Breeders’ Cup: 2011 races lived up to their billing

by | 11.09.2011 | 2:09pm
Drosselmeyer is just one of the stallions that has a NG season up for bidding in the 'Horsemen Helping Horsemen' charity auction

Drosselmeyer's stunning victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, international superstar Goldikova's gallant bid to win un unprecedented fourth consecutive TVG Breeders' Cup Mile and St Nicholas Abbey's triumph in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf for the father-son, trainer-jockey team of Aidan and Joseph O'Brien led two days of world-class championship racing at Churchill Downs in the 28th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

With a record 173 horses starting, including 27 from outside North America, the 15 Breeders' Cup races over two days lived up to their billing as Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious global event with an international cross section of winners bred or raced in Ireland and Canada, and in the U.S., including runners bred in Kentucky, Florida and California.

“The Breeders' Cup proves year-in and year-out what a compelling and entertaining experience our sport can be at its highest levels,” said Breeders' Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel. “The Breeders' Cup was formed to showcase performances like those we saw Friday and Saturday. The 28th Breeders' Cup was a true world championship event that would not be possible without the support of racing fans across the world, our loyal nominators, our track and simulcast partners and our gracious hosts from Churchill Downs.

“In addition to what transpired on the track, it is rewarding for everyone from the Breeders' Cup to see positive results of recent Thoroughbred sales both before and after our event and other indicators that bode well for the long-term health of Thoroughbred racing.”

This was the second-most attended Breeders' Cup in the event's history with 105,820 at Churchill Downs on Friday and Saturday, eclipsed only by the 114,353 who witnessed previously unbeaten mare Zenyatta's quest for perfection in 2010. Similarly, the two-day handle for the event was also the second highest, with $155,525,947 bet over the two-days.

The 2011 Breeders' Cup, consisting of 15 races and purses totaling more than $26 million over two-days, was held at Churchill Downs for a record eighth time on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5. The Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, an open race for 2-year-olds run at six furlongs, was added to the Breeders' Cup program this year, and was the first race on Championship Friday.

The $155,525,947 two-day common pool handle on the Breeders' Cup World Championships was down 4.9% from 2010 record figure of $163.6 million but was up 2% from 2009 figure of $153.3 million. In perhaps the best example of Zenyatta's effect on the 2010 event, total wagering on the Breeders' Cup Classic was $18,267,484, higher than the 2009 total but considerably off from the $25,251,382 wagered last year. That difference accounts for the handle disparity between the two years.

Exchange wagering in 2011 was $25.1 million, up 9% from last year's $23 million. Several international separate pool sites have reported 2011 handle including Italy at $621,942, up from $412,974 in 2010; Australia at $514,529, up from $361,151 last year and Mexico at $1,354,015 up 14% from 2010. Sites in France and Turkey, which were each million-dollar sites in 2010, have not yet reported their separate pool totals.

Payouts in the Breeders' Cup races were some of the highest in history, including a 10-cent superfecta worth $4,507 in the Juvenile Turf; a fifty-cent Pick 5 on Saturday worth $71,510; a $131 winner in the Mile and a $2 exacta in the Mile paid $1,979

The 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Friday November 2 and Saturday, November 3.

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