The dream of an international day of championship racing became a reality in 1984 with the running of the first of seven races at Hollywood Park. Each year since has seen an influx of European champions arrive in the United States to compete for the coveted trophies and prestige that result from winning a Breeders’ Cup race. This year will be no exception as one of horse racing’s biggest days returns to Santa Anita Park in California. Fans and punters from around the world will tune in to watch and wager as the best in the world compete.
The Younger Generation
Some of the most competitive and difficult races to bet are the juvenile stakes. While the contenders have all competed successfully, their days on the track have been limited making it hard to judge just how much talent they really possess. A number of imports are expected to vie for the titles in the juvenile turf stakes.
• Llanarmon is a Canadian invader trained by Roger Attfield and piloted by Emma-Jayne Wilson. This Sky Mesa filly broke her maiden in the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.
• Queen Catrine has hit the board in all five of her races for top rider John Murtagh. The luck of the Irish could be a factor with both horse and jockey hailing from the Emerald Isle.
• Vorda is a French-bred filly that has been impressive with four wins in two different countries.
• Giovanni Boldini is expertly conditioned by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by son Joseph O’Brien. The famed trainer has won races around the world, and his horses pose a threat whenever they step foot on the racetrack.
Horses from England, France and Ireland have dominated many of the Breeders’ Cup grass races.
• Novellist is having a stellar year with wins at Royal Ascot in England, Italy, France and his home country of Germany. He became the first horse to win three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in a single year.
• The Fugue won the Irish Championship Stakes this year over the boys with her come from behind style.
The Crowning Moment
All of the races on this championship day carry prestige and honour. However, the crowning moment is the running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Contested on dirt, it has been dominated by American horses bred for the surface. However, a horse that has won at some of the most beloved turf tracks in Europe will stake his claim for the crown.
Declaration of War is an American-bred colt trained by the master Aiden O’Brien. With winnings of over a million dollars in his short career, the bay will attempt to snatch the title from outstanding competitors such as returning champion Fort Larned, Game on Dude and Graydar.
Known as one of the richest days in horse racing, the Breeders’ Cup races have proven extremely lucrative for the wagering public as well. The starting gates fill with some of the best horses in the world providing excellent odds for the entire field.
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