10/24/2013 1:32PM

Steven Crist: Breeders' Cup, by the numbers


Before we start whittling and judging and deciding who should or shouldn’t win the Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 1 and 2, let’s take a moment to look at the forest instead of the trees and consider the entire assembly of the 172 racehorses who have been pre-entered for the 14 races:

The 172 pre-entrants have combined to win 806 races from 2,071 starts and earn $122.7 million, an average per entrant of 4.6 wins from 12 starts and earnings of $713,654. (You can find summary stats for all pre-entrants, from which these numbers were drawn, on my blog.)

There are 114 males, including 29 geldings, and 58 fillies or mares. They include 53 2-year-olds, 27 3-year-olds, 49 4-year-olds, 26 5-year-olds, 13 6-year-olds, three 7-year-olds (Flat Out, Hymn Book, and Jeranimo) and one 8-year-old (Pool Play).

Pool Play leads all pre-entrants with 40 career starts, and Jeranimo is next with 37. Three of the top four in career starts are Marathon entrants: Pool Play, Indian Jones (34 starts), and Commander (32 starts).

There are 35 millionaires, including 10 with over $2 million, seven with over $3 million and four with over $4 million: Game On Dude ($5.60 million), Wise Dan ($5.19 million), Royal Delta ($4.69 million) and Fort Larned ($4.17 million). Of the 10 with over $2 million in earnings, six are running in the Classic: Game On Dude, Fort Larned, Planteur ($3.51 million), Flat Out ($3.19 million), Ron the Greek ($2.70 million), and Mucho Macho Man ($2.59 million).

[MORE: Steven Crist's Breeders' Cup pre-entries cheat sheet]

Quantity and quality rarely match up this neatly, but the two leading earners are also the leaders in career victories (as well as the leading candidates for Horse of the Year). Wise Dan (18 victories) and Game On Dude (15) have won the most races, followed by Starship Truffles (Filly & Mare Sprint) with 14, Little Mike with 13, and Commander (Marathon) and Royal Delta with a dozen apiece. Fifteen horses in all have won 10 or more races. At the other end of the spectrum, there are three maidens in the juvenile races and 17 one-win 2-year-olds.

There are 121 group or graded stakes winners in the entries, including 71 winners of Group 1 or Grade 1 races. The Classic has 11 Grade 1 winners (everyone except Last Gunfighter and Moreno), the Filly & Mare Turf has nine, the Turf has eight, and the Dirt Mile and Filly & Mare Sprint each have seven.

Of the 172 pre-entrants, 136 (79 percent) were bred in the United States, with 36 bred outside the country. Of the 136 bred in the U.S., 102 (74 percent) were bred in Kentucky, 15 in Florida, 8 in California, three each in New York and Pennsylvania, two in Virginia, and one each in Louisiana, Maryland, and West Virginia. Of New York interest: Artemis Agrotera (Juvenile Fillies), London Bridge (Marathon), and The Lumber Guy (Sprint) will be trying to snap a 0-for-50 record by New York-breds in Breeders’ Cup history.

The 36 foreign-breds hail from Ireland (13), Great Britain (9), Canada (6), France (4), Argentina (2), and Brazil (2). Of the 26 European-breds, 25 are running in grass races, with only Planteur (Classic) trying the dirt.

The 172 entrants were sired by 118 different stallions. It only seems like Kitten’s Joy sired half of them. Actually, Kitten’s Joy and Tapit have six apiece, followed by Empire Maker, Ghostzapper, Smarty Jones, Speightstown, and War Front with four each, then Broken Vow, Dansili, English Channel, Harlan’s Holiday, and Unbridled’s Song with three each. Another 20 stallions have two entrants each, and 86 stallions have a single runner.

Eleven trainers have a combined 70 entrants, led by Chad Brown with 11 (five of them Kitten’s Joys.) Next come Todd Pletcher and Doug O’Neill with nine pre-entrants apiece, Bob Baffert with eight, and a quartet with five each: D. Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott, Aidan O’Brien, and Dale Romans. Mark Casse, Richard Mandella, and Kiaran McLaughlin each have four.

It’s quite an entourage of horseflesh. It almost seems a shame that 158 of the 172 have to lose, but that’s horse racing.