The 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Prior to the 1994 Breeders’ Cup, Concern had finished in the money in 13 straight races. He won the Arkansas Derby, skipped the Kentucky Derby, and then ran 3rd in the Preakness and Haskell before a runner-up finish in the Travers, coming up a neck short to Holy Bull. But in the $3 million Classic at Churchill Downs, Concern would face the best of his generation in Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin, and Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Tabasco Cat.
The 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic would produce a deep closer in victory. Known for his exciting come-from-behind style, Concern went from last to first in the Classic, making up ground on the leaders through blistering early fractions. Jockey Jerry Bailey took Concern six wide in the stretch after picking off horses one by one and then galloping up ground in a three-horse stretch duel with Tabasco Cat and co-second choice Dramatic Gold. He caught favored Tabasco Cat in the final yards to win by a neck at 7-1 odds, avenging his loss to the same rival in that year’s Preakness Stakes. As Concern crossed the wire in front, track announcer declared, “It’s Concern from out of the clouds!”
Concern covered the 1 ¼ mile route in 2:02.41 and returned $17.00 to win. The $2 exacta with Tabasco Cat paid $117.40, and a $2 trifecta returned $459.20.
The Classic victory was only the 4th win in 21 career outings for the 3-year-old colt, who had seven runner-up finishes. But his trainer Richard Small continued his confidence in Concern.
“This horse has incredible acceleration. Some horses pick it up gradually. This horse just explodes.”
He showed his best closing kick on Breeders’ Cup day, winning the Classic against what some labeled as the best 3-year-old class since Secretariat and others in a fast crowd came around in 1973.
Concern would prove to be best in the Classic, and he then went on to become the only Breeders’ Cup victor to race and stand stud in Oklahoma.