closed earlier in the year.
Because this division competes with the traditional sprinter division for Eclipse Awards, no winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint has earned the title as champion sprinter. However, in 2018 after his second victory in the race, Stormy Liberal was voted champion turf horse. He isn’t the only runner to have won two editions as the mare Mizdirection took home the victory in both 2012 and 2013.
California-based conditioner Peter Miller is the race’s leading trainer with three winners. In addition to Stormy Liberal, he also conditioned the filly Belvoir Bay a year ago. The British-bred filly survived the 2017 Lilac Fire in San Diego county before becoming a Breeders’ Cup winner last year.
Mike Smith (2012, 2013) and Joel Rosario (2014, 2017) have each ridden a pair of winners to lead all jockeys.
The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, first run at Monmouth Park in 2007 in what was the first year the World Championships expanded beyond the single-day format, and aside from the first year when it was offered at six furlongs, has been contested at seven furlongs.
In all but three years since its inaugural running the winner has gone on to earn the Eclipse Award as the country’s champion female sprinter. Ventura (2008), Wavell Avenue (2015) and Bar of Gold (2017) are the only winners of this race who did not win championship honors in the female turf division. A year ago, Covfefe won this race en route to her title in the division as well as the honor as champion 3-year-old filly. So far, Groupie Doll in 2012 and 2013 is the only repeat winner of the race.
Normally there are three Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” qualifying races for this race, but this year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic only two were on tap. Serengeti Empress won the August 8 Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and Inthemidstofbiz won the October 3 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. Both are expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup.
Trainer Buff Bradley is the only trainer to have won twice (he also co-owned Groupie Doll) while three jockeys – Rajiv Maragh, Mike Smith and Irad Ortiz Jr. – have each ridden a pair of winners. The Bobby Frankel-trained Ventura still owns the fastest time for the race at seven furlongs when she posted 1:19.90 in 2008.
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.