Santa Anita Hosting 2023 Breeders Cup
The Breeders Cup is returning to Santa Anita Park for a record 11th time in 2023. The Breeders Cup, one of thoroughbred’s most prestigious international events, will be celebrating the World Championships’ 40th anniversary next year when it takes place on November 3-4.
The World Championships essentially culminates the end of the North American season, with many of the winners earning Eclipse Awards, though there are a few major stakes races through the end of the year.
“Santa Anita Park is an integral part of Breeders’ Cup history and is the perfect venue for our landmark 40th running,” said Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup President, and CEO.
“Santa Anita’s outstanding reputation and scenic venue provide us with the ideal setting to continue to grow our audience by combining the best that racing, hospitality, and entertainment have to offer.”
There was plenty of excitement amongst trainers and jockeys and the track itself following Breeders Cup Limited’s announcement of Santa Anita being chosen to host the 2023 event. The track’s history, weather, and capacity is the main draw to Santa Anita. The 2023 Breeders Cup is projected to have an economic impact of around $100 million on Southern California’s economy, and handicappers are expected to wager at least $100 million.
The Breeders Cup consists of 14 Grade I races over two days (Friday and Saturday), with the purse totaling over $31 million, as each race is worth at least $1 million. The 14 races are a mixture of open (both sexes), fillies only, fillies and mares, and juvenile (2-year-olds) events. The distances range from five furlongs to one-half miles, with half of the races being run on dirt and half on turf.
While 2023 will mark the 11th time Santa Anita will host the Breeders Cup, it is the first time since 2019 it has been in Arcadia. Keeneland served as host of the event in 2020 and this year (Nov. 4-5), and it was at Del Mar for just the second time last year. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders Cup the second most times (9), although 2018 was the last time it was in Louisville.
History of Breeders Cup At Santa Anita
Santa Anita, which first hosted the World Championships in 1986, has been very good for the Breeders Cup. The 2023 Breeders Cup will be the sixth time Santa Anita has hosted the event since 2010, with three occassions occurring between 2012-2014, becoming the only track to host three straight World Championships. Santa Anita also holds Breeders Cup records for attendance (118,484) in 2016 and money most wagered ($175 million) in 2019.
Santa Anita Breeders Cup Highlights
Some highlight lights of the Breeders Cup at San Anita starts in 1993 when Arcangues won the Breeders Cup Classic at historical odds of 133-to-1. Then in 2009, Zenyatta closed from way back to become the only female to win the Classic. 2016 saw one of the most exciting finishes in Breeders Cup history when Beholder outdueled Songbird down the stretch to win the Distaff by a nose.
Breeders Cup Races
The $1 million five-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint kicks off the Breeders Cup. The Juvenile Turf Sprint has only been in existence since 2018. The team of Irad Ortiz Jr. and trainer Wesley Ward has won the last three events.
The $2 million Juvenile Fillies one and one-sixteenth mile jaunt is generally the second event on the first day. Joel Rosario has won three of the last four races to tie Mike Smith for the most wins by a jockey with three in the event. Wayne D. Lukas sits atop of trainer list with six victories.
The $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf is the third event on day one, followed by the $2 million Juvenile, while the $1 million Juvenile Turf closes out the evening. Then on Saturday, the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint, along with the $1 million Turf Sprint, gets the day started. Five $2 million races will follow – Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Turf, Sprint, Mile, Distaff – before the $4 million Turf and $6 million Classic closes out the Breeders Cup.
Mike Smith has the most wins for jockeys in Breeders Cup history with 26. John Velazquez is second on the list with 18 victories, while Irad Ortiz Jr. has 14 and Rosario has 13. Meanwhile, Lucas tops the trainers for most Breeders Cup trophies with 20, followed by Bob Baffert (17) and Chad Brown (15).
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