By Jim Miller
Hawthorne Race Course
The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships take place this weekend from Santa Anita Park as 14 races will produce many of the divisional champions.
The two-day event kicks off on Friday with five Breeders’ Cup races, headlined by the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The title of best female horse in the country could be decided with this race as last year’s Champion Royal Delta looks to avenge a recent loss to top three-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar in her last start. They will both have to try to catch the speedy Beholder who races on her familiar home surface.
In addition to the Distaff, two-year-olds will be featured on the turf for both males and females. Route horses get their shot in the Marathon and some of the fastest two turn runners face off in the Dirt Mile.
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On Saturday, two of the best older male horses take to the track as nine Breeders’ Cup races will be contested. In all, $18.5 million in purses will be on the line in the Saturday events, headlined by the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Saturday kicks off with three female Breeders’ Cup events followed by the very competitive Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The final two races on Breeders’ Cup Saturday bring out the biggest stars as last year’s Horse of the Year Wise Dan looks to repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile as he tries to turn the tables on Silver Max, would bettered him in their last matchup.
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The final race on Saturday is the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. A win in the Classic from favorite Game on Dude could secure Horse of the Year honors for him. The race won’t be easy though as he squares off with last year’s Classic champ Fort Larned and runner-up Mucho Macho Man.
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Overall, the weekend has come together to bring all of the top horses in the country to one spot as they converge on Santa Anita. The weather will be perfect and the racing action will be great.