The 1999 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Winner: Cat Thief
The 1999 Breeders’ Cup World Championships took place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on November 6th. It was the 16th edition of the premier North American horse racing event and featured a number of exciting races and finishes. The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) that year turned out to be a race no one saw coming.
In what turned out to be a shocking turn of events, it was 19-1 Cat Thief who would cross the finish line in first, followed by the 25-1 Budroyale, and 70-1 Golden Missile rounding out the top-three. Chester House, who went off with odds of 63-1, came in fourth.
Going into the race, Chester Thief had won only three of his 18 previous career starts, including two graded stakes races–1998 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G2) and 1999 Swaps Stakes (G1). His previous Breeders’ Cup experience was a third-place result in the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and his only Triple Crown experience came in the 1999 Kentucky Derby (third place) and the 1999 Preakness Stakes (seventh-place). Needless to say, not many handicappers were expecting Cat Thief to win the Classic, but his connections were no joke, making him an intriguing sleeper.
Cat Thief’s trainer D. Wayne Lukas had previously won 14 Breeder’s Cup races heading into the Classic, including the Juvenile Fillies with Cash Run earlier in the day. His jockey, Pat Day, had 10 Breeders’ Cup titles to his name, including three Classic wins, one of which came the year before with Awesome Again.
Luckily for Cat Thief he had Day’s experience to lean on. Old Trieste took the early lead, but Day restrained Cat Thief after dueling with the leader and would take over first place when Old Trieste stumbled. Day and Cat Thief had to battle Budroyale and Golden Missile on the outside, but Cat Thief was able to overcome the challenge and win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Cat Thief paid $41.20, $17.00, and $9.60 across the board for the win. Budroyale returned $21.20 to place and $12.80 to show, while Golden Missile paid $30.20 for his third-place showing. A $2 6-9-4 Trifecta paid $39,031.20 and a $1 Superfecta was worth a whopping $692,907.