In the universe of horseracing in 1984….the dream became a reality….as the inaugural Breeders’ Cup was held at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles….with 7 spectacular races featuring the world’s greatest horses, jockeys and trainers competing on one stage for $10 million in purses….which was topped off by an unprecedented live four hour national broadcast on NBC…..as seen in this video herewith….as Chief’s Crown was the winner of the first ever Breeders’ Cup race….the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile….with the climax of Racing’s Greatest Day was the world’s richest race….the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic….when hype lived up its billing as the favorite, Slew o’Gold….Preakness winner Gate Dancer….and 31-1 longshot Wild Again drove and banged together down Hollywood Park stretch to wire….as Wild Again crossed the wire first by a head….but the crowd of 68,000 and the national television audience had to wait another 10 dramatic minutes following a steward’s inquiry to officially declare Wild Again the winner.
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the annual series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races….operated by Breeders’ Cup Limited….a company formed in 1982….which from its inception in 1984 and running through 2006, was a single-day event…. but starting in 2007, it expanded to two days…..as all sites for the event have been in the United States….except in 1996, when the races were at the Woodbine Racetrack in Canada.
The attendance at the Breeders’ Cup varies, depending mainly on the capacity of the host track….as Santa Anita Park set the highest two-day attendance figure of 118,484 in 2016….with the lowest two-day attendance was 69,584 in 2007 at Monmouth Park. Each Breeders’ Cup race presents four Breeders’ Cup trophies to the connections of the winner and a garland of flowers draped over the withers of the winning horse. Many Breeders’ Cup winners will go on to win the Eclipse Award in their respective division….for example, of the eleven flat racehorse categories….seven of the Eclipse winners in 2015 had also won a Breeders’ Cup race….while three others were in the money. In the 2015 listing of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), three Breeders’ Cup races are ranked among the top Grade 1 races in the world: the Classic (4th), the Turf (10th) and the Mile (12th). The Distaff is ranked second among the top Grade 1 races for fillies and mares.
NBC’s coverage of this 1st Breeders’ Cup Classic featured an outstanding broadcasting crew to include Dick Enberg, Pete Axthelm, famous Irish horseracing broadcaster Michael O’Hare, Tom Hammond, Sharon Smith and Edwin Newman….coupled with live interviews with Liz Taylor, John Forsythe, Jack Klugman and trainer D Wayne Lucas…with wonderful interview with jockeys Chris McCarron, Angel Cordero and Laffite Pincay…plus a great piece on the history of jockeys’ silks….so, any way you cut the pie….this was the 1st Breeders’ Cup Championships ever….aabd it truly was an awesome day of horseracing that dictates this video to be MUST SEE TV for all racing fans.