Fastest Breeders’ Cup Times Ever- What Is The All-Time Record?

Fastest Breeders’ Cup Times Ever

4 minutes

Last Updated: September 20, 2023

Alex Zlatanovic

There are few more prestigious events on the horse racing calendar than the Breeders’ Cup. The event is staged annually, with a different track hosting the international fields every year.

This year, the Breeders’ Cup action returns to Santa Anita, with the top juveniles from around the world in action on Friday, November 3, with the championship races staged the following day.

If you want to learn more about this year’s race check out TwinSpires here.

However, speed records in some of the biggest races could be in danger this weekend, with no shortage of talent set to line up in some of the prestigious races. But, what are some of the quickest times ever recorded at the Breeders’ Cup?


The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the big race at the meeting annually, with the biggest purse available to the field competing on the dirt in the huge Grade 1.

However, no horse has been able to get near to the winning time recorded by 2004 champion Ghostzapper, who landed Classic Glory in a staggering time of 1:59.02. The legendary runner didn’t let up on his big day, as he galloped at such a speed that his rivals were picked off one by one.

His wire-to-wire victory was his fourth straight victory in 2004 after previously landing victories in the Tom Fool Handicap, Woodward Stakes, and Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap.

While Ghostzapper didn’t line up on many occasions throughout his career, he won nine from eleven starts and was later inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Midnight Lute

Midnight Lute horse racing

Of course, there is more to look forward to at the Breeders’ Cup other than the Classic, with over ten championship races staged. One of the quickest on the calendar is the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which has been won in some legendary times throughout history.

However, the speed record in the Sprint is still held by Midnight Lute, who dominated the field for trainer Bob Baffert to land a second straight success in 2008.

His second win was even more impressive than his first, as he clocked a staggering time of 1:07.08. The runner was dominant throughout his career on track, as he won six from 12 career starts over the shorter distances.

His performances saw him named the American Champion Sprint Horse in 2007, and he also landed big stakes victories in the Perryville Stakes and Forego Handicap.

Golden Pal

There is also exciting sprint action on the turf at the Breeders’ Cup, with international rivals colliding for their share of the $1 million purse. There have been some lightning-quick times set over the shorter distance throughout history, but no winners have been able to dominate the race as well as Golden Pal did at Del Mar in 2021.

The Wesley Ward-trained runner set a staggering finishing time of 54.75 to land the dominant win. The win was his second victory at the Breeders’ Cup, after previously landing the Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2020. He has won eight from 13 career starts and has won just under $2 million in prize money.

Golden Pal excelled in stakes company throughout his career and was frequently a sportsbook favorite, winning the Woodford Stakes on two occasions, and the Troy Stakes and Shakertown Stakes in 2022.

Inside Information

Inside information horse racing

The top fillies from around the world will also be in action at the Breeders’ Cup, as the Distaff is among the long-term targets for female runners on the dirt. There have been some special performances in the race throughout history, but Inside Information’s speed record remains intact.

The 1995 winner clocked a staggering finishing time of 1:46.15 when landing success for trainer Claude R. McGaughey III in the 90s. It was a staggering performance by the four-year-old, and one that many still remember to this day.

The filly was dominant throughout her career on track, as she won 14 of her 17 career starts, and she failed to finish outside of the first three during her career. Inside Information landed no shortage of top prizes, including the G1 Acorn Stakes, G1 Ashland Stakes, and the Molly Pitcher Handicap.

However, her standout win remains that 13-length victory in the Distaff at Belmont Park, which remains a record-winning margin in the race.

Highland Reel

The top international stars from around the world often descend on the Breeders’ Cup with their sights set on victory in the Turf.

However, no winner of the Grade 1 has been able to come near the finishing time record by Highland Reel for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The 2007 winner finished in a quick time of 2:23 when landing success for the legendary trainer.

Highland Reel was incredibly consistent at the top level, having recorded seven victories in the Group 1 level throughout his career. That included victories in the Jong Kong Vase, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and the Coronation Cup.

He also placed in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and holds the record for the most amount of prize money earned by a racehorse in Europe.

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