Top 10 Breeders’ Cup Turf Finishes

By Ray Wallin

Whether you are a casual racing fan or you make your living playing the races, the Breeders’ Cup offers great excitement and value. The Breeders’ Cup Turf may have produced the greatest finishes of the Breeders’ Cup races, including the only dead heat in BC history when High Chaparral and Johar hit the finish line together in 2003. Interestingly, there have been no winners of this race that were older than five years old.

#1 The Lone BC Dead Heat

In 2003, High Chaparral was back to defend his 2002 win. He would find himself hitting the wire with both Johar and Falbrav in what would ultimately be a dead heat with the three horses across the track.


#2 La Fraise Sucree

In 1992, there would be a sweet upset as Fraise would catch the favorite Sky Classic late. Fraise would come up the rail to win by a head in a great finish.


#3 Prized Victory By a Nose

In 1989, the Neil Drysdale trainee would battle down the stretch to beat Sierra Roberta. This would be Drysdale’s and jockey Eddie Delahoussaye’s only win in this race.


#4 The North Remembers

In 1995, Northern Spur would press the front-runner Turk Passer and later hold off the late run of Freedom Cry to give both trainer Ron McAnally and jockey Chris McCarron their only Breeders’ Cup Turf wins.


#5 Kotashaan is Better Than Good

Kotashaan was the favorite in 1993 and while sitting ninth was never more than five lengths off the lead. He would run down Bien Bien late in the stretch to notch an exciting victory.


#6 A Thrilla for Manila

In 1975, the third and final boxing match between the great Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was contested in the Philippines. Ali would win by technical knockout. This fight is always ranked in the best in sports history. In 1976, a horse named Manila would get up in the final strides to beat Theatrical in an exciting race.


#7 A Theatrical Finish

A year after a dramatic loss to Manila in the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Turf, Theatrical would earn some redemption Trempolino would take the lead in the stretch only for Theatrical to battle back and hold a short lead through much of the stretch, earning redemption for his loss a year earlier.


#8 A Magical Win

In 2013, jockey Ryan Moore would get his third of four winners in this race with Magician. The favorite, La Fugue, would be clear by a length during the stretch only to lose his lead in the final strides to the late running Magician, who paid a handsome $27 to win.


#9 Enable the Winner

In 2018, jockey Frankie Dettori notched his fifth win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf after a stretch battle with Magical. The previous year’s winner, Talismanic, would be a non-factor late in this race. Enable, now considered one of the best mares ever, has won 13 of 15 career races.


#10 The Chief Wins

In 1997, the favorite would need a late charge to secure victory for trainer Mark Frostad. This future Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer would get up in the final yards to secure victory.

Honestly, the Breeders’ Cup Turf has been the hardest race to rate so far. Of the 35 Breeders’ Cup Turf races, I had a hard time narrowing down 22 races to the top 10. Who would have thought that the longest Breeders’ Cup race would also be the most exciting?

Below are links to previously published Top Finishes in Breeders’ Cup races:

BC Filly & Mare Turf:

BC Juvenile Fillies:

BC Juvenile:

BC Sprint:

BC Mile: