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DVD Review

cover Breeders' Cup World Championships: The First 25 Years
Collector's edition DVD, Horsephotos, October 2008
total running time approximately 45 minutes

The Breeders' Cup, created by thoroughbred breeder John R. Gaines, celebrated its 25th anniversary running this October at Santa Anita Park. From the inaugural running at Hollywood Park in 1984 to last year's rain-soaked affair at Monmouth Park, racing history was made in those first 24 editions. Still photography captured those special moments, and the Horsephotos team along with Breeders' Cup put together some of their best images to come up with this video montage.

The main video runs continuously for about 32 minutes, with each running starting off with some photos of the host track. Narrator John Campbell lists off each race winner as photos of that race are displayed on the screen, while an orchestral soundtrack plays quietly in the background. Generally each race is given a shot of the start or elsewhere during the running, several angles of the finish and then the winner returning to the winner's circle. The editors selected photos that captured the essence of the moment, showing the jubilation of the jockeys and trainers, and picturesque scenic shots such as the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs or the San Gabriel Mountains that form the backdrop of Santa Anita. Followers of racing history will feel they are being brought back in time, to when Cigar completed his perfect 10-for-10 in 1995, when Personal Ensign defeated Winning Colors in the 1988 Distaff to retire undefeated, and of course European champion Arazi romping home in the 1991 Juvenile. However, this reviewer feels that the production appeared rushed, and that the video could have been doubled in length to include more photos and more verbal description of each race, and perhaps linger on each photo a bit longer. In many cases, Campbell simply named the race and the winner with no comment as to who else was in the race or the manner by which the race was won.

For viewers wanting more, there is also a "slide show" included which runs about six minutes. This consisted of photos that weren't included in the main video, and are shown full-frame unlike the main video where there was frequent pan-and-scan of photos made larger than the TV screen. These were mostly scenic and people pictures as opposed to racing action, but served to complete the package.

The editors also included a ten question trivia game. This was not "interactive", but instead plays back similar to trivia games seen at sports bars, where the question is shown, followed by four multiple-choice answers. Then each wrong answer is removed until just the correct one remains. This was approximately six minutes length, and might be entertaining to try before or after watching the main video with a group of racing fans.

This DVD should be enjoyed by most racing fans, as it is a nice compact record of the first 24 years of the Breeders' Cup. Although this is nice as a still-photo montage, perhaps future editions could incorporate some video, and expand to more in-depth coverage for each running rather than rush through them so quickly.

Breeders' Cup World Championships: The First 25 Years can be ordered from for only $19.95.

Rating:     4/5

If you are looking for video from the Breeders' Cup, you can get the VHS tape Best of the Breeders Cup from 1995 which is really good, if a bit out of date, and can be found for less than $6 . For official DVDs and VHS tapes of full runnings for each year, check the Breeders' Cup Store, but prices are $45/year VHS and $49/year DVD for 2006 and earlier and $65 for 2007.

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