The Breeders’ Cup is the biggest two days of championship racing each year, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is its marquee event. A full field of the best horses in training, including Accelerate, West Coast, and European invaders Mendelssohn and Thunder Snow, is expected to compete in the 2018 Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Go behind the numbers of this year’s Classic with the facts and figures below.
1 ¼ miles- The distance of the race. It’s known as the “classic” distance in American racing and is the same distance as the Kentucky Derby.
2- The number of Breeders’ Cup Classic wins by Tiznow (2000 and 2001). He’s the only horse to have won it twice.
3- Despite the retirement of his latest Triple Crown winner Justify, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has three horses pre-entered in this year’s Classic: Collected, McKinzie, and West Coast. Baffert will try for his fourth win in the race.
5- The Classic has been decided by a nose on five occasions, most recently when Bayern defeated Toast of New York in 2014.
5- The number of 2018 wins for expected favorite Accelerate. His only loss was a second-place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap in April.
6 ½ lengths- The record-breaking winning margin when American Pharoah won the 2015 Classic.
9- The number of Grade 1 wins on the turf by 2018 contenders Roaring Lion (four), Thunder Snow (two), Catholic Boy (one), Mendelssohn (one), and Yoshida (one). Catholic Boy, Thunder Snow, and Yoshida also have Grade 1 wins on the dirt.
16- Total number of horses top international trainer Aidan O’Brien has raced in the Classic, with two runner-up finishes and a third-place effort to show for it. This year he runs Mendelssohn, who unlike many of O’Brien’s past contenders has already won a dirt graded stakes.
18- The number of Breeders’ Cup Classic wins among the top four jockeys. Chris McCarron and Jerry Bailey each have five wins, while Mike Smith and Pat Day each have four. Mike Smith will ride McKinzie in this year’s race.
19- The number of horses pre-entered in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Only 14 can run in the race.
20- The number of times the Horse of the Year (racing’s highest year-end honor) title has gone to a horse who competed in the Classic. The Classic winner was named Horse of the Year on 13 of those occasions, including Gun Runner last year.
22- The number of times the Classic winner was age 4 or older. In the other 12 editions, the winner was a 3-year-old.
26.5%- The success rate of the betting favorite in the race. The favorite has won nine of 34 editions.
$26.67- Average winning payout on a $2 win bet on the Classic winner. It has the highest average payout of any current Breeders’ Cup race.
35- This year is the 35th edition of the race. It has been the Breeders’ Cup centerpiece since the event’s inception in 1984.
$64.60- Winning $2 payout on the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Classic, when Wild Again won at odds of 31.30-1 in 1984.
$269.20- The record $2 win payout in the Classic, when Arcangues won at the astronomical odds of 133.60-1 in 1993. It’s the highest win payout in the entire Breeders’ Cup event history.
$478,650- Average amount that West Coast has earned in each of his 12 career starts. His total earnings top $5.7 million.
$2,534,740- Average career earnings among the 19 horses pre-entered for this year’s race. Just three have earned less than $1 million.
$6,000,000- Total purse of this year’s Classic. The winner gets $3.3 million of that.
$8,531,476- Career earnings of 2018 contender Thunder Snow to date, more than any other horse in the race.
$9,171,318- Total dollars wagered on the 2017 Classic exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. Another $7,522,411 was bet on any horse to finish first, second, or third in the race.