The term "thoroughbred" is sometimes tossed about rather cavalierly. But it signifies a very powerful pony, a horse able to achieve top speeds and do it in a seemingly effortless, long-strided fashion. And while thoroughbreds can be seen the world over, one of their most acclaimed annual assemblies is happening at Santa Anita Park.
It's the Breeders' Cup, a racing spectacular that carries an old prestige, a prestige that seemingly extends back beyond its three decades as an event. It's happening on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Arcadia landmark, and if you're thinking to yourself, I don't remember that from last year around this time, or the year before, you're not wrong; the event has visited a number of North American tracks over its lifetime. (All but one are in the U.S., and it was last in Southern California in 2009.)
So, what's on the racing form? Fifteen distinct competitions, including Juvenile Fillies Turf, Dirt Mile, Filly & Mare Turf, and Turf Sprint. The horses lined up to run the Classic, which is the final race of the Cup, include Royal Delta, Handsome Mike, and Flat Out.
Off the track? It's old-style swank, with viewers arriving in seersucker suits and flower-bedecked hats. Are they gussying up just for the races? Au contraire; Breeders' Cup regularly attracts celebrities and horse fans looking to raise a flute of something sparkling. Translation: There are parties heading up to the Cup itself, and some Seabiscuit-themed tours on either side of the main two days.
No worries if you're without fancy track wear; just know the sartorial stakes are raised when the Breeders' rolls into town.
General admission tickets start at $15 for Friday, but, as expected with an event of this size, there are a number of levels.
If you can't make it this year, Breeders' Cup is scheduled for a Santa Anita return in 2013; it also pulled a double Arcadia-based header in 2008 and 2009 (as it did at Churchill Downs in 2010 and 2011).