34th Breeders’ Cup
Friday and Saturday • Del Mar Racetrack • NBCSN and Ch. 11
Friday’s action is just the warmup for $28 million Breeders’ Cup weekend at Del Mar
What: The $28 million, 13-race season-ending thoroughbred world championships.
Where: Nestled in a seaside resort north of San Diego, Del Mar will be hosting its first Breeders’ Cup. The track made a first big splash in 1938 when Seabiscuit, a national hero in the depths of the Great Depression, beat Ligaroti by a nose in a match race. The track is home to several prestigious races, including the $1 million Pacific Classic. But the Breeders’ Cup will elevate it to another level as an international showcase for racing’s biggest stars.
Day 1: Four races beginning at 4:25 p.m. on NBCSN. The marque race is the $2 million Distaff at 6:35 p.m. That’s where Stellar Wind, the 5-2 favorite, takes a third and final crack at a victory while John Sadler, her trainer, looks to end his 0-for-39 Breeders’ Cup drought. Stellar Wind was second in 2015 and fourth last year. The 5-year-old mare is 3-for-3 in 2017. She will break from post No. 2.
Day 2: Nine races (12:30 to 7 p.m. on NBCSN; 7 to 8 p.m. on Ch. 11) that culminate with the $6 million Classic, where defending winner Arrogate tops a quartet from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert aiming to derail 4-year-old Gun Runner, the beast of East Coast racing. Gun Runner, the slight 9-5 favorite, breaks from the No. 5 post while Arrogate starts from the rail as the 2-1 second choice.
Notes: Arrogate is the world’s all-time leading money earner with $17.3 million. … The Classic field will not include any of this year’s Triple Crown winners: Always Dreaming (Kentucky Derby), Cloud Computing (Preakness) and Tapwrit (Belmont Stakes). … Baffert is going for an unprecedented fourth straight victory in the Classic, after winning the past three years with Bayern, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Arrogate. Regardless of the outcome, Baffert will set a Classic record as the first trainer to saddle four horses in the race. … Attendance will be capped at 38,000 for both Friday and Saturday.