Breeders Cup:The Thoroughbred industry will close out a dramatic and unprecedented year of horse racing with the 36th iteration of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, only on NBC, NBCSN, and NBCSports.com.
What is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships? The Breeders’ Cup is horse racing’s last hurrah of the year. Horses from around the globe will compete in 14 races over two days, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic closing out the weekend.
The Breeders’ Cup originated in 1984 as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred horses and their breeders. The brainchild of the late John Gaines, the former owner of Gainesway Farm, the Breeders’ Cup was built by Thoroughbred breeders, for Thoroughbred breeders.
In 2007, the Breeders’ Cup was expanded from one day to two. Now, the first day of the weekend is called Future Stars Friday, with many of racing’s most promising colts and fillies running on both the dirt and the turf. Championship Saturday will give out more than $22 million in purse money over nine races, including the $6 million Classic.
When and where is the 2019 Breeders’ Cup? The 2019 Breeders’ Cup begins Friday, November 1 and concludes on November 2 with a packed card that features the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Racing at Santa Anita beings at 1:45 p.m. ET on Nov. 1 and at 1:07 p.m. ET on Nov. 2, but not every race over the weekend is a Breeders’ Cup Championships race. See all post times here.
The Breeders’ Cup changes tracks every year, with California’s Santa Anita hosting in 2019 for a record-10th time. Keeneland will host in 2020, followed by Del Mar in 2021.
How can I watch the 2019 Breeders’ Cup? NBC Sports is home to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV and NBCSports.com before, during and after. Coverage kicks off with Future Stars Friday on November 1, from 4-8 p.m. on NBCSN. NBC Sports will resume coverage the following day on NBCSN beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the Classic hour jumping to NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET.
How are horses picked for the Breeders’ Cup? Horses must be nominated to race in any Breeders’ Cup event. Stallions at stud who are nominated then pass that nomination down to their foals, meaning any offspring of a nominated stallion is eligible to run in a Breeders’ Cup race. Each year, the stallion’s nomination costs as much as his advertised breeding fee and will cover up to the first 50 foals the stallion produces that year before the fee goes up. Foals can also be nominated individually at $400 each, and stallions standing abroad are also eligible. These funds contribute to the Breeders’ Cup purses and go back into the host track.
However, just because a horse is nominated doesn’t mean they’ll run in the Breeders’ Cup.
The “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is a series of Breeders’ Cup qualifying races that gives the winner an automatic entry into the relevant Breeders’ Cup race (with entry fees paid).
Horses who didn’t get in through a Challenge Series race accumulate points throughout the season by finishing graded races in the money, and the horses with the most points at the end of the season will fill the remaining spots.
See all results and replays from NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series
What is the Breeders’ Cup Classic? The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is the marquee event of the weekend. At 1 1/4 miles long, the Classic has a field of up to 14 horses that must be at least 3 years old. Breeders’ Cup Classic winners have a history of going on to win Horse of the Year, including Gun Runner (2017), Curlin (2007) and Cigar (1995).
In 2015, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah capped off his historic year by dominating Breeders’ Cup Classic with a 6 1/2-length win, becoming the first horse ever to claim the “Grand Slam” of horse racing: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. American Pharoah was then retired and went on to win the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.
Santa Anita Park will play host to two days of high-class racing on Friday and Saturday, with the 2019 Breeders’ Cup to take place at the historic venue.
The event will see some of the most high-profile jockeys in the sport go head-to-head, with 14 races scheduled for the two days. All but one of the races will be Grade 1 contests, meaning punters in attendance will get their money’s worth in terms of quality.
The meeting will culminate with the Breeders’ Cup Classic, for which the purse will be a whopping $6 million. McKinzie is the early favourite for that race, with Code of Honor and Vino Rosso also set to be in contention over the 10-furlong distance.
Here is the race schedule for the two days, as well as selected odds and a prediction for each event.
2019 Breeders’ Cup Schedule (ET) and Predictions
Friday, November 1
4:12 p.m. – Juvenile Turf Sprint (Aali, 5/1)
4:52 p.m. – Juvenile Fillies Turf (Alms, 12/1)
5:32 p.m. – Juvenile Fillies (British Idiom, 4/1)
6:12 p.m. – Juvenile Turf (Decorated Invader, 15/2)
7:03 p.m. – Juvenile (Eight Rings, 9/4)
Saturday, November 2
2:55 p.m. – Filly & Mare Sprint (Come Dancing 5/2)
3:33 p.m. – Turf Sprint (Stubbins, 10/1)
4:10 p.m. – Dirt Mile (Omaha Beach, 26/19)
4:54 p.m. – Filly & Mare Turf (Sistercharlie 2/1)
5:36 p.m. – Sprint (Shancelot, 5/1)
6:20 p.m. – Mile (Circus Maximus, 7/2)
7 p.m. – Distaff (Midnight Bisou, 6/4)
7:40 p.m. – Turf (Bricks and Mortar, 2/1)
8:44 p.m. – Classic (Code of Honor, 9/2)
Odds in full are available via Oddschecker
Although there will be 13 excellent races ahead of if at Santa Anita over two jam-packed days, the Breeders’ Cup Classic remains the biggest draw for the race-goers and those tuning in to the action around the world.
A year ago, it was Joel Rosario who steered the aptly named Accelerate to victory for trainer John W. Sadler:
In 2019, Rosario has an excellent chance to make it back-to-back successes in the race, as he is set to be aboard Bob Baffert’s McKinzie, which is likely to go off as the favourite.
This year, McKinzie has been able to produce some dominant performances, most notably in the Alysheba Stakes and the Whitney Stakes. However, those eye-catching displays have been interspersed with underwhelming runs.
Baffert provided his thoughts on how he feels McKinzie will fare in the showpiece event at the Breeders’ Cup: