The 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic
The 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic
The 1987 Breeders’ Cup World Championships took place at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California on November 21st. It was the fourth edition of the premier North American horse racing event and featured a number of exciting races and finishes. One of the highlights of the card was a photo finish between two Kentucky Derby (G1) winners in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
1987 Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba and 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand dueled to the wire in the Classic that saw Ferdinand snatch the lead with only 1/16th of a mile remaining and hold on to it to win by a nose. He was clocked in at an official winning time of 2:01 2/5 under jockey Bill Shoemaker. He paid $4 for the win as the pre-race favorite. Shoemaker, who had won over 8,700 career races heading into the Breeders’ Cup, earned his first ever Breeders’ Cup win to go along with 13 previous losses.
Not only was Ferdinand the clear betting favorite, but he was also the favorite of the over 57,000 in attendance home crowd. Both Ferdinand’s jockey Shoemaker and his trainer Charlie Whittingham are Californian favorites.
The early pace of the race was actually set by Candi’s Gold and Judge Angeluuci, with fractions of :23, :46 2/5, 1:10 1/5, and 1:35 2/5. Ferdinand would separate himself from the pack, but Alysheba, who was six lengths behind at one point, made a valiant comeback. But, in the end, it was Ferdinand who held on for the win. Judge Angelucci finished third.
“It was so close at the wire I didn't know who won, and neither did Chris,” said Shoemaker. The Chris he was referring to was Chris McCarron, Alysheba's jockey
Ferdinand, who Whittingham referred to as “the best horse in the country” following the race improved his record to 8-6-5 in 23 starts.