Spectacular Setting, Strong Business Results at Del Mar’s First Breeders’ Cup

$25 Million On-Track Handle Sets Breeders’ Cup Record

DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 4, 2017) – Gun Runner’s thrilling victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic capped a picture-perfect day at the Del Mar racetrack, the first-time host of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Racing fans responded to the full fields of the world’s fastest horses with their support at the betting windows, as the two-day wagering totals for the event were the strongest in several years.

The two-day on-track wagering total of $25,181,317 is the highest for the event, which expanded from one day to two in 2007, and a 21.4% increase over the two-day total of $20,742,847 in 2016.

Common-pool handle on Saturday’s 12-race Breeders’ Cup card was $113,803,603, a 6% increase over the $107,210,210 wagered in 2016.

Saturday’s full-card on-track handle of $15,981,250 was the highest since 2006, the last year the Breeders’ Cup Championships were conducted over one day.

Common-pool wagering for the two days was $166,077,486 an increase of 5.9% over the 2016 total of $156,861,811. The total handle was the highest since the 2010 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs when there were two additional Breeders’ Cup races.

Saturday’s on-track handle was $15,900,813, an increase of 18% over the $13,563,884 wagered on track at Santa Anita last year. The on-track handle at Del Mar for the two days was $25,181,317.

“We were treated to world championship performances over two days of the very best in international racing, combined with spectacular weather, smooth operations and excellent customer service from our hosts at Del Mar,” Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel said. “Del Mar proved to be an extraordinary venue for our Championships and we want to thank its staff, our volunteers and the greater San Diego community for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to our guests from around the world. We also want to thank racing fans for their enthusiastic support of our event.”

DEL MAR, CA – NOVEMBER 04: Spectators crowd the paddock before the Breeders’ Cup Classic race on Day 2 of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar Racing Club on November 4, 2017 in Del Mar, California. (Photo by Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup/

“Del Mar, its staff and the community of San Diego absolutely shone for this Breeders’ Cup,” said Joe Harper, president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “I could not be more proud of the effort that was put forth by everyone at our racetrack and all the folks in San Diego who jumped on board for this marvelous event and made it into something spectacular. This was racing at its best; it was Del Mar at its best; and it was San Diego being all it could be.  It was a complete winner.”

Saturday’s attendance was 37,692. The two-day attendance was 70,420. For the comfort of its guests and because of Del Mar’s smaller capacity, Breeders’ Cup limited ticket sales to 37,500 for each day.

Breeders’ Cup Two-Day Attendance and Handle (common-pool) history: 

2016, Santa Anita Park – 118,484; $156,861,811

2015, Keeneland Race Course – 94,652; $149,869,035

2014, Santa Anita Park – 98,319; $151,158,813

2013, Santa Anita Park – 94,628; $160,704,877

2012, Santa Anita Park – 89,742; $144,272,332

2011, Churchill Downs – 105,820; $161,512,867

2010, Churchill Downs – 114,353; $173,857,697

2009, Santa Anita Park – 96,496; $153,271,176

2008, Santa Anita Park – 86,588; $155,740,328

2007, Monmouth Park – 69,584; $129,197,262





DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 4, 2017) – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner ($6.80) went to the front shortly after the break and never trailed as he defeated Collected by 2 ¼ lengths to win the 34th running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon to close the first Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar racetrack before a crowd of 37,692.

Defending champion and favored Arrogate finished in a dead heat for fifth in his bid to join Tiznow (2000-2001) as the only back-to-back winner of the Classic.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Florent Geroux, Gun Runner covered the 1 ¼ miles on a fast main track in 2:01.29. Gun Runner is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Candy Ride.

It is the sixth Breeders’ Cup victory for Asmussen and second in the Classic, having prevailed 10 years ago at Monmouth Park with Curlin. It is the fourth Breeders’ Cup victory for Geroux and first in the Classic.

It was the fifth victory in six starts in 2017 for Gun Runner and fourth Grade 1 triumph. It also avenged his lone defeat to Arrogate, who had prevailed by 2 ¼ lengths in the Dubai World Cup in March.

Gun Runner went to the front at the break and Collected immediately took up the chase. The two raced through early fractions of 22 2/5, 46 1/5 and 1:10 2/5 in their own little duel.

Leaving the far turn, Collected made one more run at Gun Runner but was quickly rebuffed as Gun Runner drew away to improve his career mark to 18-11-3-2.

West Coast finished another 1 ¼ lengths back in third and was followed in order by War Story, Arrogate and Gunnevera who dead-heated for fifth, Churchill, Mubtaahij, War Decree, Pavel and Win the Space.


Official results of the BCBC can be found here.   

The contest has a $10,000 entry fee of which $2,500 is added to the prize pool and $7,500 is used for live wagers over the two days of Breeders’ Cup.  The winner, Nisan Gabbay, had a final bankroll of $176,000. First prize was estimated at $300,000.   Brian Kubik of Chaska won his way to the event through his first-place finish in Canterbury’s annual Dog Days of Summer Tournament. He finished with $4,551,  113th of 435 entries. Other Minnesotans included Lisa Herrity who finished fourth overall with $87,183 and will earn an additional $110,000 in prize money. Horse owner and handicapper Dan Flanigan was 33rd with $22,678. Mike Ferrozzo, currently in the Top 5 on the NHC Tour, was 65th with $11,570.




Welcome to the Gun Show: Gun Runner Tops the Derby Contender List


by @MizPostParade

The Road to Kentucky is a muddy road. It certainly isn’t paved with rose petals.  We can all admit it now, we all knew American Pharoah was unstoppable during the Triple Crown races, yet we all tried to beat him, but that’s what horseplayers do.  We also knew that California Chrome was going to win the Kentucky Derby, but after that he became a beaten favorite.  The previous two Derby champions were basically locked in and the real challenge was finding the big payday exacta.

But the road to the first Saturday in May this year seems less clear.  It’s been an interested path so far, to say the least.  After the Risen Star, I was left dumbfounded, exclaiming “what is happening?!”  That giant “thud” you heard after the Risen Star was Airoforce dropping off everyone’s Derby list.  The distance was too much, his take to the surface was uncertain.  Too much for Airoforce to deal with, and he basically decided before he even got to the stretch in that race that he just didn’t want to do this anymore.  A typical 3-year old.

I was very impressed with Mo Tom who finished third and got a few more points.  The LeComte winner had a rough trip and couldn’t really get rolling, but still managed to finish third.  It’s a learning experience and one which was needed for this son of Uncle Mo.  He ran in the LeComte on January 16 and the Risen Sun on February 20.  I hope this gutsy horse gets some rest before his next race.  He’s definitely on my radar.

Equally impressive was the second-place finisher in the Risen Star, another Uncle Mo colt, Forevamo.  If you bet that angle, you scored big.  The Risen Star is important because it’s the first Derby prep race when the point totals begin to increase.  Each Derby prep race from the Risen Star to the Sunland Derby on March 20 increases to 50 points for first, 20 for second, 10 for third and 5 for fourth.  The 100 point races begin with the UAE Derby on March 26 and continue until the Kentucky Derby (with a few exceptions in between).

The eventual winner of the Risen Star, Gun Runner, bumped into Airoforce early in the race and maybe that is one more factor contributing to Airoforce’s poor performance. Regardless of Airoforce’s plummet, Gun Runner catapulted to first place in the early Derby standings with his 50 point victory in the Risen Star.

Top sires Tapit and Pioneerof the Nile have always produced top-quality racehorses.  This year, it’s the offspring of Eclipse Award winner and multiple graded stakes winner, Uncle Mo.  He has two for sure, possibly three, in Mo Tom, Forevamo and the undefeated Nyquist.  Mohaymen is sired by Tapit.  He’s a big grey colt, tough, confident and remains at the top of my Derby list.

The current Top 10 (based on points earned) are:

Gun Runner


Mor Spirit

Mo Tom



Sunny Ridge



Brody’s Cause


But this is such an early list and the road to Kentucky is long and misleading at this point.  So much can happen before these talented 3-year-olds enter the gates at the Kentucky Derby.  For example, Twitter was chirping that Mor Spirit was pulled up during his Tuesday morning work.  Of course, trainer Bob Baffert glossed over the incident by saying the horse was fine and there didn’t appear to be any injury to the horse.  The Baffert camp is never going to let on if there was an injury to the horse, even a minor one.  (Let the games begin.)

Let’s not forget the winner of the Southwest at Oaklawn Park, Suddenbreakingnews, who is ridden by jockey Luis Quinonez.  Suddenbreakingnews only received 10 points for his win in the Southwest, but if he can come back and win the Arkansas Derby, he’ll gobble up 100 points and make his chances of being in the gates on the first Saturday in May a reality.

And then there’s Smokey Image, an extremely talented runner in California who should be seeking out Derby races and hopefully will be entered in the Santa Anita Derby.  Smokey Image is undefeated in six starts and most-recently won the California Cup Derby at Santa Anita.  He broke his maiden first time out and has won five stakes races in a row.  Someone get this horse in Derby prep race.

And, don’t get me started on the Kentucky Oaks contenders.  Venus Valentine broke my heart.