Welcome to the world of the Breeders Cup, one of the most prestigious events in horse racing.
Unlike most other races, The Breeders Cup is an annual series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races, as opposed to one individual race.
It was essentially created back in 1984 as a year-end championship to celebrate Thoroughbred racing.
Attracting the most prestigious and best race horses from across the globe, it stands as a pinnacle of achievement in the sport.
As we look forward to the Breeders Cup 2024, let’s take a look at which horses could take the ultimate crown.
A Beginners Guide To The Breeders Cup
If you are new to the Breeders Cup, there are a few things you need to know.
Firstly, it’s a two-day event comprising of 14 Grade I Thoroughbred horse races all of which will have their own odds on the bestgamblingsites no matter where you are in the world.
Those 14 races cover a range of distances and surfaces, including dirt and turf. It also caters to different age groups and gender divisions, thereby covering as wide a variety of horse racing as possible.
Every race is classified as Grade I, which is the highest ranking in the thoroughbred racing industry, indicating the highest quality of competition.
While it was originally intended to celebrate American thoroughbred racing, it now draws elite horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the globe.
That is largely due to the amount of prize money on offer, which is substantial. Six of the races are worth one million dollars, another six are worth $2 million with the last two races worth $4 million and $6 million (Breeders’ Cup Classic).
Unlike fixed-location events, the Breeders’ Cup changes venues each year. For the events in both 2024 and 2025, it will be held at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
The Breeders Cup will be held from November 1st to 2nd in 2024.
But who will reign victorious? Who can claim ultimate glory? Let’s find out…
Breeders Cup Classic
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to look at the Breeders Cup Classic, the biggest of the 14 races on the schedule.
Worth a staggering $6 million, this is where the creme de la creme of thoroughbred racers takes center stage.
But getting a spot in the race is no easy task. In fact, it’s quite a tricky and stringent process.
Determining the runners involves a combination of qualification routes and criteria to ensure only the highest caliber of horses compete.
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, where essentially, you win and you’re in.
This is a series of races held globally where the winners automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Winning one of these designated races not only secures a place in the Classic but often includes the bonus of having entry fees paid and sometimes even a travel stipend for international competitors.
Points and Rankings Horses
Horses also earn points throughout the racing season based on their performances in major races.
These points can play a role in determining eligibility for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, especially in cases where there are more potential entrants than available spots.
A panel of horse racing experts is employed to select additional horses to fill the field.
This panel considers various factors, including the horse’s performance in key races throughout the year, overall career record, and suitability to the race conditions (like distance and surface).
Field Size Limitations
The Breeders’ Cup Classic typically has a limit on the number of starters (usually 14).
If more than 14 horses are entered, preference is given based on the “Win and You’re In” status, points accumulated, and panel selections.
Owners can nominate their horses for the Breeders’ Cup Classic by paying a nomination fee. However, merely entering does not guarantee a spot in the race.
These horses must still meet the performance and selection criteria set by the Breeders’ Cup.
Finally, there is a provision for late entries, where owners can enter a horse close to the race date by paying a substantial supplementary fee.
These late entries are also subject to approval based on the horse’s qualifications.
Trends For Identifying Favourites
Predicting the winner of a high-stakes, competitive race like the Breeders’ Cup Classic is challenging, but certain trends and factors can often provide valuable insights.
There are definitely some key factors to make note of, which should help you whittle down the selections once they have been confirmed.
1. Horses that have excelled in other Grade I races, especially those closely preceding the Breeders’ Cup Classic, often have a higher chance of winning.
Success in races such as the Travers Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, or the Santa Anita Derby can be indicative of a horse’s form and readiness for the challenges of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
2. Pay attention to horses that have previously raced and performed well at the track where the Breeders’ Cup is being held. Familiarity with the track can give a horse an edge.
Additionally, horses that have shown adaptability to different tracks and conditions might have a better chance in the varying environments of the rotating Breeders’ Cup venues.
3. A horse in top physical condition and showing strong recent form is often a good bet. Look for horses that have won or finished strongly in their most recent races.
Consistency in the months leading up to the Breeders’ Cup is a key factor.
4. The experience and skill of the jockey, combined with the expertise of the trainer, can significantly influence a horse’s performance.
Successful jockey-trainer combinations with a history of high-stakes race wins, particularly in the Breeders’ Cup, are worth noting.
5. Historically, horses aged three to five years have been more successful in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
While younger horses (three-year-olds) often have speed and agility, slightly older horses (four to five-year-olds) bring a blend of speed, strength, and experience.
Breeders Cup 2024 Predictions
Ultimately, we’re still only in January 2024, and understandably, there is no way to predict which particular horses will even make the lineup for the November race.
That said, the Classic is a culmination of the season’s racing, so if you want to know who is in with a shot, then follow the season’s racing.
Due to the extremely high quality of horses in the event, the race is notoriously hard to predict.
However, the Classic is now regarded as the fourth leg of horse racing’s Grand Slam. The other three races that make up the Triple Crown are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.
So pay attention to the winners of those three particular races and it should make predicting the Breeders Cup Classic a little easier.