There are few horse racing events on the calendar that capture the imagination as much as the Breeders’ Cup. It is the one event that competitors from around the world take on each other, with some of the most lucrative purses available in the biggest races.
But, which horses have experienced more success than most when it comes to races at the Breeders’ Cup throughout history?
There are few horses that are more synonymous with being Breeders’ Cup winners than Zenyatta. The legendary female superstar remains the highest-earning horse in the history of the event, as she has won over $4.6 million throughout her career.
Her first victory at the Breeders’ Cup came in 2008, as she delivered a sensational performance to land the Distaff.
However, her strong performances would continue into 2009, as she would add the Vanity Handicap, Lady’s Secret Stakes, and finally, the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The success saw her named American Champion Older Female Horse in 2009, before she would later pick up the award for American Horse of the Year in 2010. Her only career defeat would come in the 2010 Classic, as she was beaten by Blame by a head.
Zenyatta’s young daughter Zilkha is now one to look out for, as she is already training at Santa Anita.
Before Zenyatta took over the record for the most prize money won by a Breeders’ Cup hero, the record was held by Tiznow. The legendary runner experienced a lot of success throughout his career, which included back-to-back victories in the Classic.
He remains the only horse to have successfully defended his Classic title, which was something that Zenyatta almost managed to achieve. Tiznow’s first Classic success saw him named as the American Horse of the Year in 2000, before he was sent off as the fourth favorite for the Classic in 2001.
That was a star-studded edition of the race, with European superstars Galileo and Sakhee both also involved. However, it would be Tiznow that would get the victory, with commentator Tom Durkin calling it a win for America.
Few horses have been able to win two Breeders’ Cup races, but Beholder holds the esteemed record of winning three races at the Breeders’ Cup. She first landed victory in the Juvenile Fillies in 2012, before then later completing a famous double in the Distaff. Her first success in the Distaff came in 2013, before she would emulate that feat three years later in stunning fashion. She also holds more records, as she is the only runner since 1976 to land Grade 1 victories at the ages of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
She was a multiple time graded winner throughout her career, and her reputation saw her enter the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame at the very first time that she was eligible in 2022. Overall during her career, she won over $6 million in prize money, but it was her reputation at the Breeders’ Cup that always showed that she was the horse for the big occasion.
Goldikova is the only other horse to have recorded three victories in Breeders’ Cup races. She was the star performer on the turf in Europe for trainer Freddy Head, but it was at the Breeders’ Cup were she solidified her place in the history books. She landed ten Group 1 wins throughout her career, with three coming in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Her first success in that race came in 2008, before she would later win the same race again in both 2009 and 2010. She also made history and became a four-time winner at the Breeders’ Cup but she was beaten by just over a length in the Mile in 2011 by Court Vision.