He’s come a long way since his Triple Crown days; after the Preakness, he won just one race during the rest of 2014 and all of 2015, but he’s been unbeatable in 2016, winning six races while hardly being challenged. A dominant win in the Dubai World Cup—the world’s richest horse race—made him a record-breaker with more than $12 million in earnings, more than any other horse in North American racing history. He’s poised to become Horse of the Year for the second time in his career.
In the scheme of America’s greatest races, there are few that California Chrome hasn’t won. But one that has eluded him thus far is the Breeders’ Cup Classic, coming up on November 5th at Santa Anita racetrack in California. The Classic is arguably the greatest race in the country, even greater than the Kentucky Derby. Year after year, it draws the best racehorses in the United States and even a few from Europe, making it a tremendous challenge to win.
California Chrome has run in the Classic once before, finishing a close third in 2014. Now, he’s back and ready to give the great race another try. To win, he’ll have to defeat a fantastic group of challengers that includes the record-breaking Travers Stakes winner Arrogate, as well as Frosted, who won the historic Metropolitan Handicap earlier this year with stunning ease. But if California Chrome can get the job done, the victory would make him one of the most decorated champions in the history of the sport, and forever secure him a place among the truly great racehorses.
But California Chrome isn’t the only star running at the Breeders’ Cup. The World Championships of Thoroughbred racing is 13 races held over two days at a variety of distances, on dirt and turf, based on age and sex of the horse.
One of the most anticipated races of the event is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which will be held on Nov. 4, 2016. The legendary mare Beholder, winner of two previous Breeders’ Cup races in 2012 and 2013, will seek to end her long career on a winning note in the Distaff. To do so, she’ll have to defeat fellow champions Stellar Wind and Songbird, the latter a sensational 3-year-old filly that is unbeaten and unchallenged in 11 races, earning comparisons to famous fillies like Ruffian and Rachel Alexandra.
All told, 11 previous Breeders’ Cup champions will be in action at Santa Anita, including the popular sprinter Runhappy, who will try to carry his amazing sprinting speed a full mile in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live on NBC Sports starting at 7 p.m. ET on Nov. 5, 2016, while the rest of the Breeders’ Cup races will be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 5 p.m. ET on Friday and 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Be sure to tune in and watch as California Chrome, Beholder, Songbird and the rest of the talented horses race for victory at Santa Anita!
About the Author: J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and racing enthusiast who considers Zenyatta to be his all-time favorite racehorse. He is the founder of the horse racing website TheTurfBoard.com and writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.