Scully sets scene for 2020 Breeders’ Cup

October 29th, 2020

Keeneland will host the 37th edition of Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 6-7. The Lexington, Kentucky track also hosted the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, which featured Triple Crown hero American Pharoah winning the $6 million Classic.

The two-day, 14-race event attracted 201 pre-entries, including 39 horses from overseas. International raiders always merit serious attention in turf races. Internationally-based horses have won 66 Breeders’ Cup races, including 55-of-132 (42%) on turf.

Several stats stuck out to handicapper James Scully heading into the Breeders' Cup

Multiple winners

Four horses – Monomoy Girl, Rushing Fall, Sistercharlie, and Uni – are pursuing their second Breeders’ Cup race victory in 2020.

Uni will make a title defense in the Mile. Monomoy Girl, who missed the entire 2019 season after winning the 2018 Distaff, is back for the premier filly and mare dirt race. 2017 Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Rushing Fall is a top contender in the Filly & Mare Turf, and stablemate Sistercharlie will make a third attempt at the Filly & Mare Turf, winning in 2018 and finishing third last year.

A total of 21 horses have won multiple Breeders’ Cup races.

Two of the greatest Breeders’ Cup champions, Beholder and Goldikova, each won three Breeders’ Cup races. Beholder captured the 2012 Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff, and added the 2016 Distaff to her presumptive Hall of Fame record.  Golidkova swept the Mile from 2008-10.

RELATED: Great at Any Age: Magical Mares in the Breeders’ Cup by author Jennifer Kelly


From 346 Breeders’ Cup races, favorites have won at 31% clip (107-for-346). Odds-on favorites (less than even-money) are 28-for-65 (43% win).

In 2015, favorites won four-of-13 Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland. The public’s betting choice has connected at 33% rate over the last two Breeders’ Cups at Churchill Downs and Santa Anita (8-for-28).

Meadow Star, who took the 1990 Juvenile Fillies at .20-1 odds, is the shortest-priced Breeders’ Cup winner. American Pharoah (.70-1 in Classic) and Liam’s Map (.50-1 in Dirt Mile) set new marks in their respective races at Keeneland in 2015.

Post positions

Vance Hanson takes a closer look at four trends from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, and the success of outside post positions immediately caught my eye.

Horses breaking from posts 10 and outward won four Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland.

When you add in Found and Stephanie’s Kitten, who captured their respective races from post 9, horses breaking from outside post positions won 6-of-13 Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland.

Post 14 was no problem for Hit a Bomb and Mongolian Saturday in the Juvenile Turf and Turf Sprint, respectively.

On Keeneland’s 1 1/8-mile main track, the Dirt Mile, Juvenile, and Juvenile Fillies feature a short run into the first turn and conclude at the first of two finish lines, resulting in an abbreviated stretch distance for those races. As a result, some handicappers attempted to fade horses breaking from outside posts in 2015.

Nyquist (post 12) and Songbird (post 10) posted dominant wins in the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies as outside posts proved no hindrance.