The Winningest Horses in Breeders’ Cup® History

By Darragh Farrelly December 28, 2016

Like any self-respecting sport, horse racing is measured by one thing and one thing only – winning. What distinguishes the good from the great to the exceptional is continued success. It’s what all sportspeople strive for, but very few succeed in. In the history of the Breeders’ Cup®, repeated joy in the ultimate showcase of a thoroughbred’s ability has almost been unheard of, an anomaly.

Since its inception in 1984, 297 winners have come and gone over the course of a 33-year period where the Breeders’ Cup has charged to the front of the racing world’s consciousness. From the greats – American Pharoah’s coronation in 2015, to the upsets – Arcangues 133-1 long-shot victory in the 1991 Classic, the Breeders’ Cup has seen it all. Here, we look at the winningest horses in Breeders’ Cup history.

Winner, Winner!

Just one horse has won back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classics, the towering Tiznow. His victory in the 2000 Classic saw him go right down to the wire in a stretch-long battle with European invader Giant’s Causeway, pipping him by a neck. In an almost identical race a year later, he again pipped Europe’s best in Sakhee. His wins mean he is the only horse to have won two Classics, a feat which earned him a place into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.    

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A total of just 15 horses have won the same race twice. Just one has ever done the ‘three-peat’, the Queen of Breeders’, Goldikova. From 2008-2010, the French mare simply electrified audiences by winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile three times in-a-row. The Mile has been generous to repeat winners more so than any other race in the festival’s history. Five, including Goldikova, have done it: Miesque (1987, 1988), Lure (1992, 1993), Da Hoss (1996, 1998) and Wise Dan (2012, 2013).

This year, Beholder, winner of the Juvenile Fillies race in 2012, won the Distaff for a second time (previously won in 2013 also), thus becoming just the second horse after Goldikova to win three races at the Breeders’ Cup.  

The Distaff, formerly known as the Ladies’ Classic, has seen just two repeat winners: Bayakoa (1989, 1990) and Royal Delta (2011, 2012). Others to do the double include Goldencents in the Dirt Mile (2013, 2014, Sprint champion Midnight Lute (2007, 2008), and 2012-2013 saw Mizdirection (Turf Sprint) and Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint) replicate successes side by side.

In recent times, the Breeders’ Cup Turf has proved incredibly fruitful for European trainers and jockeys who make the trip across the Atlantic. High Chaparral came to the 2002 edition at Arlington Park with a massive reputation. Winner of both the English and Irish Derbies, he justified favoritism to claim victory. A year later, he returned with stiffer competition. A photo finish with Johar ended in a dead heat, giving him a share of the spoils while retaining his crown. Sir Michael Stoute’s Conduit repeated the trick in 2008 and 2009 before being retired to stud in Japan.

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For the Filly & Mare TurfOuija Board was a class above. Winner in 2004 by a distance, she returned a year later, but was beaten by a short neck to deny her a repeat success. Not to be outdone, she returned in 2006, oozing courage and poise, to regain her crown.

The Experience of a Lifetime – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup®!

The experience of a lifetime is to be expected when attending the Breeders’ Cup World Championships®. Being held for the very first time at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the sheer class and level of horses that will go to post will be unbeatable. As the highest level of international thoroughbred racing, they will be tested to the full. Better yet, as history has taught us, the sheer unpredictability of these races makes it an event you do NOT want to miss!

Taking place between November 3 – 4, 2017, get on board with one of our unique packages that includes private secure entrances, access to exclusive in-track hospitality party venues on race days, celebrity meet-and-greets, and more!

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