Everyone has their own thoughts on the matter but, generally speaking, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are considered the pinnacle of thoroughbred racing in North America.
The 2020 edition will be held at the Keeneland racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky across the weekend of November 6-7, and, as ever, there will be a handsome 14 races across the meeting – 13 of which are Grade 1 encounters.
To qualify for the big day, a horse’s connections can do away with the nerve-racking wait of seeing if they have earned enough points to make it by winning one of the qualification races – the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is held throughout the season in North America, the UK, Japan, South Africa and beyond. The motto here is ‘win and you’re in’, and bettors can use today’s racing results at Paddy Power to keep an eye on form.
Already, some big names have qualified in the form of Enable, Battaash and Ghaiyyath, and there is still time for some of the world’s finest horses of all disciplines to book their place at Keeneland.
Friday of the meeting is Juvenile Day, but we instead want to focus on the main event on Saturday – a stacked card in which only the very best sprinters, stayers and one-milers need apply.
Here’s your guide to the key races at the Breeders’ Cup meeting.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
We’ll start at the end, if that makes sense, with the most prestigious race of them all – the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
This renewal brings the curtain down on the whole festival and with a purse of $7 million it’s the one they all want to win!
Once upon a time, it was the most lucrative horse race in the world, and while it may have since been usurped financially, it remains arguably the most prestigious renewal in the sport.
Run over one-and-a-quarter mile, the quality of the horses in the field is so high that it is extremely rare for a winner to repeat their victory – Tiznow was the last to accomplish that in 2000-01. Good luck to Vino Rosso in defending his title won in 2019.
All in all, this is a fitting way to bring the curtain down on the Breeders’ Cup.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
This grass-based renewal is second only to the Classic in terms of prestige, and with an increased purse of $6 million in 2020, there are, erm, six million reasons why this race is of such interest.
The incomparable Enable has already booked his spot – he won this race in 2018, and there will be horses from Brazil to Japan that will also qualify.
More qualification races remain too, so keep an eye out for the Irish Champion Stakes, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Belmont Derby – the winners of those will be heading to Lexington in fine form.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
As the name suggests, the best one-miler on the planet will be crowned in this $2 million shootout.
It’s a race in which British horses have prospered recently, with Uni taking the title in 2019 and the legendary Frankie Dettori aboard Expert Eye a year earlier.
A number of high-quality performers have already booked their place in the Mile, and in the weeks ahead the Woodbine Mile and the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes will provide more opportunities to clinch a berth in the big one.
This is the greatest show of horse racing in the world…bring it on!