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- John Piesen
FINAL PREP RACE OF RECENT CUP WINNERS REVEALS FEW SURPRISES
Ever since the first Breeders' Cup was run at Hollywood Park in 1984 many individuals, from serious analyzers to amateur racing fans have looked back on past Cup Races to search for patterns leading into the races.
Two of the oft-presented theories are where the various Breeders Cup winners had their final prep race and whether or not the horse won that last prep. More detailed followers in the search for a pattern within these results have even tracked if there is any advantage for a horse that ran its last prep over the same surface as it then ran in the following Breeders cup race.
Oh, if it were only that easy.
For purposes of this first Breeders Cup Bulletin of 2015 I went back to 2007 when there were 12 Cup Races run at Monmouth Park (there will be 13 this year and have been as many as 15, such as when they ran both the now eliminated Marathon and Juvenile Sprint (the latter experimented with in 2012 and 2011…the marathon was run from 2008 until 2013 and the Turf Sprint was added in 2008 to bring the current total to 13.)
BREEDERS CUP WINNERS HAIL FROM THREE TRACKS AND EUROPE
Even without an in-depth study any marginally aware Breeders Cup aficionado would find little surprise that the list of final prep races for Cup Championship Race Winners would have been run at Belmont, Santa Anita, Keeneland and at European Tracks. These locales are where the best horses, conditioned by the best trainers and ridden by the best jockeys occur. They are also, with the exception of Europe, where there are a handful of such designated races, where all the BC Win & In Automatic Qualifying Races are run.
As to how the Breeders Cup Winners from 2007 to 2014 fared in their final prep races it should also come as no surprise that a large percentage of them won their final prep. Again, this is a product of their excellence as race horses and the fact that each BC Race is stocked with a number of runners who indeed have their spot in their Breeders Cup Race virtue of winn9ing a qualifier.
From 2007 to 2014 there were 111 Breeders' Cup Races. The list of tracks from which these winners exited and the number of winners follows.
BELMONT - 27
SANTA ANITA - 21
KEENELAND - 17
WOODBINE - 8
PARX - 3
DEL MAR - 3
TURFWAY - 3
SARATOGA - 2
HOLLYWOOD - 2
PIMLICO - 1
ARLINGTON - 1
MONMOUTH - 1
CALDER - 1
NOTE ONE - Of the 20 BC races won by European shippers, as you might expect, 14 were won on the turf, but what is also noteworthy, although now a thing of the past, 5 of the 6 Marathons (only run from 2008 to 2013) were won by European Shippers and the only other race won by a European invader was the 2008 Classic which was won by Ravens Pass, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori. In addition, 7 of the 8 winning Woodbine shippers won their BC Race on the turf.
In addition, from 2008 to 2013, 5 of the 6 BC Juvenile Turf races were won by European shippers and the 6th by a Woodbine shipper.
NOTE TWO - As to familiarity with the surface in the sense that the last raced over the same surface might prove useful it should be noted that 5 of the 8 years calculated for these purposes were run at Santa Anita yet there have only been 21 winners. And 11 of those came from the 22 races that were run in 2008 and 2009 when the main track was synthetic.
When the best face the best, as is the case with the Breeders' Cup Championships you would expect that horses who have either won or finished second in their final preps vs likewise championship caliber runners would be solid candidates to claim the crown. The numbers below bear out the fact that inform top class runners seldom reverse that previously shown expert form when they run in the Breeders' Cup.
Below are the results of where each of the 111 Breeders' Cup Winners since 2007 finished in their final prep.
WON - 53
SECOND - 27
THIRD - 13
FOURTH - 7
OUT OF THE SUPERFECTA - 11
In conclusion you can see that other than the European and Woodbine shippers in turf races there is little edge based on which tracks these horses last raced at since the top four are evenly spread.
However, there are a number of significant edges that we will discuss in future BREEDERS CUP BULLETINS is to make certain you revisit these pages every few days as we lead up to the running of the races on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 at Keeneland.