Breeders Cup Classic Trends

Breeders Cup Classic
Breeders Cup Classic

Breeders Cup Classic

The feature race this weekend at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the $6 million Grade 1, Breeders Cup Classic.

Last year, trainer Steve Asmussen ended a three-race win streak set by trainer Bob Baffert when leading Gun Runner to an impressive success at Del Mar last November. Baffert accomplished a trio of winners for three different owners, ridden by three different jockeys.

Many racing fans may remember the 2016 renewal, when the world’s best horse at the time – Arrogate, ridden by Mike Smith, got up on the line in one the greatest finishes in the Classic, to deny California Chrome.


This year the Breeders Cup will be hosted at Churchill Downs – a course which has presented the Cup on eight previous occasions. On just one occasion did the favorite win the Classic, with Alysheba coming out on top, way back in 1988. Accelerate will hope to become the second for John Sadler, but Britain’s Roaring Lion will definitely make a race of it, despite it being his first start on the dirt.

Over the past 10 runnings of the festival, each of the Classic winners had achieved Grade 1 success prior to winning this big prize. Every Classic winner to date has either been 3, 4 or 5 years in age – with nine of the last fourteen being aged 4 or 5. Winning a Grade/Group 1 race on both dirt and turf is a fine accomplishment that is not attained by many race horses. The class and versatility needed to pull off the feat is a rare trait, and three contenders for the 2018 Classic arrive having completed that feat - Yoshida, Thunder Snow and Catholic Boy.

Other common traits feature 11 of the 14 winners arriving at the Breeders Cup meeting with at least five winners to their name, and 13 of the last 14 had raced in the previous eight weeks – so clearly preparation is key, and there are no flukes involved. 13 of the last 14 winners were also trained in the US – proving their authority on the dirt.

Previous Winners:

2017 – Gun Runner
2016 – Arrogate
2015 – American Pharoah
2014 – Bayern
2013 – Mucho Macho Man
2012 – Fort Larned
2011 – Drosselmeyer
2010 – Blame
2009 – Zenyatta
2008 – Raven’s Pass
2007 – Curlin