Magnificent Seven: Multi-generation winners of the same Breeders' Cup race
One of the more intriguing situations in racing occurs when a horse replicates family success by winning the same stakes that their sire or dam did during their racing days.
Approaching the conclusion of its fourth decade in existence and despite the program's expansion over the past 15 years, multi-generational success in the same Breeders' Cup race has remained a rare occurrence. Through 2021, six father/son combos have pulled off wins in the same Breeders' Cup race, while only one mother-daughter combo has done the same.
Here's a look back at these notable feats of breeding and racing.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Capote (1986) and Boston Harbor (1996)
A son of Seattle Slew, who surely would have won a Breeders' Cup race or two if it had been in existence in his day, Capote won the third edition of the Juvenile at Santa Anita over one of the deepest fields in race history, defeating the likes of Alysheba, Bet Twice, and Gulch. Capote was trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who also conditioned Boston Harbor to a narrow victory in the Juvenile at Woodbine 10 years later over a less accomplished group.
Although named champions at two, both father and son failed to train on at three due to injury and/or illness.
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Breeders' Cup Mile: Royal Academy (1990) and Val Royal (2001)
Remembered most as the lone Breeders' Cup winner for the legendary team of trainer Vincent O'Brien and jockey Lester Piggott, who had only recently returned to the saddle after a five-year spell, Royal Academy injected a much-needed bit of positive news on what was already a dark and somber day of racing at Belmont Park.
Eleven years later, against another gloomy backdrop in New York following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the California-based Val Royal repeated his sire's success by a more comfortable margin. Their feat remains the only example of a father and son winning the same Breeders' Cup race over the same track.
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: My Flag (1995) and Storm Flag Flying (2002)
Both products of the famed Phipps family breeding operation, My Flag and Storm Flag Flying recorded success in this race, albeit at different distances.
One of the more notable offspring of Easy Goer, who sired only four crops before dying prematurely, My Flag earned her first stakes win in the Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park over 1 1/16 miles. Seven years later, Storm Flag Flying capped her championship campaign by replicating her dam's half-length margin of victory in a race lengthened to 1 1/8 miles due to Arlington's track configuration.
Although they enjoyed mixed success later in their respective careers, My Flag and Storm Flag Flying are historically notable for being second- and third-generation Breeders' Cup winners. The family matriarch, the undefeated Personal Ensign, won the 1988 Distaff.
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Breeders' Cup Classic: Awesome Again (1998) and Ghostzapper (2004)
Not only were Awesome Again and Ghostzapper both owned by Frank Stronach, but they also capped undefeated four-year-old campaigns in the Classic over fields considered among the deepest in race history.
A mild surprise when taking the Classic at Churchill Downs in his career finale, Awesome Again went on to a distinguished stallion career, with Hall of Famer Ghostzapper far and away his most accomplished son. The latter dominated a strong group at Lone Star Park, setting a still-standing stakes record of 1:59.02 for 1 1/4 miles.
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Unbridled's Song (1995) and Midshipman (2008)
Unbridled's Song turned in a gutsy performance to win the Juvenile at Belmont Park by a neck in only his third career appearance. He was followed 13 years later by Midshipman, who won the Juvenile over Santa Anita's first generation synthetic surface, now defunct. They are the only father/son combo to have won the same Breeders' Cup race over two different surface types.
Unbridled's Song's career waned due to recurring hoof issues after he finished fifth as the favorite in the 1996 Kentucky Derby (G1), while Midshipman's post-Juvenile racing career was limited to four starts.
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Uncle Mo (2010) and Nyquist (2015)
Uncle Mo and Nyquist both capped undefeated championship campaigns in the Juvenile, the former at Churchill Downs and the latter down the road at Keeneland. Although Uncle Mo did not make it to the Kentucky Derby, his son became only the second horse to pull off the Juvenile-Derby double when taking the Run for the Roses in 2016.
Breeders' Cup Classic: Curlin (2007) and Vino Rosso (2019)
Curlin clinched champion three-year-old colt and Horse of the Year honors winning the Classic over a sloppy Monmouth Park strip. A dozen years later, Vino Rosso cemented champion older dirt male honors by taking the latest edition of the Classic held at Santa Anita.
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2022 Breeders' Cup possibilities
There are five races at this year's Breeders' Cup that have potential of yielding multi-generational winners.
Blazing Sevens and Curly Jack have been entered for the Juvenile, a race won by sire Good Magic in 2017, while Oscar Performance, the 2016 Juvenile Turf winner, could have a pair of starters in Andthewinneris and Lachaise.
On the Saturday card, 2004 Sprint winner Speightstown will be represented by Pipeline, while 2017 Classic hero Gun Runner is certain to have Taiba and possibly Cyberknife, whose first preference is the Dirt Mile.
The first successful father/daughter combo in Breeders' Cup history could occur in the Turf. English Channel, the recently deceased 2007 winner, will be represented by War Like Goddess in the 1 1/2-mile event.