Plenty of winners and losers at Del Mar’s first Breeders’ Cup
By Art Wilson
DEL MAR — There were lots of big winners over the weekend when Del Mar hosted its first Breeders’ Cup.
- Gun Runner virtually clinched Horse of the Year honors with a 2-1/4-length victory in the $6 million Classic.
- Javier Castellano won his first Bill Shoemaker Award, given to the most outstanding jockey of the World Championships each year.
- Local trainer Peter Miller won the first two Breeders’ Cup races of his career, including a 1-2 finish in the Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy.
- Good Magic became the first maiden to win the Juvenile, perhaps stamping himself as the early favorite for next spring’s Kentucky Derby.
But the biggest winners of all were the Breeders’ Cup and Del Mar, the latter of which staged one of the most successful World Championships in history. There were many naysayers who thought Del Mar was too small to host the event, but the seaside track came through in a big way.
The two-day on-track wagering total of $25,181,317 was the highest ever for the event, which expanded from one day to two in 2007 and represented a 21.4 percent increase over the two-day total of $20,742,847 in 2016 at Santa Anita.
Common-pool wagering for the two days was $166,077,486 — an increase of 5.9 percent 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.
“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 in a statement. “Del Mar proved to be an extraordinary venue for our Championships.”
Said Joe Harper, Del Mar’s president and general manager: “Del Mar, […]