As we’ve launched into a new year and begun looking ahead to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup®, we can’t help but feel compelled to reflect on the incredible moments that defined the event in 2015. The striking beauty of the fall foliage at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky served as the backdrop for one of the most prestigious weekends in horse racing and set the stage for a truly historic occasion.
Stephanie’s Kitten: 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Stephanie’s Kitten was largely written off before this Grade I stakes race. As a 2-year-old filly, she claimed first in the Grade I Alcibiades Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2011. As a 6-year-old mare, however, she wasn’t faced with a very demanding schedule in 2015 and only won half her starts, leading many to believe that her glory days were behind her. She proved her doubters wrong by winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, however, finishing her career in style mere miles from where she was foaled.
Songbird: 2015 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Songbird’s undefeated 2015 season dropped a lot of jaws, scoring victories in Grade I races such as the Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier Stakes. She closed out her phenomenal 2-year-old season with a huge win at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing 5 ¾ lengths ahead of her closest competitor.
After a win in her sophomore debut, the Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, Songbird would obviously be a shoo-in for the Kentucky Oaks. There are rumors, however, that her owners could point her towards the Kentucky Derby® and a potential Triple Crown™ run. Will her connections seek a more challenging schedule and fashion her into a Derby wildcard?
Nyquist: 2015 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
This undefeated 3-year-old has already made his mark on the world of horse racing: He sits atop the Road to the Derby leaderboard and is currently ranked as the top Triple Crown™ contender. His advantage on the Road to the Derby largely stems from his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win, which was hard-fought over 1 1/16 miles and ended with Nyquist ahead by 1 ½ lengths.
On a side note, Nyquist just took the San Vicente Stakes and looks to be a solid prospect for the Kentucky Derby! Though his doubters point to the lack of Triple Crown™ success that Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners have had in the past and question whether Nyquist can continue to surge ahead at greater distances, there is no doubt that he is special and is a strong Derby contender.
American Pharoah: 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
We had to save the best for last. He’s the darling of not just the horse racing world, but America as a whole. The world watched in awe as he swept all three legs of the Triple Crown™, becoming the first horse in 37 years to accomplish the feat. Having been formed in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are actually younger than that Triple Crown™ drought!
When it was announced that American Pharoah intended to race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he became the first horse to even attempt horse racing’s unofficial “Grand Slam” – Triple Crown™ success and victory at the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He didn’t just attempt it, though. He scored the “Grand Slam” with plenty of room to spare, claiming the centerpiece stakes at the world championships by 6 ½ lengths. There’s no disputing Larry Collmus’ famous proclamation that American Pharoah is the “horse of a lifetime.”
Don’t Miss the Victories of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup®
Get your name on the waiting list for exclusive 2016 Breeders’ Cup ticket packages! Witness the thundering action of the races and enjoy a perfect view of history in the making. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will once again take place at Santa Anita Park, the gorgeous California racetrack that has been the site of many upsets and stunning victories. Be sure to secure one of these incredible packages as soon as they become available!