The Beginner’s Guide to the Breeders’ Cup

By Jaclyn Harris August 21, 2014

Whether you’ve attended horse races or not in the past, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is an entirely different ball game. From the spectators in attendance to the horses racing, the best of the best are what you will find at Santa Anita Park this fall.

But what do you need to know to fit in at the social event of the season? Is there a certain way to dress? How do the horses qualify? Are there certain types of tickets you should purchase? What exactly takes place during the two days of title races?

If you’ve been researching, chances are you’ve become overwhelmed with the amount of articles out there regarding the races, the weekend schedule, tickets, and attire. After all, wouldn’t it just be nice if all the information was compacted into one guide for you? Man, that would be ingenious, right?

Well, look no further Breeders’ Cup newbies! We’ve got your first timer’s guide right here! So without further ado, check out everything you need to know about attending the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time!

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How Horses Qualify to Race

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Before you attend the 2014 Breeders’ Cup, it’d probably be important to know how horses qualify to race in the first place. Since this is the world championship of horse racing, only the best of the best can compete and therefore, there is a strict qualifying process in place.

There are three potential ways that a horse can earn a spot in the starting gate of one of the 13 title races: the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, the Graded Stakes Points System and the Panel of Experts.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a series of races throughout the year that a trainer or owner can enter their horse in, and it’s under the “win and you’re in” format. As simple as it sounds, if the horse wins the race, they earn a spot in the designated Breeders’ Cup title race.

Read more about the Breeders’ Cup Challenge and see the updated qualifiers»

Secondly, a horse can qualify via the Graded Stakes Points System. Certain races throughout the year are given a grade depending on the quality of the race and the quality of the competition entered. Then, the top three finishers in the race will receive points accordingly. The horses that have earned the most points at the end of the process have a shot at the field.

Read more about the Graded Stakes Points System»

The third and final way a horse can qualify to race in one of the Breeders’ Cup races is through the Panel of Experts. These experts assist to ensure only the highest level of competition qualify by selecting several of their own picks to race and by managing aspects of qualifying that cannot simply be decided by points or the Challenge series.

Read more about the Panel of Experts»

The Weekend Schedule

Like previously stated, the weekend of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are two full days of competitive racing. Some of the richest purses in the nation are awarded in the 13 championship races reaching a culmination of $25 million!

The races start in the afternoon on Friday and continue throughout the day on Saturday. Because of the unpredictable Arcadia weather, if you’re planning on attending both full days of racing, it’d be wise to ensure you and your group have in-track hospitality access. This will offer you an escape from the elements and a place to relax during the long event days.

Not to mention, hospitality offers complimentary food and beverage options, simulcast TV coverage of the on-track festivities and much more. It’s definitely something to keep in mind as you’re taking a look at the race schedule and planning for your group.

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See the full Breeders’ Cup event schedule»

It’s the Social Event of the Season: Prepare Yourself

Because of the amount of purse money awarded and because of Santa Anita’s close proximity to Hollywood, a lot of A-list celebrities make appearances at the Breeders’ Cup. We’re talking Hollywood stars, professional athletes, musicians, well-known horsemen, and much more!

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In other words, dress to impress! By attending, you’re putting yourself in a group with the social elite, and look and act like the social elite you shall! Put up those pinkies and check out these tips!

Ladies, comfy but elegant attire will be your friend here. Find a sophisticated dress and pair it with a gorgeous hat or a beautiful hairstyle. We’d suggest wearing pumps, but you will be on your feet a lot, so if you don’t think your feet can bare it, opt for some stylish flats instead. And as cute a clutch is, you’re not going to want to hold your purse all day. Plan to wear a shoulder bag or a cross-body clutch instead. And God forbid, don’t forget your sunglasses! Your eyes will thank you!

Gents, it’s time to get the suits out! While some guys select a high-fashion suit by a popular designer, khakis with a blazer will do just fine. Pair it with a sharp bowtie or skinny tie and you’ll fit right in with the crowd. Again, don’t forget those stunna shades to protect your eyes from the California sun!

Read more about becoming a social elite at the Breeders’ Cup»

Official Ticket Packages, AKA the ONLY Way to Attend

The last thing you need to know about attending the Breeders' Cup for the first time directly correlates to how you're going to get there: 2014 Official Breeders' Cup Ticket Packages

Because ticket packages come direct from the Breeders' Cup, you'll receive unparalleled access and coveted amenities at Santa Anita that are not available any other way. Official Ticket Packages grant you exclusive in-track hospitality access (remember earlier when we said this was a good idea?) on both race days complete with premium open bars, complimentary gourmet fare, interactive entertainment elements, and so much more! 

Not to mention, luxurious hotel accommodations and transportation on race days is included, eliminating all trip planning hassles for you and your group. 

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Clearly, an Official Ticket Package is hardly comparable to the access you'd receive with just a ticket.

So what are you waiting for, beginners? It's time to get yourself to the 2014 Breeders' Cup! Call 1-866-834-8663 to speak to a representative or visit QuintEvents website for more information. 

See Affordable Package Options!

And be sure to join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #BCVIP and #BC14!