Breeders Cup 2020

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Now a two-day showcase of some of the absolute best racehorses from around the world, the Breeders’ Cup was inaugurated in 1984 to provide a definitive year-end championship event for North American thoroughbreds. The first Breeders’ Cup consisted of seven races – the Classic, the Distaff, the Turf, the Mile, the Sprint, the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies – that sought to crown a champion in their respective divisions. The program has since doubled to 14 races and in 2007 expanded to its current two-day format, but it remains the conclusive finale to the racing year its creators envisioned, as well as one of the richest events in the sport.

Though it may trail the Kentucky Derby in popularity, there’s no denying the Breeders’ Cup is unparalleled in terms of quality. It has four races ranked among the top Grade 1’s in the world, according to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, and has arguably the highest concentration of equine talent of any singular event in the world. The Classic alone has produced several indelible moments in recent years, most notably Zenyatta’s victory in 2009 and tragic defeat a year later to Blame, American Pharoah becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown and the Classic in the same year in 2015, and Tiznow’s patriotic triumph in 2001, when, in the shadow of New York City just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, he became the first horse to win the race in back-to-back years.

While the Breeders’ Cup was initially devised to be a traveling show, moving from track to track each year to give venues all across the country a chance to host racing’s premier event, it has been held in either California or Kentucky for the past 12 years, primarily at Santa Anita Park and Churchill Downs. In 2020, the Cup will return to Keeneland, which hosted the event in 2015. Regardless of location, it is the unquestioned pinnacle of American racing.

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