1) Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. will host the 32nd annual Breeders’ Cup for the first time on October 30-31 (Churchill Downs and Santa Anita share the record as eight-time hosts). Central Kentucky is known as the “Horse Racing Capital of the World” and the Breeders’ Cup was the brainchild of local horseman John Gaines, who envisioned a championship event at one location every fall for Thoroughbred racing. Featuring 13 races worth a combined $24.5 million, the Breeders’ Cup is the richest two days in the sport and showcases the best horses in the world.
2) There are numerous options for visitors to enjoy outside the track. Lexington will host a weeklong Breeders’ Cup Festival from October 24-31 spotlighting the best of Central Kentucky. Tours of world-famous horse farms and bourbon distilleries, parades, parties, food competitions, art exhibits, concerts and a 5-K race are among the festivities.
3) If you recognize that the Breeders’ Cup trophy has an Italian Renaissance look, give yourself an A+ in art history. The majestic horse is a reproduction of a 1580s bronze sculpture by Giovanni da Bologna, thought to be inspired by Da Vinci’s equine portrayals.
4) American Pharoah will become the first Triple Crown winner to contest a Breeders’ Cup race when he lines up for the $5 million Classic. With a victory, American Pharoah can join Ferdinand (1987), Alysheba (1988), Sunday Silence (1989) and Unbridled (1990) as the fifth Kentucky Derby winner to capture North America’s richest race.
5) Four horses will be making a title defense in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup: Untapable (Distaff), Karakontie (Mile), Judy the Beauty (Filly & Mare Turf) and Bobby’s Kitten (Turf Sprint) all won at Santa Anita last year, and Beholder, winner of the 2012 Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff, will seek to go 3-for-3 in Breeders’ Cup races (missed the 2014 event due to an illness) when she tackles male rivals in the Classic.
6) Goldikova is the only three-time Breeders’ Cup winner, capturing the Mile from 2008-2010, and Beholder can attempt to join the ranks in this year’s Classic, albeit as the first to win three different races. Other horses with two Breeders’ Cup race victories are:
• Bayakoa (1989-90 Distaff)
• Conduit (2008-09 Turf)
• Da Hoss (Mile in 1996 & 1998)
• Goldencents (2013-14 Dirt Mile)
• Groupie Doll (2012-13 Filly & Mare Sprint)
• High Chaparral (2002-03 Turf)
• Lure (1992-93 Mile)
• Midnight Lute (2007-08 Sprint)
• Miesque (1987-88 Mile)
• Mizdirection (2012-13 Turf Sprint)
• Ouija Board (Filly & Mare Turf in 2004 & 2006)
• Royal Delta (2011-12 Distaff)
• Secret Circle (2011 Juvenile Sprint & 2013 Sprint)
• Tiznow (2000-01)
• Wise Dan (2012-13 Mile)
• Zenyatta (2008 Distaff & 2009 Classic)
7) Calidoscopio is the oldest winner of a Breeders’ Cup race, taking the 2012 Marathon at age 9, and is joined by Cloudy’s Knight (2nd 2009 Marathon), John’s Call (3rd 2000 Turf) and Bet on Sunshine (13th 2001 Sprint) as the oldest horses to compete in the championship event.
8) The highest payout in Breeders’ Cup history came in 2003 when a single Pick 6 ticket rewarded $2,687,611.20. Arcangues, who surprised at 133.60-1 odds in the 1993 Classic, recorded the biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history ($269.20 on a $2 win bet). He’s among 39 horses to leave the starting gate at 100-1 or higher and is the only one to finish in the money.
9) The Juvenile Fillies and Distaff have been kindest to favorites, with the lowest-odds horse winning 17-of-31 runnings (54.8%) of the Juvenile Fillies and 14-of-31 editions (45.1%) of the Distaff. Among the older Breeders’ Cup races, favorites are only 7-for-31 (22.5%) in the Sprint and have struggled in newer events such as the Dirt Mile and Juvenile Turf (1-for-8 in both).
10) Personal Ensign (1988 Distaff) and Hollywood Wildcat (1993 Distaff) each produced Breeders’ Cup winners who themselves would go on to produce/sire a Breeders’ Cup winner. Personal Ensign’s daughter My Flag captured the 1995 Juvenile Fillies and foaled the 2002 winner of the same race, Storm Flag Flying. Hollywood Wildcat produced 2000 Mile hero War Chant, who in turn sired 2010 Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge.