The Seabiscuit statue in the paddock at Santa Anita during the 2003 Breeders' Cup.
In 1986, Oak Tree hosted an on-track crowd at Santa Anita Park of 69,155, which
bet a Breeders' Cup on-track record of $15,410,409. In 1993, total wagering on
Breeders' Cup races at Oak Tree was $79,744,742, a North American record at
that time for the event. That also was the year Arcangues posted the biggest
upset in Breeders' Cup history, winning the Classic at odds of 133-1. In 2003, the 20th anniversary edition of the Breeders' Cup, 51,648 were on hand to witness history as trainer Richard Mandella won four Championship races, a record which still stands, while contributing to the record $120,631,437 total handle. Then just last year, 31,527 came out on Friday and 55,331 on Saturday for the first two-day Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita and the first of two consecutive years hosting the event.
On November 6 and 7, Oak Tree hosts the 26th renewal of the Breeders' Cup, and officials hope to increase attendance despite the economic downturn. To that end, general admission will be $10 this year, both days, compared to the $20 charged last year, and reserved seats can be purchased for as little as $40 versus the minimum $200 in 2008. As well, fans will no longer have to buy 2-day packages. "We believe that setting the General Admission price at $10 for 2009 is another step in our efforts to ensure that sports fans in Southern California can experience our World Championships in person at a very reasonable cost," said Peter Land, Breeders' Cup Chief Marketing Officer. "Oak Tree and the Breeders' Cup believe that this year, more than ever, the two days of world championship racing should be affordable and accessible to all," said Sherwood Chillingworth, Executive Vice President of the Oak Tree Racing Association. "Ten dollars for a day at the Breeders' Cup at beautiful Santa Anita is one of the all-time great values in American sports."
Richard Mandella is all smiles after winning his fourth Breeders' Cup race of the day with Pleasantly Perfect in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
Two other innovations being introduced this year include the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge, a handicapping tournament to be held on-site with up to $275,000 in prize money up for grabs plus a berth in the DRF National Handicapping Championship, and the Breeders' Cup Classic Lottery Sweepstakes in cooperation with the California Lottery, where the result of the Classic determines the winner. As well, after 25 years of having every saddlecloth the same color (gold the first year, purple thereafter), this year standard colored saddlecloths will be used, and also new for 2009, up to two also-eligibles will be allowed who can draw into the field if there are any scratches. Races are limited to 14 starters except the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile Turf, and Dirt Mile, which are limited to 12 horse fields.
This will be the second Breeders' Cup to be contested over a synthetic surface, and in addition, the three races added to the program in 2007 have received grades, having been contested as listed events their first 2 years. The Dirt Mile and the Filly and Mare Sprint were awarded Grade 1 status, while the Juvenile Turf is now a Grade 2. The three races introduced last year, the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Turf Sprint, and Marathon, will continue to be ungraded. The Marathon was run at 1 1/2 miles in its inaugural edition, but will be changeed to 1 3/4 miles this year.
During the 25-year tenure of the Breeders' Cup, 37 Oak Tree starters went on to become Breeders' Cup champions the same year. Tiznow and Azeri, Horse of the Year in 2000 and 2002, both honed their skills at Oak Tree prior to Breeders' Cup victories.
California-bred Tiznow became the first dual winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic with his victory in 2001 at Belmont.
The 37 Breeders' Cup winners that raced at Oak Tree prior to winning on
Breeders' Cup day are:
Chief's Crown, 1984 Juvenile winner (first in the Norfolk)
Capote, 1986 Juvenile winner, (first in the Norfolk)
Skywalker, 1986 Classic winner (second in the Oak Tree Mile)
Success Express, 1987 Juvenile winner (fourth in the Norfolk)
Ferdinand, 1987 Classic winner (first in the Goodwood)
Great Communicator, 1988 Turf winner (second in the Oak Tree Turf)
Pleasant Stage, 1991 Juvenile Fillies winner (first in the Oak Leaf)
Cardmania, 1993 Sprint winner (first in the Ancient Title)
Phone Chatter, 1993 Juvenile Fillies winner (first in the Oak Leaf)
Hollywood Wildcat, 1993 Distaff winner (first in the Lady's Secret)
Brocco, 1993 Juvenile winner (first in an allowance race)
Kotashaan, 1993 Turf winner (first in the Oak Tree Turf)
Northern Spur, 1995 Turf winner (first in the Oak Tree Turf)
Jewel Princess, 1996 Distaff winner (second in the Lady's Secret)
Alphabet Soup, 1996 Classic winner (first in the Goodwood)
Elmhurst, 1997 Sprint winner (first in the Ancient Title)
Anees, 1999 Juvenile winner (third in the Norfolk)
Silic, 1999 Mile winner (first in the Oak Tree Mile)
Ladies Classic winner Zenyatta was one of the five 2008 Breeders' Cup winners who had previously raced at Santa Anita.
War Chant, 2000 Mile winner (first in the Oak Tree Mile)
Kona Gold, first in the 2000 Sprint (first in the Ancient Title)
Tiznow, 2000 Classic winner (first in the Goodwood)
Val Royal, 2001 Mile winner (first in the Oak Tree Mile)
Tiznow, 2001 Classic winner (third in the Goodwood)
Azeri, 2002 Distaff winner (first in the Lady's Secret)
Adoration, 2003 Distaff winner (third in the Lady's Secret)
Halfbridled, 2003 Juvenile Fillies winner (first in the Oak Leaf)
Action This Day, 2003 Juvenile winner (maiden winner)
Johar, 2003 Turf winner in a dead heat (second in the Clement Hirsch)
Pleasantly Perfect, 2003 Classic winner (first in the Goodwood)
Sweet Catomine, 2004 Juvenile Fillies winner (first in the Oak Leaf)
Singletary, 2004 Mile winner (third in the Oak Tree Mile)
Thor's Echo, 2006 Sprint winner (second in the Ancient Title)
Stardom Bound, 2008 Juvenile Fillies winner (first in the Oak Leaf)
Zenyatta, 2008 Ladies Classic winner (first in the Lady's Secret)
Desert Code, 2008 Turf Sprint winner (seventh in the Morvich)
Albertus Maximus, 2008 Dirt Mile winner (third in the Goodwood)
Midshipman, 2008 Juvenile winner (second in the Norfolk)
Breeders' Cup quick links:
2015 Breeders' Cup Contender - top contenders for the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championship races to be held at Keeneland on October 30 and 31. .
Breeders' Cup Weather - What will the weather be like at Keeneland on October 30 and 31? Here are lots of places to find out!
Review: Crushing the Cup 2015 - by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett. An invaluable tool for trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping the Breeders' Cup races at Keeneland updated for 2015.
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.
Breeders' Cup Supplemental Entries - The old official policy on supplemental entries plus all the supplemental entries and how they fared, mostly it was a losing proposition. There are no more supplements now, only late nominations making it impossible to track now.