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ABRV - EVENTS/TRAVEL

Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term, horse racing? My guess is the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, which make up The Triple Crown. The sport was without a Triple Crown winner for a 35th consecutive year after Kentucky Derby winner Orb was defeated by Oxbow in the Preakness, then Palace Malice defeated both Orb and Oxbow in the Belmont.

What people do not understand is that The Triple Crown is only part of the excitement that is offered at racetracks across the country throughout the year. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (near Los Angeles) on Nov. 1-2. The Breeders’ Cup is one of the richest weekends in all of sport, boasting 14 races worth $25 million. There is really only one division, the Classic division that you will see many of the horses you saw in the Triple Crown races. This means there are 13 additional divisions to follow from July through October leading up to the first weekend in November.

Five Races for Females Only:

The first thing to note about the Breeders’ Cup is that female horses may race in any of the 14 events. However there are five races limited to females only. While the remaining nine races predominantly draw male entrants, females have certainly beaten the boys on many occasions.

GOLDIKOVA DEFEATED MALES THREE TIMES IN THE BREEDERS' CUP MILE

Goldikova BCMile -Eclipse

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The five races for females only are:

  1. Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic
  2. Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
  3. Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
  4. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
  5. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf 

Four Juvenile Races:

The second thing you want to look at is that there are four Juvenile races in the Breeders’ Cup series.  Aside from the four juvenile races, all other Breeders’ Cup events are open to horses ages 3 years old and older. A juvenile is a 2-year-old horse. The age of two is the earliest a Thoroughbred can begin to race, and usually the ones who compete in the Breeders’ Cup get started racing in late summer and early fall. This makes it an exciting time to see young horses develop, and usually can give you a preview of who some of the horses on the Triple Crown trail will be next year. Here are the four Juvenile races:

  1. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
  2. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
  3. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
  4. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf

Turf vs. Dirt?

The third thing to think about in the Breeders’ Cup is what type of surface the races will be run on. The Breeders’ Cup races are either run on the turf (grass) or the dirt. In all cases but one, the Breeders’ Cup  Turf races will have the word “turf” in their name. The only exception is the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which is run on turf, making the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile obviously on dirt. Here are the six turf races:

  1. Breeders’ Cup Turf
  2. Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
  3. Breeders’ Cup Mile
  4. Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
  5. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
  6. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf


2012 BREEDERS' CUP FILLY AND MARE TURF

2012BCFMTurf Hero -Eclipse

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

A Question of Distance?

The final factor considered in these races is the distance in which the horses run. Horse races are measured in furlongs. One furlong equals an eighth of a mile. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is the shortest of the 14 races at six furlongs. The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is 6 1/2 furlongs, and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint is seven furlongs. These are the only three sprint races in the Breeders’ Cup. Horses that specialize in running at distances under one mile are most often referred to as “sprinters.”

The horses that are best competing at the distance of one mile we call “milers.” There are four races at the distance of one mile. Two of those are the Juvenile Turf and the Juvenile Fillies Turf. At 2 years old, it is difficult to determine what distance horses are comfortable with, so the juveniles in these two races are not necessarily considered “milers.” The Breeders’ Cup Mile and The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile are the only two one-mile races that are specifically for “milers.”

When a race is run at one mile or more, it is generally referred to as a “two-turn race.” This means simply that the horses will complete two turns around the track before crossing the finish line, although Belmont Park and Churchill Downs offer one-mile races that are one-turn races. The remaining “two-turn” races will be either 1 1/16 miles, 1 1/8 miles, 1 ¼ miles, 1 ½ miles or 1 ¾ miles.

Here is a look at all 14 of the races in their entirety:

Purse:

Race:

Sex:

Surface:

Age

Distance:

$5 million

Classic

 Open

Dirt

3yo+

1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs)

$3 million

Turf

 Open

Turf

3yo+

1 1/2 miles (12f)

$2 million

Ladies' Classic

Female

Dirt

3yo+

1 1/8 miles (9f)

$2 million

Mile

 Open

Turf

3yo+

1 mile (8f)

$2 million

Filly/Mare Turf

Female

Turf

3yo+

1 1/4 miles (10f)

$2 million

Juvenile

 Open

Dirt

2yo

1 1/16 miles (8.5f)

$2 million

Juvenile Fillies

Female

Dirt

2yo

1 1/16 miles (8.5f)

$1.5 million

Sprint

 Open

Dirt

3yo+

6 furlongs

$1 million

Dirt Mile

 Open

Dirt

3yo+

1 mile (8f)

$1 million

Turf Sprint

 Open

Turf

3yo+

6 1/2 furlongs

$1 million

Filly/Mare Sprint

Female

Dirt

3yo+

7 furlongs

$1 million

Juvenile Turf

 Open

Turf

2yo

1 mile (8f)

$1 million

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Female

Turf

2yo

1 mile (8f)

$500,000

Marathon

 Open

Dirt

3yo+

1 3/4 miles (14f)

Now you know all about the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Here are some key points to remember:

  • The Breeders’ Cup is made up of 14 races with 14 winners.
  • Five of the races are for females only.
  • Four of the races are for 2-year-olds (or juveniles) only.
  • Races in the Breeders’ Cup are run either on dirt (8) or on turf (6).
  • There are several different distances at which these races are run.
  • Sprint races are those less than one mile.
  • Certain horses specialize in going one mile.
  • Races over one mile are generally “two-turn races.”

In my next piece, I will explain how horses qualify for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and also talk about some exciting races in the coming months. So be sure to keep reading!

 

Image Description

John Cox

A graduate of University of Kentucky, John has varied marketing experience in the Thoroughbred industry—from Keeneland to a private firm marketing specifically to Thoroughbred Farms, his knowledge of the industry is a great addition to the ABRV team.

Image Description

John Cox

A graduate of University of Kentucky, John has varied marketing experience in the Thoroughbred industry—from Keeneland to a private firm marketing specifically to Thoroughbred Farms, his knowledge of the industry is a great addition to the ABRV team.

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