What Is The Breeder’s Cup?

breederscupThe Breeders Cup is an international thoroughbred horse racing event, and attracts some of the best horses and jockeys in the industry.

It is the final championship event that culminates as the end of the racing season draws to a close. It is the best of all thoroughbred racing events worldwide, and offers participants a $5 million purse in the Breeder’s Cup Classic event alone, with a total of $26 million for all races.


Selection Process

horseracingThe races include a total of 13-14 horses in each race. Horses are selected for the Breeders Cup Races by either winning a Breeder’s Cup race, or through a selection process that ranks horses by performance in races. Points are allotted based on grades 1-3. The third way for horses to qualify is to be admitted by a panel of industry racing judges and experts. Of the 14 horses selected, 7 come from the challenge races or the point system. The other seven come from selection by experts.

Points are allotted dependent on horse’s prior win record, and if the win was 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. Races must have taken place in Canada or the United States. Three categories exist for prior wins; win, place and show horses. Grade one offers the highest points, while grade two and three lower. Horses are pre-entered for races two weeks in advance. Judges then allot numbers to horses based on prior performance. Other horses are selected by preference if vacancies occur for races by the panel of experts.


The event began in 1982 as a North American end to the season thoroughbred racing event. Since that time it has emerged as a number one race in thoroughbred racing, drawing the best horses and jockeys from all over the world, and is particularly popular with horse owners and jockeys in Europe. The event has had a total of 262 races since 1982 and today has changed the face and competition of thoroughbred horse racing.

It was originally proposed by thoroughbred horse owner John R. Gaines, who sought ways to improve the image of thoroughbred racing. It was originally a one day event, and when originally conducted was the richest horse racing event in the world. Though it is still a rich horse racing event, with millions awarded in a two day event, other world horse races are equally rich, such as those in Dubai.

The history of the race has also included significant societal events, such as the first woman jockey in the races in 1988. Julie Crone was the jockey and rode in three races. She was also the first female to ride into the winner’s circle in 2003. Since then five other females have won races.

The events have been televised since their inception in 1984. NBC was the first to televise the races and has continued to play a crucial role in televising the event over the years. From 1984-2005 NBC televised the events. Following this in 2006 the Breeder’s Cup entered into a new contract with ESPN in televising races until 2013. As of 2012 the Breeder’s Cup decided to terminate the contract with ESPN, and again allow NBC to televise the races in their entirety. The Breeders Cup is now televised on NBC Sports Network, and the classic is televised on NBC Prime Time.

The Breeder’s Cup also had different announcers for the sporting event through the years. From 1984-2005 the announcer was Tom Durkin. From 2006-2012 it was Trevor Denman. Now that the races are again televised by NBC Larry Cullmis announced races for both NBC and NBCSN. As of 2013 Trevor Denman was the on-track announcer.

Races will be held for the 2014 season on October 31, and November 1 in Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, California. Santa Anita has hosted many prominent horse racing events through the decades, and has been responsible for setting standards in thoroughbred horse racing. Eight races for the Breeder’s Cup are scheduled for October 31, and four for November 1. Events from both days will be televised.