The Jockey Club Gold Cup
Part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, the winner of the 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup automatically qualified for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup has often been the event in which horses who have done well in a year's U.S. Triple Crown races first face older opponents on a weight-for-age basis.
Before it was known as the Jockey Club Gold Cup, it began as the Jockey Club Stakes. This was its name when Man o' War won it against the only horse willing to race him. Damask, owned by Harry Payne Whitney, was entered as a sporting gesture and to keep Man o' War from having to run alone in a "walkover." Damask finished 15 lengths behind with Man o' War held under strong restraint in order not to humiliate his rival. Even so, Man o' War broke the American record for a mile and a half.
Despite its $750,000 purse and Grade 1 status, the stature of the race has suffered somewhat in recent years thanks to the emergence of the Breeders' Cup held not long afterward, as well as the race's having been shortened to the more common distance of 1¼ miles in 1990, reducing its distinctiveness.
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