The 1991 Breeders' Cup Classic
The 1991 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Winner: Black Tie Affair
The 1991 Breeders’ Cup was held at Churchill Downs, and there were some major upsets in the Breeders’ Cup races leading up to the $3 million Classic. A trio of $2 win bets produced payouts of $54.60, $55.40 and $86.20. But the Classic was expected to produce a winner from the quartet of stars in the sport: the favorite Festin, Twilight Agenda, 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold and the defending Classic champion and Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. However, another upset was looming as a gray Irish-bred colt based in Chicago had won six consecutive graded stakes in 1991 was looking to go wire-to-wire in his signature ‘speedball’ style out front.
Black Tie Affair went off at 4-1 odds and broke alertly to the lead and led the field through a slower half mile of 48 2/5 seconds. He was rated while saving ground by jockey Jerry Bailey, and moved with momentum around the far turn going three quarters in 1:12 3/5. Trailing by more than 15 lengths were Strike the Gold, Festin and Unbridled. Black Tie Affair had a clear advantage in the stretch and was roused to turn back Twilight Agenda and Gary Stevens in a two-horse duel down the long stretch to the finish. Unbridled was outrun to the far turn and moved up between horses entering the stretch but failed to seriously menace finishing 3rd, just in front of last year’s Juvenile champion Fly So Free and Strike the Gold.
Black Tie Affair finished the 1 ¼ mile Classic in a final time of 2:02.95 with a front-running masterpiece by Jerry Bailey. He paid $10 to win and was a length and a quarter clear of Twilight Agenda.
The victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was Black Tie Affair’s final race, and he secured Horse of the Year honors with the Breeders’ Cup win.