This November will see the top talent from Europe and North America go head-to-head in the 1 ½ mile Breeders Cup Turf in pursuit of the $3 million purse. Ryan Moore guided Aidan O’Brien’s Magician to victory last year, seeing the trainer join Sir Michael Stoute as the joint-record Breeders Cup winning trainer with his fourth victory. While Frankie Dettori holds the record for the most victories, winning the Breeders Cup Turf a record four-times, the first in 1999 and his last victory coming in 2010.
Some of the World’s finest horses have competed in the Grade 1 race since it’s inception in 1984 and we have ranked the top-5 Turf horses in Breeders Cup history. And if you want to bet on this year’s Turf race, you can get a free £20 bet by clicking on the link. But first, take a look at our top-5 Breeders Cup Turf horses and see if you agree with us.
Rated the joint-best horse in the world during his peak, Frankie Dettori was in the saddle as Daylami won the 1999 Breeders Cup Turf. The five-year-old won the title in Gulfstream Park, Florida, becoming the first European horse to win at the venue in three attempts. The 1999 European Horse of the Year overcame the warm climate and tight-track as the Thoroughbred Champion racehorse produced a powerful late run to finish two and a half lengths in front of Royal Anthem in second and Buck’s Boy in third. The Stud retired with a record of 11 wins from 19 races in five different countries along with seven Group 1/Grade 1 victories, including the King George VI and and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the summer of 1999.
4. Fantastic Light
Another winner from Dettori, the 5-year-old ended his racing career with victory in the Breeders Cup Turf at the second attempt. The Thoroughbred finished fifth in the 2000 Breeders Cup Turf but set a course record at Belmont Park one-year-later as Dettori guided the 2001 Irish Champion Stakes winner to victory by three quarters of a length over St Leger winner Milan. Described as ‘the ultimate modern-day racehorse’, Fantastic Light collected over $8.4 million in career earnings and raced in six countries, winning Group 1/Grade 1 races in five of them and famously battled Galileo in the 2001 in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The earliest winner of the Breeders Cup Turf to make our list, Manila won the race in 1986 and was inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 2008. The Stallion is largely considered as one of the greatest Turf horses of all-time, never finishing worse than second in his 14 races. He was named as the best long-distance turf horse in American history in 2006. In 1986, he defeated Estrapade, Theatrical and Dancing Brave who all the bookies priced ahead of Manila who was available at 8/1 heading into the race and he just beat Theatrical by a head with a great late surge. He retired to stud in 1987 and died in February 2009.
2. High Chaparral
The first horse to win the Breeders Cup Turf twice, the sire raced between September 2001 and October 2003, winning 10 of his 13 races, also winning the Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Racing Post Trophy. The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish-born star produced an ‘irresistible surge’ in the final furlong as he beat With Anticipation by one and a quarter lengths to land O’Brien the first of his four victories in the race. One-year later and High Chaparral returned to the United States aiming to make history, the result was settled following a three-way photo finish with the Stud finishing in a dead height with Johar while Falbrav was back in third. The Stallion earned over $5million during his career and made history as the first horse to win back-to-back Breeders Cup Turfs with Michael Kinane the jockey on both occasions.
Ryan Moore guided Conduit to back-to-back Breeders Cup Turf victories in 2008 and 2009. The Irish-born Thoroughbred won seven of his 15 races, including Group 1/Grade 1 level races. He won the St Leger Stakes in 2008 and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2009 and he is the only horse who has two outright victories in the Breeders Cup Turf. Both his victories in the United States were under 2 minutes 24 seconds and were the two fastest times in the races long history until 2012. And both wins came at Santa Anita Park, the venue of this year’s event, as Moore and Conduit produced a strong finish to defeat Eagle Mountain by one and a half lengths. His second win was another impressive ride as the odds on favourite closed down Precious Passion’s eight length lead, winning by a length with Moore describing the colt as “a once in a life-time horse.”