The Breeders Cup: How the Best of the Best are Selected
Everyone in the horse racing world must dream of taking part in the Breeders Cup, a premier U.S. event every November. Television screens, satellites, and computers have made life easy for punters and spectators, for they can now enjoy the event at their leisure even if they do not make it to the race track on time. However, the number of horses and riders which can take part is strictly limited, so much competition starts way before the actual race starts! Getting the honor to race for the Breeders Cup is a kind of recognition in its own right, and the organizers have had to come up with rigorous criteria for choosing contestants.
Though the Breeders Cup is a United States horse racing event, it attracts fervent interest throughout the world. Indeed, France and Ireland can take credit for sending some of the best thoroughbreds to have ever fought for this coveted prize. This global fever makes life even more difficult for organizers, for they have to choose from the best in the world, rather than from their home country alone. How does anyone know which horses and riders should be selected to race for each year’s Breeders Cup?
Nominations for the Breeders Cup start much in advance, and even the race order and handicaps are fixed well in advance. Competitors from other continents have plenty of time to acclimatize to local conditions at the site chosen for each year’s race. The extensive prior information adds to the romance of the event, but it also allows enthusiastic punters to consider their wagers with care. There is no shortage of advice on likely winners, but once the race starts it is every person for himself or herself! Detailed analyses of past events can help to a limited extent only, because the field and the course changes each year. Truthfully, there is little to choose between top contenders, because each has such a brilliant record behind it. Weather plays a role in determining ultimate winners, so much public attention is diverted to the vagaries of November temperatures and precipitation!