LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2012) - Royal Delta's repeat in the Breeders' Cup Ladies’ Classic, Fort Larned's dramatic victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Wise Dan's record-setting tour de force in the Breeders' Cup Mile and unbeaten two-year-old sensation Shanghai Bobby's hard-fought triumph in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile led two days of spectacular world-class racing at Santa Anita Park in the 29th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Once again, the Breeders' Cup, held over two days, lived up to its billing as Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious global event with an international cross section of runners and winners bred or raced in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and in the U.S.
"The Breeders' Cup is a showcase of the very best our sport can be, bringing together the premier horses, trainers and jockeys from the U.S., Canada and around the world," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup President and CEO. "The geographic diversity of this year's winners is a testament to what the Breeders' Cup has become over its 29 years -- world class Thoroughbred racing and world-class entertainment for legions of racing fans. We want to thank all of the participants, all of the fans who took time to watch, wager and interact with the Breeders' Cup through the Internet and our social media channels and our gracious hosts from Southern California - we're looking forward to returning for our 30th edition in 2013."
A crowd of 89,742 wagered $20,680,143 on track at Santa Anita over the two days, a 4% increase over the 2009 event, the last time the event was held there, and the largest on-track handle ever at a venue outside Louisville, Ky.
The $144,272,332 common pool handle on the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships was down 7% from the 2011 figure of $155,525,947 when the races were held at Churchill Downs. According to a review conducted by Breeders' Cup officials, declines from East Coast pari-mutuel outlets in states affected by Hurricane Sandy totaled more than $9 million. Wagering sites in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia experienced an overall 29% decline in handle over the two days.
"While numerous factors come into play in analyzing wagering totals, it is apparent that the effects of the storm suppressed handle from what are traditionally strong areas of the country," said Ken Kirchner of Falkirk International, a wagering and simulcasting consultant to Breeders' Cup. “New York was especially hard hit as NYRA was off $1.4 million (26%); Nassau OTB was down $1 million (56%), Yonkers down 50%, Suffolk OTB down (39%) and Catskill OTB down 38%.
The Breeders' Cup returned to NBC for the 2012 Championships with the Classic Hour in prime time earning a rating final of 2.0, nearly double the Classic Hour rating in 2011. In the week leading up to and during the event, traffic to the Breeders' Cup's official web site, www.breederscup.com, which featured live streaming of the races, topped 2.9 million page views and was visited by people in 155 countries.
There was remarkable diversity in Breeders’ Cup race winners as the victors came from racing centers throughout North America, England, Ireland and France in Europe, and Argentina in South America. Kentucky-based horsemen did very well with victories led by Fort Larned in the Classic for trainer Ian Wilkes, Little Mike in the Turf for Dale Romans, Wise Dan in the Mile for Charlie Lopresti, Groupie Doll in the Filly & Mare Sprint for William “Buff” Bradley and Hightail taking the Juvenile Sprint for all-time Breeders’ Cup leading trainer by wins D. Wayne Lukas.
New York-based horsemen also registered Breeders’ Cup wins, including Hall of Famer Bill Mott as trainer of Royal Delta, who successfully defended her title in the Ladies’ Classic. Shanghai Bobby scored in the Grey Goose Juvenile for Todd Pletcher, and Zagora (FR) won the Filly & Mare Turf for Chad Brown. Steve Asmussen operates one of the largest stables in the nation with divisions from coast to coast, depending on the time of year, and Tapizar scored in the Dirt Mile after making his previous start out of the trainer’s New York string.
The California-based team had its moments in the winner’s circle after Beholder scored in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies for trainer Richard Mandella, and Mizdirection, trained by Mike Puype, won the Turf Sprint for CBS Sports personality Jim Rome and his partners.
Florida was represented in the winner’s circle by Trinniberg, who shipped to Santa Anita from Calder Race Course to win the Xpressbet Sprint after finishing second in his previous start at Parx Racing near Philadelphia for trainer Shivananda Parbhoo.
The European team of some two dozen runners won two of the 15 races with Flotilla (FR) capturing the Juvenile Fillies Turf for French trainer Mikel Delzangles and George Vancouver winning the Juvenile Turf for Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien.
Finally, 9-year-old Argentine-bred gelding Calidoscopio became the first horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race after making his previous start in South America when he romped home a 4 ½- length winner of the Marathon for Argentine trainer Guillermo Frenkel. Calidoscopio qualified for his start in the Marathon through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series by winning the Clasico Belgrano at Palermo Racecourse in Buenos Aires. A total of 45 Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners competed in the World Championships. In addition to Calidoscopio, Royal Delta, Groupie Doll, Shanghai Bobby, Little Mike, Wise Dan and Fort Larned were Challenge winners who won Championship races.
Although not a winner, Japan’s 5-year-old Trailblazer, bred and raced in Japan, ran a big race to finish fourth in the Turf behind Little Mike for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, beaten only 2 ¼ lengths for it all.
In other events at this year’s World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge set a record 138 entries and a fantastic finish that was an instant replay of the 2011 event. Defending champion Patrick McGoey of New Orleans replicated his last race heroics and passed the entire field again with a winning “all-in” bet in the Classic. Even more startling, it was again second place finisher Christian Hellmers that had dominated the tournament as he did last year and took what looked to be a commanding lead into the Classic. McGoey collected over $255,000 for his repeat victory in what is now the sport’s largest live money betting contest. Players collected over $1.2 million in cash and prizes at the Betting Challenge.
There was no shortage of festivities surrounding the Breeders’ Cup, which started on Thursday, Nov. 1 with the first-ever Fan Appreciation Party in the Santa Anita paddock and the annual GREY GOOSE Winner's Circle Party at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. Friday evening's "Taste of the World," hosted by chef and Breeders' Cup Ambassador Bobby Flay was held at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, and celebrated cuisine and cocktails from the 15 represented countries participating in the Breeders' Cup. Additional events highlighting Breeders' Cup week included Jocktails, the Breeders' Cup Celebrity Poker Invitational and Wednesday night’s Masquerade Ball held at Getty House, the home of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa.
The 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park on Friday November 1 and Saturday, November 2.