Starting today and continuing every day until the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, we'll take a look at some of the great moments in Breeders' Cup history. Up first is the 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic, the first time the Breeders' Cup was held at the home of the Kentucky Derby, legendary Churchill Downs.
The 88 Classic might best be remembered as the day that Alysheba passed John Henry to become the richest thoroughbred in the history of racing. Or you may remember it as the Classic that finished up as darkness had descended on Louisville. It was also a Classic contested over a very muddy Churchill Downs main track.
The 1987 Kentucky Derby winner had lost by a nose to Ferdinand a year earlier in the 87 Classic at Hollywood Park only to come back better than ever as a four-year-old. Alysheba began his four year old campaign with three straight wins in the Strub, Santa Anita Handicap, and San Bernadino Stakes. He then suffered a pair of loses in his next two starts, his only defeats of the entire year, only to rebound to win three straight Grade 1 races and roll into the Classic as the clear favorite. In what was the final race of a brilliant career, Alysheba rallied from off the pace to take the lead just outside the eighth pole and then held off a charge by Seeking the Gold near the wire to win by a half length under the Twin Spires.
Alysheba went on to be named 1988 Horse of the Year.