The 1997 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Winner: Skip Away
The 1997 Breeders’ Cup World Championships took place at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California on November 8th. It was the 14th 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 the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Breeders’ Cup Classic had lost some of its star power heading into the race as both Horse of the Year candidates Formal Gold and Gentlemen were scratched from the race with injuries.
“I feel bad about this because Formal Gold had shown his talent all year long, and this was a chance for him to show it to the world,” said trainer William Perry.
Even with the diminished star power, there was one intriguing horse and storyline: Skip Away. Skip Away was tabbed as the 9-5 pre-race favorite after owner Carolyn Hine put up a $480,000 supplemental fee to enter the race. He wound return the investment after winning the race and earned $2,288,000 for winning the Classic.
“I put my money where my mouth was,” said trainer Sonny Hine. “How many guys would have put up $480,000? I did it because I thought he was that good.”
Skip Away jolted to the lead from his rail position and foreshadowed what was to come. Honor Glide took the lead down the backstretch, but Skip Away regained the lead down the stretch and would cross the finish line in first six lengths ahead in a record winning time of 1:59.16, besting the 1:59.58 record Cigar previously set in 1995.
“I couldn’t keep Skip Away from the lead,” said jockey Mike Smith. “I don’t know if there was a horse in the world who could beat him today.” Deputy Commander finished second and Whiskey Wisdom came in third. Skip Away paid $5.60 for the win. The trifecta paid out $220.90.