Santa Anita Park has been home to some memorable Breeders’ Cup races over the years. More could happened next year when Santa Anita hosts the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.
The Breeders’ Cup will span two days (Nov. 3-4, 2023) and consist of 14 Grade 1 races. These races attract some of the top horses from around the world, including those that primarily race in Europe and Japan.
The total purse money for the two-day event will exceed $30 million. Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming noted in a press release that the California horse racing venue has been an “integral part” of the cup’s history:
“Since our founders conceived this season-ending championship four decades ago, the Breeders’ Cup has consistently been one of the leading global events in thoroughbred racing. Santa Anita’s outstanding reputation and scenic venue provide us with the ideal setting to continue to grow our audience by combining the best that racing, hospitality and entertainment have to offer.”
The last time Santa Anita Park hosted the Breeders’ Cup, the track was in peril. In early-2019, 24 horses died at the fabled track. Action taken since then has completely turned that dismal record around. In fact, the track says it ended the 2021-22 season with its best safety record ever.
Races boost area economy by $100 million
The financial stir the Breeders’ Cup causes will be a considerable one for the Los Angeles area. It will bring around $100 million to the area as patrons flood the city’s hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.
The last time the Breeders’ Cup took place at Santa Anita, in 2019, more than 109,000 fans attended. Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission President and CEO Kathryn Schloessman recognizes the significant economic impact the races provide to the area.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Breeders’ Cup back to Santa Anita Park for a record 11th time next November. This signature event will once again deliver a memorable experience for guests and significant economic impact for the greater Los Angeles region.”
Breeders’ Cup history at Santa Anita
The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the event’s premier race. The winning horse owner earns more than a 50% share of the purse, making it a huge payday.
Santa Anita has been home to some memorable Cup Classic winners over the past few years. Perhaps its most famous champion is Zenyatta, the late-running mare who won the 2009 Classic.
Zenyatta spent most of the race at the back of the pack. Her late charge down the home stretch produced a memorable call from the booth.
“Zenyatta has a lot, a lot of ground to make up. If she wins this she’ll be a super horse. … Zenyatta coming, flying on the grandstand side … This. Is. Un. Be. Lieeeevable. Zenyatta! What a performance! One we’ll never forget!”
The win was Zenyatta’s 14th and solidified her as a legendary horse. She would be named the 2010 American Horse of the Year and entered the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016.
Santa Anita first hosted its first Breeders’ Cup in 1986. Skywalker won the Classic that year and went on to sire California horse racing mainstay Bertrando. The track saw the first foreign horse win the Classic in 1993 when French stallion Arcangues crossed the line first (ironically, Bertrando ran second).
The track was the preferred site for the Breeders’ Cup from 2008 to 2014, when it hosted the event five times in eight years.
A limited number of tickets for the event are available for purchase on the Breeders’ Cup website.