By Ray Wallin
The Breeders’ Cup has expanded since it was first run in 1984. There were the original seven races, but now there are a total of 14 races in the lineup, which doesn’t include two that have been discontinued. Here we will feature the short-timers — the Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile Turf Sprint, Dirt Mile, Filly & Mare Sprint, Marathon, and Juvenile Sprint. The Marathon only ran for six years and the Juvenile Sprint ran for two years.
So whether you are a casual racing fan or you make your living playing the races, sit back and enjoy the “best of the rest” of the Breeders’ Cup races.
In 2012, the second and final Breeders’ Cup Sprint would run. The race was eliminated due to lack of entries as the 2012 running only featured five horses, yet did provide a dramatic finish. Long shot Hightail would best the front running 1-2 favorite, Merit Man, at a healthy 15-1 and also breaking his maiden. He would head out Merit Man in the stretch who would gamely battle back, but be short at the wire.
In 2008, the favorite Laragh looked clear by four lengths at the top of the stretch. However, that lead wouldn’t last as Heart Shaped and Maram would rally late to upset the favorite. Maram would be euthanized in 2012 while in foal for the second time.
In 2014, favorite Judy the Beauty would catch the early pacesetter, Stonetastic, and hold off the late run of Better Lucky to hold on to win.
While only contested six times, the longest Breeders’ Cup race, the Marathon, provided a couple of great finishes. In 2009, while Cloudy Knight would lead for much of the second half to the race, it would be Man of Iron under Johnny Murtagh who would get up late to win by a nose.
In 2018, it didn’t start so lucky for the last-place running Shamrock Rose. She would make a late run and would hit the wire with three others including long shots Chalon, Anonymity, and the even-money favorite Marley’s Freedom. Shamrock Rose would get a head out in front in a dramatic finish.
In 2010, Morning Line would win the early duel to get the lead. Yet Dakota Phone would have other plans as he dialed in a late run from last place at the second call after spotting the field over 12 lengths.
In 2015, the favorite Airoforce would get nipped at the wire by 7-1 shot Hit It a Bomb. While Manhattan Dan set the pace at 45-1, he would fold in the stretch as a pack of horses would overtake him. Hit It a Bomb would get a head out in front in the final 100 yards and never look back, winning by a neck.
In the first running of the now defunct BC Marathon, long shot Muhannak would get clear with 200 yards to go but would need to hold off the late runs by Church Service and Big Booster to secure the win at 12-1.
In 2017, the frontrunner Sharp Azteca and Battle of Midway would battle throughout the stretch in what became a two-horse race. Flavien Prat would ultimately get Battle of Midway up late to win the stretch duel.
In 2011, two long shots would finish on top. Frontrunner Stopshoppingmaria looked clear with 200 yards to go. However, a late run by Stephanie’s Kitten would catch her yards from the finish line.
Who knows which race will produce the best finish of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup? Which race do you think will have the most exciting finish?
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.
Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at email@example.com.