THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS: THE BREEDERS' CUP MILE
The first Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park in 1984 was crucial in proving to the racing world that this could truly be an international Championship Day - it attracted a field of ten. ROYAL HEROINE...the only filly in the group swept to the lead and won the race in course record time; she also established a new North American record time for a mile on the turf. Her performance verified what the Breeders' Cup was supposed to be: a day to crown champions - ROYAL HEROINE earned the 1984 Eclipse Award for Champion Turf Female based on that performance.
One of the biggest Breeders' Cup Mile upsets was in 1986 when English sprinter, LAST TYCOON, held off PALACE MUSIC and returned a record high $73.80!
The next two years saw the Mile's first back-to-back Champion in the brilliant French Filly, MIESQUE for 1987 and 1988.
England's legendary jockey, 54-year-old LESTER PIGGOTT, returned to the saddle on ROYAL ACADEMY after a five-year retirement stint in 1990 and teamed up with another Englishman...the legendary trainer, VINCENT O'BRIEN. ROYAL ACADEMY won the race and produced one of the Breeders' Cups most emotional comeback stories.
The Europeans would be back in the spotlight winning the 1994 Mile with BARATHEA, 1995 with the filly, RIDGEWOOD PEARL and SPINNING WORLD in 1997.
The Breeders' Cup Mile is a race that has most often than not been won by a European-based runners but that's not to say that Americans haven't enjoyed their share of victories: COZZENE in 1985, STEINLEN in 1989, OPENING VERSE in 1991 and LURE...two years in a row for 1992 and 1993.
But the most amazing American-trained winner of the Mile was also perhaps the most unlikely in Breeders' Cup history - DA HOSS, a $6,000 GONE WEST yearling who had to overcome various ailments to become a two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner for 1996 and 1998.
The Breeders' Cup Mile helped internationalize America's Championship Day of Racing; it brought horses from Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East to compete against the U.S.' best. And while the turf may not be the racing surface of choice in this country, the appreciation and support for grass racing has grown thanks to the Breeders' Cup. A look back at some past memories of the Breeders' Cup Mile can be yours!
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|