The crowd around the walking ring just before the Mile on Saturday of the Breeders' Cup.
The 34th Breeders' Cup World Championships held on Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5, 2017, at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club just north of San Diego, California, are now in the record book. The combined total attendance over the two days was 70,420, of which 37,692 were on Saturday. For the comfort of its guests and because of Del Mar's smaller capacity, ticket sales were limited to 37,500 for each day. The two-day on-track wagering total of $25,181,317 is the highest for the event, which expanded from one day to two in 2007, and a 21.4% increase over the two-day total of $20,742,847 in 2016. Common-pool wagering for the two days was $166,077,486 an increase of 5.9% over the 2016 total of $156,861,811. The total handle was the highest since the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs when there were two additional Breeders' Cup races (the discontinued Marathon and Juvenile Sprint). Saturday's on-track handle was $15,900,813, an increase of 18% over the $13,563,884 wagered on track at Santa Anita last year despite the much lower attendance.
Del Mar president and general manager Joe Harper said, "Del Mar, its staff and the community of San Diego absolutely shone for this Breeders' Cup. I could not be more proud of the effort that was put forth by everyone at our racetrack and all the folks in San Diego who jumped on board for this marvelous event and made it into something spectacular. This was racing at its best; it was Del Mar at its best; and it was San Diego being all it could be. It was a complete winner." Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel added, "We were treated to world championship performances over two days of the very best in international racing, combined with spectacular weather, smooth operations and excellent customer service from our hosts at Del Mar. Del Mar proved to be an extraordinary venue for our Championships and we want to thank its staff, our volunteers and the greater San Diego community for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to our guests from around the world. We also want to thank racing fans for their enthusiastic support of our event."
Javier Castellano celebrates after winning the Juvenile Fillies Turf, to go with a second, 3 thirds and a fourth.
Jockey Javier Castellano, who won the Juvenile Fillies Turf aboard Rushing Fall, and was second in the Sprint on Imperial Hint, third in the Juvenile Turf (Voting Control), Filly & Mare Sprint (Carina Mia) and West Coast (Classic) and fourth in the Sentient Jet Juvenile on Givemeaminit, won the 15th Bill Shoemaker Award for outstanding jockey of the 2017 Breeders' Cup World Championships. The Shoemaker Award is based on a 10-5-3-1 scoring system on first through fourth place finishes in each of the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championship races.
By winning the Juvenile Fillies on Caledonia Road, Mike Smith extended his lead for all-time Breeders' Cup wins with 26. John Velazquez, the only rider with two Cup wins this year (Distaff on Forever Unbridled and the Mile on World Approval) puts him at 16 wins, tying the retired Jerry Bailey. Smith also leads all riders with $35,874,605 in Cup purses, with Velazquez second with $25,570,275.
With all his entrants, Bob Baffert was totally shut out, failing to win a single Cup race. Despite this, Baffert still leads all trainers in Cup purses with $27,555,000. Ireland's Aidan O'Brien managed just one win, Mendelssohn in the Juvenile Turf. 10 of O'Brien's 12 Cup wins were on turf, 4 of which were in the Juvenile Turf, and he sits third (behind D. Wayne Lukas's $22.580,520) with $22,025,590 in earnings. Similarly, 8 of Chad Brown's 10 Cup wins were on turf, including Rushing Fall in the Juvenile Fillies Turf this year.
There were several jockeys and trainers who had their first wins in the Breeders' Cup this year:
Mickael Barzalona aboard Talismanic in the Turf (on his first BC mount)
Five defending champions were back, and all were defeated. Highland Reel (Turf) finished third, Arrogate (Classic) dead-heated for fifth, Queen's Trust (Filly & Mare Turf) finished fifth, Drefong (TwinSpires Sprint) finished sixth and Finest City (Filly & Mare Sprint) finished eighth. Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal set a new record for longest layoff for a Cup winner, having rested 147 days since finishing 8th in the Jaipur at Belmont Park. The previous record was the 137 day layoff of 2013 Turf winner Magician. Despite the Pacific beach venue, horses came from all over. Three winners each are based in California, New York, Kentucky, and Europe, with Juvenile Fillies winner Caledonia Road flying the state flag of Florida.
Lady Eli returns after the Filly and Mare Turf
It appeared that every Breeders' Cup entrant safely completed their races and returned to be unsaddled. The only injury of note was beaten favorite Lady Eli in the FIlly and Mare Turf, who suffered gashes to her hind legs and lost her left hind shoe after colliding with several horses down the chute soon after the start. She had overcome laminitis as a 3-year-old. Her injuries are not life-threatening but she was withdrawn from the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Owners Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin said in a release, "Right now our efforts are focused squarely on trying to get her well again. Putting her through the trials of a sale in her current condition is simply out of the question. The fact that she raced another mile and finished the race with these injuries and shoeless is amazing, and a further testament to her toughness and courage."
2017 Breeders' Cup Friday - There were four Breeders' Cup races on Friday at Del Mar headlined by the Distaff (G1) where Forever Unbridled held off Abel Tasman to win by a half length. Also on the card, Rushing Fall won the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Battle of Midway won the Dirt Mile (G1), and Mendelssohn won the Juvenile Turf (G1). Get the results, charts, and photos for all 8 stakes on the card. More photos: Juvenile Turf -
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Dirt Mile - Distaff
2017 Breeders' Cup Entries - Entries closed Monday and post positions were drawn for the 13 Breeders' Cup Championship races on November 3 and 4 at Del Mar. The Classic will have a field of 11 with Gun Runner in post 5 the 9-5 favorite over Arrogate in post 1 at 2-1.
Review: Crushing the Cup 2017 - by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett. An invaluable tool for trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping the Breeders' Cup races at Del Mar. Updated for 2017, this is their 26th anniversary edition and first for Del Mar.
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 since the change.