The Breeders’ Cup has now been run 27 times now. From the inaugural running at Hollywood Park in 1984 to the 2011 version next week (Nov. 4-5) at Churchill Downs, the Breeders’ Cup builds what all great sporting events have - history. And history means numbers. I don’t know if horse racing fans and bettors like numbers more than our baseball friends currently watching the World Series, but most of us thoroughbred fans like our numbers.
So we looked at the Breeders’ Cup and their history and came up with a few numbers that we thought may be of interest to you.
140,332,198 – The highest number of total dollars wagered on a single-day Breeders’ Cup event on Nov. 4, 2006 at Churchill Downs. Last year Churchill Downs handled the two-day record $173,857,697 for a Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 5-6.
10,246,800 – The record number of career dollars earned by a Breeders’ Cup starter. That was Curlin's bankroll going into the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. That Classic was won by Raven's Pass at 13-to-1 odds while Curlin finished fourth as the 4-to-5 odds-on favorite. (Editor's Note: Thanks to reader Eddie D. who corrected me on this number. I previously published Skip Away and his $9,616,360 as the record holder as per the Breeders' Cup website.)
349 – The number of starters in the Breeders’ Cup Mile during the previous 27 years making it the most popular Breeders’ Cup race among horsemen. The Sprint is second with 339 starters and the Juvenile is third with 324.
77 – The age of trainer Philip G. Johnson when he set the record as the oldest trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race when Valponi won the 2002 Classic.
56 – The age of jockey Bill Shoemaker when he set the record as the oldest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup race. Shoemaker was 56 when he won the 1987 Classic with Ferdinand.
52 – The number of Breeders’ Cup races won by horses breaking from post position two or four – 26 each and leading all other post positions in that category. Post number one is third with 24 winners.
14 – The number of Breeders’ Cup races that have finished with the official winning margin being a nose. Difficult to say which was the most dramatic, but Personal Ensign putting in that stretch run in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (now Ladies Classic) on a dark on sloppy day at Churchill Downs to catch Winning Colors gets my vote. Ferdinand and Alysheba were so close at the wire of the 1987 Classic that their jockeys, Bill Shoemaker and Chris McCarron aboard respectively, both recalled asking each other who had won while galloping out just past the wire. What about Macho Uno holding off Point Given to win the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. For the record, Blame was a head in front of Zenyatta in the 2009 Classic. There are 17 Breeders’ Cup races with the official winning margin a head.
13-1/2 – The number of lengths that made up Inside Information’s record winning margin in the 1995 Distaff over Heavenly Prize. Second: Street Sense and his ten length victory over Circular Quay in the 2006 Juvenile with Pleasant Home having the third longest winning margin, defeating Society Selection in the 2005 Distaff.
13 – The number of Breeders’ Cup winners who have sired Breeders’ Cup winners. Awesome Again, winner of the 1998 Classic, leads the pack with four of his get winning Breeders’ Cup races. Awesome Again has sired Wilko, winner of the 2004 Juvenile; Ghostzapper (2004 Classic); Round Pond (2006 Distaff) and Ginger Punch (2007) Distaff.
3 – The number of mares that have produced two multiple Breeders’ Cup winners. Primal Force (by Blushing Groom) is the dam of Awesome Again (1998 Classic) and Macho Uno (2000 Juvenile). Sweet Catomine (2004 Juvenile Fillies) and Life is Sweet (2009 Distaff) are both out of the Kris S. mare Sweet Life; and the Kahyasi (IRE) mare Hasili (IRE) produced Banks Hill and Intercontinental, winners of the 2001 and 2005 Filly and Mare Turf.
1 – The number of horse who have won three Breeders’ Cup races. Goldikova returns this year to try for her four Breeders’ Cup Mile. Ouija Board won the Filly and Mare Turf in 2004 and 2006 and was second in that race in 2005 to 15-to-1 long shot Intercontinental.