10/22/2015 12:51PM

Crist: Did You Know... á la Breeders’ Cup


Let’s take a snapshot of the Breeders’ Cup pre-entry class of 2015:

There are exactly 200 individual horses pre-entered for the 13 Cup races Oct. 30-31, an average of 15.38 per race. They have combined to make 2,341 career starts and have won 883 of them, a 37.7 percent victory rate.

Their total earnings of $135.5 million work out to an average of $677,650 per horse. Exclude the 69 lightly raced 2-year-olds from the equation, and the remaining 131 have earned $126.35 million, an average of $964,503. Yes, the average Breeders’ Cup pre-entrant ages 3 and up is just $35,497 short of being a millionaire.

That lofty number is, of course, skewed by the strength at the top. There are “only” 41 actual millionaires, who account for $81.3 million. Eleven have earned $2 million or more, including six with earnings of $3 million or higher: Golden Horn (Turf) at $6.05 million, American Pharoah (Classic) at $5.90 million, Beholder (Classic) at $4.43 million, Untapable (Distaff) at $3.81 million, Stephanie’s Kitten (Filly and Mare Turf) at $3.19 million, and Tonalist (Classic) with $3.09 million.

Those six are among the 11 pre-entrants with three or more Grade/Group 1 victories. Beholder leads the way with nine, followed by American Pharoah with seven, Untapable and Private Zone (Sprint) at five each, and Big Blue Kitten (Turf), Gleneagles (Classic), Golden Horn, and Stephanie’s Kitten with four apiece. In all, 66 of the 200 pre-entrants are Grade/Group 1 winners and have combined to win 120 such races. A total of 123 of the 200 have won a graded or group stakes of some kind.

You would think that every Grade 1 winner or millionaire would have made the cut for starting berths, but you would be wrong. Grade 1 winners Peace and War (Distaff) and Personal Diary (Filly and Mare Turf) and $1.01 million earner Alsvid (Sprint) are all on the also-eligible list for their races.

In addition to the 69 2-year-old pre-entrants, there are 33 3-year-olds, 41 4-year-olds, 34 5-year-olds, 17 6-year-olds, five 7-year-olds, and one 8-year-old – Nates Mineshaft, the seventh also-eligible for the Sprint and the fourth also-eligible for the Dirt Mile. The 200 include 80 colts or horses, 85 fillies and mares, 32 geldings, and three ridglings.

Nates Mineshaft also has the highest career Beyer Speed Figure on the pre-entry list, a 115 he earned in April 2012 in winning the New Orleans Handicap. The next-highest figures, all earned this year, are the 114s posted by Beholder in the Pacific Classic and Liam’s Map (Dirt Mile) in the Woodward, then 113s for Honor Code’s Whitney and Sprint entrant Runhappy’s King’s Bishop. Of the 26 horses who have never run in the United States, the three top Racing Post Ratings all belong to Golden Horn, who received a 132 in winning the Coral Eclipse and 127s for his victories in the Epsom Derby and Arc de Triomphe.

Nates Mineshaft is one of three who lead the pre-entrants with 34 career starts, joined by Big John B. (Turf) and Something Extra (Turf Sprint). Next come Sprint entrants Alsvid and Stallwalkin’ Dude, with 33 starts each, then Salutos Amigos, with 32. A total of 37 horses have made 20 or more career starts.

Beholder is one of three 15-time winners, along with La Verdad (Filly and Mare Sprint) and The Pizza Man (Turf). Big John B and Big Blue Kitten (Turf) are next with 14 victories each, and 10 others have 10 or more wins.

Chad Brown leads all trainers with 14 pre-entrants, 13 of them in grass races. He is followed by Todd Pletcher (12), Aidan O’Brien (7), and Mark Casse and Wesley Ward, with six each. Steve Asmussen and Doug O’Neill have five apiece, and David Jacobson, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Dale Romans round out the top 10 with four pre-entrants each.

Bob Baffert has had 89 Cup starters in the past, and Shug McGaughey has had 60, but this year both are starting just one horse – American Pharoah (Baffert) and Honor Code (McGaughey) in the Classic.

So, where do all these horses come from? Kentucky, for the most part. An overwhelming 132 of the 200 pre-entrants are Kentucky-breds – 66 percent of all pre-entrants and 81.9 percent of the 161 pre-entrants bred in the United States. The remaining 29 American-breds are from Florida (10), California and New York (5), Pennsylvania (3), Virginia (2), and one each from Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and West Virginia.

Of the 39 foreign-bred pre-entrants, 24 were bred in Ireland, with seven from Britain, five from Canada, and one each from Argentina, Chile, and Japan. In the Filly and Mare Turf, 12 of the 20 pre-entrants were bred overseas, including nine from Ireland.

Ten stallions sired 56 of the 200 entrants (28 percent), led by Tapit (10), Kitten’s Joy (7), Galileo (6), Scat Daddy (6), Bernardini (5), Hard Spun (5), Medaglia d’Oro (5), City Zip (4), Curlin (4), and War Front (4).

Now all that’s left to do is divining the 13 winners. Get to work.