The 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Winner: Sunday Silence
The 1989 Breeders’ Cup World Championships took place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on November 4th. It was the sixth 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 duel between Easy Goer and Sunday Silence in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
A quick backstory on the history of Easy Goer and Sunday Silence’s rivalry heading into the Classic: both horses finished either first or second in each of the Triple Crown races in 1989, with Sunday Silence winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but Easy Goer emerging victorious in the Belmont Stakes – dashing the Triple Crown hopes of Sunday Silence.
With so much history between the two of them heading into the Breeders’ Cup Classic, spectators and industry insiders were anticipating a heated battled. They would not be disappointed. Easy Goer would go into the race as the 1-2 betting favorite, but it was Sunday Silence who would hold off a late charge to win the Classic and improve his record to 3-1 over Easy Goer.
Slew City Slew set the early pace with fractions of :22 2/5, :46 1/5, and 1:10 2/5. Sunday Silence would take the lead after a mile in a time of 1:35. Easy Goer would catch up and settle into second, but that was as close to Sunday Silence as he would get, losing by a neck. Sunday Silence would cross the finish line in first in a winning time of 2:00 1/5. He paid $6 to win as the second-choice favorite. Blushing John finished third.
Co-owner Charlie Whittingham called Sunday Silence a “great horse” post-race, while jockey Chris McCarron, riding Sunday Silence for the first time, said they “won comfortably.” Sunday Silence earned $1.35 million for the win and became the front runner for Horse of the Year honors.