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The 1988 Breeders’ Cup

Churchill Downs

November 5, 1988

Attendance: 71,237
Handle: $44,708,399
Races: 7
Weather: 50°

The Breeders’ Cup came to Kentucky for the first time, and on a rain swept day at Churchill Downs, racing fans witnessed some of the greatest performers and performances in the sport’s history. Among the many standouts was the French filly Miesque, who became the first horse to win two Breeders’ Cup races, capturing the Mile for the second year in a row. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas becoming the first trainer to win three Breeders’ Cup races on a single card and Alysheba, who under dark skies won the Classic, (dubbed the “Midnight Classic”) to capture the Horse of the Year title.  But the day’s most dramatic moment came in the Distaff, where the undefeated Personal Ensign, appearing hopelessly beaten at the top of the stretch, somehow gathered herself and closed stoutly on Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors and prevailed by a head. For years, the 1988 Distaff would remain the signature moment of the Breeders’ Cup.

1988 Breeders’ Cup Champions

Race Winning Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Breeder
Classic 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic Alysheba C. McCarron J. Van Berg Dorothy & Pamela Scharbauer Preston Madden
Sentient Jet Juvenile 1988 Grey Goose Juvenile Is It True L. Pincay Jr. D. Lukas Eugene V. Klein Warner L. Jones Jr.
Distaff 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff Personal Ensign R. Romero C. McGaughey III Ogden Phipps Ogden Phipps
Turf 1988 Breeders' Cup Turf Great Communicator R. Sibille T. Ackel Class Act Stable James B. Watriss
Mile 1988 Breeders' Cup Mile Miesque F. Head F. Boutin Flaxman Holdings Ltd. Live Oak Stud
Juvenile Fillies 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Open Mind A. Cordero Jr. D. Lukas Eugene V. Klein Due Process Stable
Xpressbet Sprint 1988 Breeders' Cup Sprint Gulch A. Cordero Jr. D. Lukas Peter M. Brant Peter M. Brant