By the Numbers: 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic

Racing
Unbeaten Flightline, above, is expected to be the overwhelming favorite for the 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland for trainer John Sadler. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the most important races in the world and the horses who compete in it race for a share of a $6 million purse that also makes it one of the richest races globally.

This year’s race will be held Nov. 5 at Keeneland Race Course and – as it usually does – the Classic will have major implications on determining the winner of Horse of the Year at the 2022 Eclipse Awards.

Go behind the numbers of this year’s Classic with the facts and figures below.


0 – The number of losses expected Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Flightline has in five career starts. Considered by most to be the fastest active racehorse on the planet and, potentially an all-time great, he has a chance to prove that Nov. 5 at Keeneland in the Classic.

7-to-10 – Odds to win on both Hall of Famer Cigar (1996) and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015), tied for the shortest-priced winners in the race’s history with a $3.40 return on a $2 win bet. There is a chance that the aforementioned Flightline could win at shorter odds this year as he is expected to be the overwhelming favorite.

1 – The lifetime number of Breeders’ Cup wins earned by Flightline’s trainer, John Sadler, who also has five seconds and eight third-place finishes from 54 starters in the World Championships. The good news is his lone win came with another Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite: Accelerate (2018).

1 ¼ miles – The distance of the race. It’s known as the “classic” distance in American racing and it 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.

2 – The number of horses who have both won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and sired (fathered) a horse who won the Classic. Awesome Again won the race in 1998 and sired 2004 victor Ghostzapper; Curlin won the 2007 Classic and is the sire of 2019 winner Vino Rosso.

Life Is Good (Eclipse Sportswire)

3 – The length of the current winning streak for 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes winner Life Is Good, a career earner of more than $4.3 million that many pundits consider to be the prime challenger to Flightline.

5 – The Classic has been decided by a nose (the slimmest margin of victory) on five occasions, most recently when Bayern defeated Toast of New York in 2014.

5 – The record number of Breeders’ Cup Classic wins shared by Hall of Fame jockeys Jerry Bailey and Chris McCarron. Fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith has four wins in the race and could join them this year should he prevail aboard Pennsylvania Derby winner Taiba.

6 ½ lengths – The largest winning margin in the Classic, set by longshot Volponi in 2002 and matched by American Pharoah in 2015.

22 – 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 15 of those occasions, including Knicks Go last year.

$24.04 – Average winning payout on a $2 win bet on the Classic winner. It has the third-highest average payout of any current Breeders’ Cup race. The Filly and Mare Sprint ranks first at $24.65.

25 – The number of times the Classic winner was age 4 or older. In the other 13 editions, the winner was a 3-year-old.

26% – The success rate of the betting favorite in the race. The favorite has won 10 of 38 editions.

Slew o' Gold is sandwiched between Gate Dancer and Wild Again.
1984 Classic stretch drive. (Breeders' Cup photo/BloodHorse)

39 – This year is the 39th edition of the race. It has been the Breeders’ Cup centerpiece since the event’s inception in 1984.

56 – The age of Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker when he won the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Ferdinand. Shoemaker is the oldest rider to win a Breeders’ Cup race in the history of the World Championships. Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, 57, could surpass that record this year should he win aboard Taiba.

$64.60 – Winning $2 payout on the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Classic, when Wild Again won at odds of 31.30-1 in 1984.

$163.60 – The winning return on a $2 bet on Rich Strike in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. His odds will not be nearly that high in the Classic, but he should be an appealing price for his supporters.

$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.

$5,556,720 –  The career earnings of Grade 1 winner Hot Rod Charlie, which is tops among the contenders for the 2022 Classic.

$6,000,000 – Total purse of this year’s Classic. The winner gets $3.3 million of that.

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