Breeders Cup Upsets
When you bring together the best horses from around the world, fireworks usually ensue, and since the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, we have seen the toteboard light up many times.
Here are a few of the most memorable upsets in Breeders’ Cup history:
Arcangues (1993 Classic)
When hall of fame trainer Jerry Bailey went to the paddock to ride Arcangues, it was the first time he had laid eyes on the European invader, and he could not understand the French trainer Andre Fabre’s instructions. That did not stop Bailey from guiding the longshot to a two length victory, with track announcer Tom Durkin exclaiming, “He’s 99/1!”
That is the highest number the toteboard shows, and the upset winner actually went off at 133/1, returning bettors that backed him $269.20 for $2 wager.
Lashkari (1984 Turf)
It did not take long for the Breeders’ Cup toteboard to light up. In the very first running of the Turf, Lashkari shipped in from France to pull off the upset at odds of 53/1.
The upset winner was ridden by Yves Saint Cloud and paid $108.80 for a $2 wager.
Spain (2000 Distaff)
Hall of fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas saddled Spain to the biggest upset in the history of the Distaff (now called the Ladies’ Classic). Spain was sent off at 56/1 while the betting favorite Riboletta, sent off at odds of 2/5 was not a threat in a seventh place finish.
Spain, with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, saved ground much of the trip, opened up in the stretch and held on to win by 1 ½ lengths, returning $113.80 for a $2 wager.
Caressing (2000 Juvenile Fillies)
Piloted by jockey John Velazquez, Caressing came with a six wide rally to pull off the big upset in the 2000 Juvenile Fillies, returning $96.00 for a $2 wager.
Caressing was trained by David Vance, and combined with 11/1 longshot Platinum Tiiara for a $2 exacta that returned $940.60.
Shared Account (2010 Filly & Mare Turf)
The Graham Motion trained Shared Account made a rousing late rally to land in a three way photo for the win, and got her head in front at the wire at odds of 46/1.
The mare was ridden to victory by Edgar Prado and returned $94.00, with the Midday having to settle for the runner up spot at 4/5 betting odds.
Miss Alleged (1991 Turf)
Miss Alleged took on the boys in the 1991 Turf and showed so little respect that she was part of a three horse betting entry sent off at 41/1.
Trained by Bary Pascal and ridden by Eric Legrix, the filly paid her backers $86.20 for a $2 wager.
Volponi (2002 Classic)
Jose Santos piloted Volponi to a big upset at Arlington Park at 43/1, drawing clear to win by 6 ½ lengths over the betting favorite Medaglia d’Oro.
What was even more shocking after the race was the fact that multiple people had hit the Pick 6, despite the upset win in the final leg of the wager.
It turned out that Chris Harn and a couple of his buddies had cracked into the tote system and were holding multiple winning Pick 6 tickets thanks to a cheating scam.
The Fix 6 boys did some jail time for the scam, but anyone holding a $2 win ticket on Volponi still received $89.00.
Dakota Phone (2010 Dirt Mile)
Joel Rosario piloted Dakota Phone to the biggest upset in the history of the Dirt Mile last year at Churchill Downs.
The gelding came with a five wide rally and got up late to prevail by a head over Morning Line, paying $77.40 for a $2 wager.
Wild Again (1984 Classic)
The very first Breeders’ Cup Classic provided one of the biggest upsets, as the Vincent Timphony trained Wild Again prevailed by a head over Gate Dancer (who was disqualified for interference and placed third), returning $64.60 for a $2 wager.
Gate Dancer interfered with the heavy favorite Slew O’ Gold, who was bumped around on the far turn and the stretch.
Wild Again was ridden to victory by hall of fame trainer Pat Day.
Vale of York (2009 Juvenile)
The overseas invader with little known jockey Ahmed Ajtebi aboard pulled off the shocker in the 2009 Juvenile, beating the 2/1 betting favorite Lookin At Lucky by a head at odds of 30/1.
The colt returned $63.20 for the win and topped a $2 exacta that returned $334.80.
Owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the colt only made one start after the big upset, a fifth place finish in a listed stake in Dubai.