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Breeders' Cup
World Championships Wrap Up

Date: 11/08/2020

The Breeders' Cup statue behind the grandstand at Keeneland on Friday of the Breeders' Cup.
The 37th Breeders' Cup World Championships held on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, 2020, at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky are now in the record books. Due to coronavirus restrictions, paying fans were not in attendance so no attendance figures were taken, as only essential horsemen, racing officials, owners, and a very limited number of credentialed media were allowed on the grounds. Total handle for the two-day event was $160,472,894, the sixth-highest total since the Breeders' Cup expanded to a two-day event in 2007 but an 8% decrease from the record handle of $174,000,574 set at Santa Anita last year. 

Breeders' Cup CEO Drew Fleming said, "We had an extraordinary two days of racing showcasing the best Thoroughbreds from around the world and we want to thank our hosts here at Keeneland, who did an amazing job, and the city of Lexington. Given the unique circumstances for this year's event with attendance limited here and at other tracks and simulcast facilities around the country, we are very pleased with the overall handle for the two days." 

This year was the second time the Breeders' Cup has been held at Keeneland, after the first time in 2015. The Breeders' Cup will return to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California in 2021, which last hosted in 2017, and then come back to Keeneland in 2022, hopefully with fans back in attendance.

Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates after winning the Sprint. He had a total of 2 wins and 2 seconds.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. won the Bill Shoemaker Award for the third year in a row, given to the most outstanding rider at the Championships. The Shoemaker Award goes to the jockey who won the most races in the 14 World Championship races this weekend with the tiebreaker being a 10-3-1 point system for second- through fourth-place finishes.  Ortiz's victories came on Golden Pal (Juvenile Turf Sprint) and Whitmore (Sprint). He finished second on Improbable in the Classic and third on Sharp Samurai in the Dirt Mile. 

Joel Rosario, Florent Geroux, John Velazquez and Pierre-Charles Boudot also rode two winners. Rosario won on Vequist (Juvenile Fillies) and Knicks Go (Dirt Mile),  Geroux's two victories came on Aunt Pearl (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Monomoy Girl (Distaff), while Boudot scored aboard Audarya (Filly & Mare Turf) and Order of Australia (Mile). 

Brad Cox became the second trainer in the 37-year history of the Breeders' Cup World Championships to train four winners during a single Championships, matching the feat of Richard Mandella in 2003 at Santa Anita.  Cox won the final two races on Future Stars Friday with Aunt Pearl in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Juvenile with Essential Quality.  On Saturday, he sent out Knicks Go, who shattered the track record in the Dirt Mile and Monomoy Girl to her second victory in the Distaff. It is worth noting that there were only 8 Championship races (in one day) prior to 2007, in contrast with the current 14-race, 2-day event.

Pierre-Charles Boudot celebrates his first ever Breeders' Cup win aboard Audarya (Filly & Mare Turf)
Jockey Christophe Soumillon had been named to ride 3 horses on Saturday, however he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced into quarantine. Unfortunately he would watch his scheduled mounts go on to victory: Tarnama (Turf) with Colin Keane aboard, Order of Australia (Mile) with Pierre-Charles Boudot, and Audarya (Filly and Mare Turf) also with Boudot. Curiously, Mile winner Order of Australia drew in off the also-eligibles when Boudot's original ride One Master was scratched. Glass Slippers finally broke the losing streak of European trainees in the Turf Sprint, with Tom Eaves aboard for trainer Kevin Ryan, the first Breeders' Cup wins for both men.

There were several jockeys and trainers who had their first wins in the Breeders' Cup this year: Luis Saez finally won a Breeders' Cup race with Essential Quality in the Juvenile in his seventh World Championships, while Pierre-Charles Boudot broke his BC maiden with Audarya (Filly & Mare Turf) then soon followed that up with Order of Austrlia (Mile). Dermot Weld, whose first Breeders' Cup starters were at Aqueduct in 1985, finally found the winner's circle with his 17th starter, Tarnama (Turf).

Two defending champions were back and one was successful. Monomoy Girl repeated as Distaff champion, while last year's Mile winner Uni checked in 5th this year. Seven-year-old Whitmore, who lost the Sprint 3 years in a row (8th in 2017, 2nd in 2018, 3rd in 2019) finally came out on top this year, also giving his trainer Ron Moquett his first Breeders' Cup win.

Gamine set the first track record of the day in the Filly and Mare Sprint.

Five of the 14 Breeders' Cup races were won by the betting favorite, with 3 more finishing second. The winning favorites were Golden Pal (Juvenile Turf Sprint), Aunt Pearl (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Gamine (Filly & Mare Sprint), Knicks Go (Dirt Mile) and Monomoy Girl (Distaff). 

Authentic set a new track record in the Classic, toppling 2015 Classic and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's previous mark. Audarya set a new course record in the Filly and Mare Turf. Knicks Go set a new record in the Dirt Mile, however 1 mile is not a frequently run distance over the Keeneland dirt. Gamine beat the previous track record by over a full second in the Filly and Mare Sprint. There were almost 5 new records, as Monomoy Girl just missed by 9/100 of a second in the Distaff.

Breeders' Cup Two-Day Attendance and Handle history

The back of the grandstand at Keeneland
2020 Keeneland Race Course 0 $160,472,894 2019 Santa Anita Park 109,054 $174,000,574 2018 Churchill Downs 112,667 $157,445,842 2017 Del Mar 70,420 $166,077,486 2016 Santa Anita Park 118,484 $156,861,811 2015 Keeneland Race Course 94,652 $149,869,035 2014 Santa Anita Park 98,319 $151,158,813 2013 Santa Anita Park 94,628 $160,704,877 2012 Santa Anita Park 89,742 $144,272,332 2011 Churchill Downs 105,820 $161,512,867 2010 Churchill Downs 114,353 $173,857,697 2009 Santa Anita Park 96,496 $153,271,176 2008 Santa Anita Park 86,588 $155,740,328 2007 Monmouth Park 69,584 $129,197,262

Breeders' Cup World Championships Leading Jockeys

(by wins)                       (by earnings)
Jockey               Wins        Jockey                  Earnings
Mike Smith            26         Mike Smith           $36,634,605
John Velazquez        18         John Velazquez       $27,730,275
Jerry Bailey          15         Frankie Dettori      $25,751,862
Frankie Dettori       14         Pat Day              $23,033,360
Garrett Gomez         13         Joel Rosario         $22,182,535
Pat Day               12         Jerry Bailey         $22,006,440

Breeders' Cup World Championships Leading Trainers

(by wins)                       (by earnings)
Trainer              Wins        Trainer                 Earnings
D. Wayne Lukas        20         Bob Baffert          $34,985,000
Bob Baffert           17         Aidan O'Brien        $26,645,590
Chad Brown            15         D. Wayne Lukas       $22,672,520
Aidan O'Brien         13         Todd Pletcher        $21,508,030
Todd Pletcher         11         Chad Brown           $20,000,690
Bill Mott             10         Bill Mott            $19,262,180

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