Breeders’ Cup 2021

Breeders' Cup World Championships

On Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6, we witness the 38th edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

This year the series comes to San Diego’s iconic racing venue Del Mar. All in all, 14 championship races will take place featuring some of the top thoroughbred talents in the world.

On our pages, we’ll take you through all odds, the top horses, provide betting guides, tips, and also some fun facts along the way.

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You will find that most online racebooks offer Breeders Cup Odds and Betting options. However, TVG is the official partner of the Breeders Cup World Championships and will be offering special promotions, live streaming and additional coverage.

Breeders’ Cup Races

Since the move to two days of racing in 2007, the series has stretched to 14 championship events. More races are scheduled, but not all are considered to be part of the series officially.

To ensure as many top-class horses as possible are given a shot at glory, Breeders’ Cup races are split into various divisions.

Races are run on turf and dirt, from 5½ furlongs to 1½ miles. Male and female, juveniles and older horses are all catered for. This is roughly how Breeders’ Cup 2020 will look:

Future Stars Friday
Juvenile Turf Sprint2Open5½ furlongsTurf$1million
Juvenile Turf2Colts & Geldings1 mileTurf$1million
Juvenile Fillies2Fillies1 1/16 milesDirt$2million
Juvenile Fillies Turf2Fillies1 mileTurf$1million
TVG Juvenile2Colts & Geldings1 1/16 milesDirt$2million
Filly & Mare Sprint3+Fillies & Mares7 furlongsDirt$1million
Turf Sprint3+Open5½ furlongsTurf$1million
Dirt Mile3+Open1 mileDirt$1million
Filly & Mare Turf3+Fillies & Mares1 3/16 milesTurf$2million
Sprint3+Open6 furlongsDirt$2million
Mile3+Open1 mileTurf$2million
Distaff3+Fillies & Mares1 1/8 milesDirt$2million
Turf3+Open1½ milesTurf$4million
Classic3+Open1¼ milesDirt$6million

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How the Breeders’ Cup Came About

The Breeders’ Cup was proposed by John R. Gaines way back in 1982. A leading breeder and owner, Gaines had wanted to ‘clean up’ the sport in the States. Having gained significant backing, he got serious about putting together the first championships in 1983.

The first Breeders’ Cup Championships were staged at the now-defunct Hollywood Park in 1984. It was held in November, ideally placed after all the major races had been run in both North America and in Europe.

This positioning was perfect and meant the top animals could be aimed at these races as well as their other major targets, rather than instead of them.

Major Achievements

Champion filly Zenyatta took the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2009 at Santa Anita Park. Her one-length win from Gio Ponti solidified her place in the hearts of all racing fans.

Nine years down the line, another wonderful female runner brought down the house. Enable, the Queen of the Turf, won the 2018 Turf at Churchill Downs. In doing so, she became the first horse ever to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a BC race ever in the same year.

One of the greatest Breeders’ Cup horses ever was undoubtedly American Pharoah. Having already taken down the Haskell and all three Triple Crown races, the colt won the 2015 Classic too.

Mike Smith is the winningest jockey at the Series, while D. Wayne Lukas leads the way among the trainers. Among the owners, the best performers have been Juddmonte Farms, Godolphin, and Stronach Stables.

Qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup

Qualifying for races at this series isn’t too hard in fact, despite there being only 14 starters in the gate. With so many races to choose from, most of the best thoroughbreds will find an entry.

Horses are nominated by their owners and breeders, with a fee to be paid which goes toward the purse. If an event is oversubscribed then a committee can decide based on ability and earnings who can take part.

Some are guaranteed a spot in their nominated race via the ‘Win and You’re In’ system, i.e. the Challenge Series.

Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series

The Challenge Series is a whole host of races staged around the world. Winning these races means being guaranteed a spot in a specific race, i.e. taking down the Juddmonte International in England or the TVG Pacific Classic means automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In all, this year there are some 81 races in the series, all allowing their winners automatic entry into one of the Breeders’ Cup 2020 events.

For those interested in futures, Breeders’ Cup online betting is reliant on these races. As soon as a horse wins or runs well in a Series event, their odds change for the big day.

Some of the biggest Challenge Series races are:

Champagne StakesOctoberBelmont ParkTVG Juvenile
Jockey Club Gold CupOctoberBelmont ParkClassic
Prix de l’Arc de TriompheOctoberParisLongchampTurf
Preakness StakesOctoberPimlicoClassic
Shadwell Turf MileOctoberKeenelandMile
Zenyatta StakesSeptemberSanta Anita ParkDistaff
Santa Anita Sprint ChampionshipSeptemberSanta Anita ParkSprint
Royal Lodge StakesSeptemberNewmarketJuvenile Turf
TVG Pacific ClassicAugustDel MarClassic
Yorkshire OaksAugustYorkFilly & Mare Turf

Importance of the Series in World Horse Racing

Every year, the Breeders’ Cup live brings in millions of TV viewers. It remains a huge event nearly 40 years after its inception, in fact, it’s only getting bigger.

Just about all of the races in the Championships are Grade I events. That is the highest ranking in horse racing. As such, these races are all of huge importance in their own right but they have now taken on even more significance.

For example, America’s Horse of the Year named at the Eclipse awards is so often a horse who has won the Classic. Winner of any Grand Slam race goes straight on the list of course, with some winning the whole thing.

The Grand Slam can only be won by a three-year-old. It consists of the three Triple Crown races, plus either the Travers or the Classic which is all-aged. The Triple Crown, of course, consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

While there have been 13 Triple Crown winners, only one took down the Grand Slam that includes the Travers. Whirlaway was that champion in 1941, with Justify in 2018 potentially going close but for injury.

In terms of the Triple Crown plus the Classic, only the great American Pharoah has been successful to date in 2015. He is now already carving out a career as a great stallion and unsurprisingly so.

Breeders’ Cup FAQ

Interested to learn more about the Breeders’ Cup? Check out the FAQ section below.

What is the Breeders’ Cup?

It is an annual series of top-class horse races, staged at a different North American track each year. 14 races are staged across two days, run on turf and dirt, and across various distances.

When is the Breeders’ Cup?

The 2021 series comes to a conclusion across Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6.

What Time Are the Breeders’ Cup Races?

The post time for each race is not set yet.

Where is the Series This Year?

Del Mar Race Course in San Diego, California, will host the event.

Who Won the Classic Last Year?

The final event of the series, the $6million Classic, was won in fine style by Authentic. A four-year-old colt, Vino Rosso was trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by John Velazquez.