Learn about the Breeders’ Cup, an important horse racing event in Canada. In this guide, you’ll find some basics to cover first: what it is and how betting works!
The Breeders’ Cup was created to be the end-of-year championship for North American thoroughbred racehorses. The races are held at Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California every autumn and come with a purse worth 6 million dollars!
This year’s race will be an exciting one as it features some of the most talented horses and riders to compete in North America. In fact, since first being held back in 1984 when only three editions were organized across Canada (Calgary then Montreal), international competitors have started coming from outside our borders!
The Breeders’ Cup has been hosted by different tracks every year, but it’s not always held at a racetrack. There were two consecutive years where the event was simultaneously contested in California and Kentucky – an unprecedented feat for horse racing!
What would you say if I told you that there was a way for racetracks all over North America to share their space? The lack of Fixed homes is what allows these various tracks the chance at hosting events.
The horse racing series, the Challenge Series is a way for competitors from all over to compete. If they win one of these races then you can bet on them at the Breeders’ Cup!
The horses’ race across different courses, depending on their age or breed.
The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most prestigious races in America, and both dirt racetracks, as well as turf courses, can be found at this event.
The American Grand National over hurdles used to be run during this event. It is now exclusively Flat horse racing but there was a time when it had both obstacles and distance restrictions like many other classics do!
From 2007 onwards, the Breeders’ Cup has been an event that takes place over two days.
The Breeders’ Cup has a rich history, with the first race being held at Woodbine in Toronto back in 1996. The Canadian track hosts this prestigious event once every year- so if you are ever planning your trip across North America be sure not to miss it!
Breeders’ Cup horse races
The Breeders’ Cup is a racing event for two-year-olds. The first day of the meeting has an emphasis on these young thoroughbreds, who can’t compete in other races until they’re three years old unless their owners contest one specific race with them being restricted to juveniles only!
- Juvenile Turf Sprint over about five-and-a-half furlongs (Grade 2)
- Juvenile Fillies Turf over a mile (Grade 1)
- Juvenile Fillies dirt race over a mile and half-a-furlong (Grade 1)
- Juvenile Turf over a mile (Grade 1)
- Juvenile dirt race over a mile and half-a-furlong (Grade 1)
The second day of the Breeders’ Cup features some top-class Flat horse races, which are open to horses three years old and above.
- Filly & Mare Sprint dirt race over seven furlongs (Grade 1)
- Turf Sprint over about five-and-a-half furlongs (Grade 1)
- Dirt Mile over a mile (Grade 1)
- Filly & Mare Turf over about a mile and two-and-a-half furlongs (Grade 1)
- Sprint dirt race over six furlongs (Grade 1)
- Turf Mile over a mile (Grade 1)
- Distaff dirt race for fillies and mares over a mile and a furlong (Grade 1)
- Breeders’ Cup Turf over a mile and four furlongs (Grade 1)
- Breeders’ Cup Classic dirt race over a mile and two furlongs (Grade 1)
Past & Present Breeders’ Cup host venues
North America is home to some of the most prestigious horse racing events in history, and many tracks have hosted Breeders’ Cup contests. Tampa Bay Downs has played host for five editions so far while Woodbine Racecourse plays host every year since 2003 except on occasions where it’s unavailable due to another event being held at the same Track.
- Hollywood Park, Inglewood, California (1984, 1987, 1997)
- Aqueduct, Queens, New York (1985)
- Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California (1986, 1993, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019)
- Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky (1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2018)
- Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach, Florida (1989, 1992, 1999)
- Belmont Park, Elmont, New York (1990, 1995, 2001, 2005)
- Woodbine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1996)
- Arlington Park, Chicago, Illinois (2002)
- Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie, Texas (2004)
- Monmouth Park, Oceanport, New Jersey (2007)
- Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky (2015, 2020, 2022)
- Del Mar, Del Mar, California (2017, 2021)