The Brock Talk

Monday, September 27, 2010

Five Million Reasons To Watch Goodwood and Gold Cup

Two of the most lucrative races in producing Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. 1) winners are Saturday with one on each coast. While the Woodward Stakes (gr. 1) at Saratoga has produced the most Breeders’ Cup Classic winners with six, the Goodwood in Southern California has produced five winners and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in New York has produced four Breeders’ Cup Classic champions.

The statistics speak well for Quality Road, winner of the 2010 Woodward at Saratoga in early September, but will skip the Jockey Club Gold Cup and train up to the $5,000,000 Classic on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. But the numbers also point to good things for both the big races this weekend, the Goodwood and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The Goodwood Stakes has traditionally been run at Santa Anita during the Oak Tree Meeting, but the non-profit Oak Tree Association moved the meeting to Hollywood Park because of disputes with Magna, which owns Santa Anita. Ironically, the most recent winner of the Goodwood and Breeders’ Cup Classic double was Pleasantly Perfect in 2003, before the installation of the track’s artificial surface. The other two Goodwood/Classic winners, Tiznow in 2001 and Alphabet Soup in 1996, produced Classic winners at tracks outside of Southern California. Tiznow won the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont Park and Alphabet Soup won the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Woodbine. The first Goodwood winner to hit the Classic winner was Ferdinand in 1987 who stayed at Santa Anita to win a thrilling Breeders’ Cup Classic over Alysheba that year.

The three most recent Goodwood/Classic winners all paid handsomely to their Breeders’ Cup supporters with even Tiznow now returning $15.80 in 2001 when taking his second consecutive Classic. Pleasantly Perfect and Alphabet Soup generated even healthier returns for their supports in the Breeders’ Cup returning $30.40 and $41.70 respectively. Ferdinand remains the second-lowest priced winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic returning $4.00, behind only Cigar (photo above) in 1995 who returned $3.60 for a $2 win ticket.

Curlin is among three to pull of the Jockey Club Gold Cup/Breeders’ Cup Classic double, having done so in 2007. As difficult as it may seem, it is another 14 years further back than Curlin to find Skip Away, who won both races in 1997. Two years earlier Cigar took both races in 1995. Interestingly, while the prestigious victories gave Curlin and Cigar the Horse of the Year honors, it was a year later before Cigar Skip Away was awarded his golden Eclipse Awards.

Like Cigar, Skip Away and Curlin are among the lowest priced winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic returning $5.60 and $10.80 respectively.

Regardless of the investment opportunities however, it seems like that racing this weekend will have an influence over the distribution of the $5,000,000 Classic purse November 6.

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