26th Breeders’ Cup on tap Friday and Saturday

November 04, 2009 | Gary Quill

It falls in the midst of football season, at the start of the NBA and NHL season and at the conclusion of the Fall Classic (aka World Series). It is to thoroughbred horse racing what the Ryder Cup is to golf. Unfortunately, The Breeders’ Cup never seems to get the deserved fanfare because it’s always scheduled when all four major spectator sports are in the public eye and on the tip of the tongues of every Talking Head on radio and television.

For the second consecutive year, the setting for now the 26th Breeders’ Cup is Oaktree at Santa Anita race course in California, where the “dirt” suface is Pro-Ride (a synthetic surface, not natural dirt) and the turf course resembles a well-groomed PGA fairway instead of the rough. It’s worth noting that last year, among the 14 winners none had run their previous race on a natural dirt track.  This may explain why in 2008 the European horses “kicked our (US horses) ass”, according to trainer Tom Amoss.

This year there are 150 horses entered with 30 of those from “across the pond”. But the headliner is an undefeated (13 for 13)  5 year old mare named Zenyatta. She’ll be running on her home turf (actually, synthetic dirt) but facing the boys for the first time in her career in the marquee event, The Classic. She’s the sentimental 5-2 Morning Line favorite in a field of 13 which includes Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Belmont winner Summer Bird and European star Rip Van Winkle.  

On Wednesday the Post Positions were drawn for this 14 race event, where 6 are run on Friday and 8 on Saturday. Here’s a link to review the program…


All 14 races will be broadcast live… Friday on ESPN2 3:30pm-7:00pm; Saturday on ABC 1:30pm-3:30pm then continuing on ESPN 3:30pm-7:00pm.

My humble analysis of these races will be posted on my blog on Friday and Saturday morning. It’s going to be a great Fall weekend. Consider changing it up a bit and take in the Breeders’ Cup.