compiled by Breeders’ Cup Staff
Smith Extends Lead in Breeders’ Cup Victories
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, 51, extended his lead for all-time Breeders’ Cup World Championship victories with three wins over the weekend to bring his total to 25.
Smith won Friday’s Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Tamarkuz, Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint on Finest City and capped off the weekend with a victory in the Classic on Arrogate.
It marked the second time Smith has won three races at a single championships, having done it in 2013. On seven other occasions, he has won two races.
Smith finished in the top three on seven of his eight mounts with his runners earning $5,345,345. The weekend haul pushed Smith’s record total to $34,280,605, more than $11 million in front of his closest pursuer in earnings, John Velazquez.
Smith also won his third Bill Shoemaker Award that is presented to the most outstanding jockey of the Championships. He previously had won in 2012 and 2013, also at Santa Anita.
Four Trainers Get First Breeders’ Cup Win
Four winners of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races over the weekend were greeted by trainers winning their first Championship test, one of them with their first starter.
Winning with his first starter was Ian Kruljac (Finest City – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint).
The other first-time winners were Brian Lynch (Oscar Performance – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf), Peter Eurton (Champagne Room – 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) and Phil D’Amato (Obviously – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint).
Bob Baffert, the only trainer to win two races over the weekend in the Championships (Arrogate – Breeders’ Cup Classic) and Drefong (TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint), boosted his victory total to 14 and moved past D. Wayne Lukas as the all-time leading money earner in the Championships with $24,770,000. Lukas, the all-time leader in victories with 20, has seen his runners earn $22,580,520.
Baffert also became the first trainer to win the Classic three consecutive years when Arrogate ran down favorite California Chrome. Bayern won for Baffert in 2014 at Santa Anita and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah triumphed last year at Keeneland. All three Classic winners were 3yos.
Aidan O’Brien notched his 11th Championships victory with Highland Reel (Longines Turf) and Bill Mott got his 10th with Tourist (Mile). Richard Mandella moved into a tie for fifth with Todd Pletcher and Shug McGaughey with nine victories. Beholder’s victory in the Longines Distaff accounted for Mandella’s tally.
Beholder Joins Goldikova as Three-Time Breeders’ Cup Winner
Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder, with her nose victory over Songbird in Friday’s Longines Distaff, became the second horse to win three Breeders’ Cup races, joining Goldikova.
Beholder won the 2012 Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff. Goldikova won the Mile three consecutive years (2008-10).
O’Brien Adds to Turf Dominance
Trainer Aidan O’Brien added to his dominance in the Breeders’ Cup grass races by winning the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf for a sixth time with Highland Reel. His other winners were Found, Magician, High Chaparral (twice) and St Nicholas Abbey. Overall, nine of his 11 Breeders’ Cup winners have come in turf races. He also holds three victories in the Juvenile Turf.
Sir Michael Stoute, who won the Filly & Mare Turf with Queen’s Trust, is right behind O’Brien with seven wins in turf races – three in the Filly & Mare Turf and four in the Turfs.
Obviously Only Favorite to Win Over the Weekend
Only one favorite prevailed in the 13 Breeders’ Cup races over the weekend and that was Obviously in Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
Six other favorites ran second and two others finished third.
The highest price winner this year was Champagne Room ($33.60-1) in the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies.
Obviously Joins Five-Time Starter Club
Obviously became the fifth horse to start in five consecutive World Championships and like three of the previous four, became a Breeders’ Cup winner.
Obviously had started in the Mile from 2012-15 before winning the Turf Sprint Saturday.
Other five-timers are Better Talk Now (2004-08 in the Turf with a victory in 2004), Kona Gold (1998-2002 in the Sprint with a victory in 2000) and California Flag (2008-12 in the Turf Sprint with a victory in 2009). Perfect Drift competed in five consecutive Classics from 2002-06.
Two Breeders’ Cup Track Records Established
Victories by Tourist in the Mile and Queen’s Trust in the Filly & Mare Turf established Breeders’ Cup record in their respective races.
Tourist, who defeated defending champion Tepin by a half-length, covered the mile in 1:31.71 breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan at Santa Anita in 2013.
Queen’s Trust, who nipped Lady Eli by a nose at the wire, cover the 1 ¼ miles in 1:57.75, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record for the distance of 1:58.73 established by Dank at Santa Anita.
No Repeat Winners from 2015 Championships
Four horses were attempting to defend their titles in the same race in which they prevailed in 2015 at Keeneland and none was successful.
Tepin (Mile) and Wavell Avenue (Filly & Mare Sprint) finished second, Found (Turf) finished third and Mongolian Saturday ran ninth in the Turf Sprint.
California-, New York-based Runners Dominate Breeders’ Cup Winners
The 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park proved to be a lucrative proposition for horses based in Southern California and New York as those two centers combined to win 10 of the 13 Championship races.
The California-based contingent was led Juddmonte Farms’ Classic winner Arrogate and Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder, winner of the Longines Distaff.
Other Southern California-based winners were Champagne Room (14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies), Drefong (TwinSpires Sprint), Obviously (Turf Sprint) and Finest City (Filly & Mare Sprint).
New York-based stables produced four winners, including the first three of the Championships on Friday with Oscar Performance (Juvenile Turf), Tamarkuz (Las Vegas Dirt Mile) and New Money Honey (Juvenile Fillies Turf). Tourist took the Mile on Saturday.
Classic Empire represented the Midwest as the Churchill Downs-based runner took the Sentient Jet Juvenile.
The European contingent grabbed two victories on Saturday with a triumph by Highland Reel in the Turf and Queen’s Trust in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Breeders’ Cup World Championships Leading Jockeys (by earnings)
Mike Smith* $34,280,605
John Velazquez $23,245,275
Pat Day $23,033,360
Jerry Bailey 22,006,440
Frankie Dettori* $21,161,862
Gary Stevens* $20,299,255
*Denotes Active Jockey
Breeders’ Cup World Championships Leading Jockeys (by wins)
Mike Smith* 25
Jerry Bailey 15
Garrett Gomez 13
John Velazquez* 13
Pat Day 12
Frankie Dettori* 12
Gary Stevens 11
Corey Nakatani* 10
*Denotes Active Jockey
Breeders’ Cup World Championships Leading Trainers (by earnings)
Bob Baffert* $24,770,000
D. Wayne Lukas* $22,580,520
Aidan O’Brien* $20,115,590
Bill Mott* $17,286,900
Todd Pletcher* $17,057,340
Bobby Frankel $13,242,050
*Denotes Active Trainer
Breeders’ Cup World Championships Leading Trainers (by win)
D. Wayne Lukas* 20
Bob Baffert* 14
Aidan O’Brien* 11
Shug McGaughey* 9
Bill Mott* 9
Todd Pletcher* 9
Richard Mandella* 9
Chad Brown* 8
Sir Michael Stoute* 7
Neil Drysdale* 6
Bobby Frankel 6
*Denotes Active Trainer
On-track Star Power Brings Out Record Crowds
Saturday’s attendance at Santa Anita was the highest for any Breeders’ Cup day since 72,730 were on hand at Churchill Downs in 2010 to see legendary race mare Zenyatta in the final race of her career. The two-day attendance for 2016 was 118,484, the highest in Breeders’ Cup history.
Media From 18 Countries Covered the Breeders’ Cup World Championships
Media representative from 18 nations were credentialed for this year’s Breeders’ Cup. They were: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.
The 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held Friday-Saturday, Nov. 3 & 4, 2017
at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.