The Breeders Cup Ladies Classic is a prestigious Group One annual horse race which takes place at the Breeders Cup meeting, which is usually held at the end of October or beginning of November.
Run over a distance of nine furlongs, the race is a weight for age contest exclusive to fillies and mares from three years-old upwards. The race has been in existence since 1984, the year that the Breeders Cup meeting first took place.
The name of the race was changed to its current title in 2007 having been previously known as the ‘Breeders Cup Distaff’ – although many people still recognise the race by that old, familiar name.
As with the rest of the Breeders Cup races, automatic qualification for the Ladies Classic can be attained through success in other Group One contests which take place throughout the racing season.
Winners of the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita, Ruffian Stakes at Saratoga, Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park and Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keenland, all receive an automatic berth into the race and consequently, on most occasions, assume their place at the top of the betting market.
For anyone who is largely unfamiliar with the day to day racing scene in the U.S.A, betting on this particular championship race can be an extremely tricky task.
As all of the qualification races take place in America, horses from the rest of the world, including Britain, don’t really get a look in. This makes it difficult to truly assess the form ahead of the race without visual notes from the past at your disposal.
Typically, horses with a certain ‘profile’ tend to win the race so it is vital that the punter makes a concerted effort to understand the logistics of the race and what is required to win.
Certain trainers really stand out in regards to the history of the race, with popular trainer D. Wayne Lukas having triumphed on four occasions, the latest however coming in 2000 courtesy of Spain.
Lukas’s earlier successes came in consecutive years, 1985-1987, a treble which does a lot to boost his standing in Breeders Cup folklore.
Mike E. Smith rode the impressive Zenyatta to a blistering victory in 2008, setting a new record time for the race. Smith has also enjoyed four wins in the race and any potential mount he has warrants respect.
Prize money for the race has doubled in recent years to $2 million, putting it on an equal standing with the majority of other Breeders Cup races. If one thing is concrete, it is the fact that the race is bound to be competitive and full of quality with such big reward and recognition at stake. As for the punters stakes, it may be advisable to follow the money and keep a keen eye on reports from connections leading up to the race.
Like any high-status flat race, it really can be fine margins that make the difference so make sure any selection for the race is physically spot on at such a late stage of the year.