What is the Breeders' Cup?
The Breeders' Cup World Championships is a yearly set of prestigious horse races for Grade I Thoroughbreds. It is overseen by Breeders' Cup Limited, a company established in 1982. Initially, it was a one-day event from 1984 to 2006, but since 2007, it has expanded to span two days. All editions of the Breeders' Cup have taken place in the United States, with the exception of the 1996 races, which were held at Canada's Woodbine Racetrack.
In 2016, Santa Anita Park achieved a record-breaking attendance of 118,484 over a span of two days. Conversely, the lowest two-day attendance was observed in 2007 at Monmouth Park, with a total of 69,584 attendees. Generally, the attendance at Santa Anita Park closely follows that of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Kentucky Oaks, occasionally even rivaling the attendance figures of the Belmont Stakes in certain years.
Every Breeders' Cup race awards four Breeders' Cup trophies to the winning connections, along with a floral garland placed over the withers of the victorious horse. It is common for numerous Breeders' Cup winners to subsequently receive the prestigious Eclipse Award in their respective divisions.
Each of the Breeders' Cup Championships races allows a maximum of 14 starters, although certain races like the Turf Sprint or Dirt Mile may have a limit of 12 starters due to track dimensions. In the event that the number of entries exceeds the maximum allowed, Breeders' Cup Limited has implemented a field selection system. The winners of the "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge races automatically earn qualification. Other entries are evaluated based on two factors: (1) a point system that considers their performance in graded stakes races throughout the year, and (2) the judgment of a panel of racing experts. Roughly two weeks prior to the Breeders' Cup, pre-entries are submitted, and the rankings are used to determine eligibility for oversubscribed races. If there are any remaining spots available after pre-entry, they are filled by horses based on the panel's preference.