Breeders' Cup trophies
The Breeders’ Cup Trophy is an authentic and totally faithful bronze reproduction of the Torrie horse. The original was created in Florence, Italy by Giovanni da Bologna, around the late 1580s. Each year the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships award to the winner of each of 14 races a garland of flowers draped over the withers of the winning horse and four Breeders' Cup Trophy presented to the connections of the winners.
The horse is an ecorche, showing the muscles of the animal in detail. Its original purpose is unknown, but it may have been made as a study for the equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo I of Florence, cast in 1591. It has stood in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence since that date. The ecorche character gives the sculpture clarity and precision, combined with the grace and beauty of the living animal. This is evidence of a scientific as well as an artistic intention on the part of the artist and reveals the importance to him of the influence and example of Leonardo da Vinci. The most recent monumental equestrian sculpture in Florence, before that of Duke Cosimo I, had been da Vinci’s never-completed monument to Giangiacomo Trivulzio. The Torrie horse bears a close relationship to several drawings by da Vinci related to this project in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor.
Other artists, too, knew and learned from da Vinci’s study of the horse, but none came so close as Giovanni da Bologna to his vision of the beauty of the animal celebrated by art and science together. The original ecorche bronze horse of Giovanni da Bologna is in the Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The Edinburgh horse was acquired by Sir James Erskine of Torrie from the Villa Mattei in Rome, Italy in 1803. He bequeathed it to the University of Edinburgh with the rest of his collection of old master paintings and bronzes, and it came into the possession of the university in 1836.
The Breeders’ Cup Trophy was cast from the original and was directly supervised and approved by the University of Edinburgh for the exclusive use of Breeders’ Cup Limited. The largest version of the trophy is permanently owned by the Breeders’ Cup, and will be displayed at Santa Anita Park this year. Replicas are presented to the owners of the winners of each of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races every year. The breeders, trainers and jockeys of each winning horse also are presented with replicas of the Breeders’ Cup Trophy.
Blanket of Flowers
Following a precedent started almost one hundred years ago, many of this country's highly esteemed grade one races award of a blanket of flowers draped over the withers of the winning horse. In the Breeders' Cup all 14 division races are adorned with this time honored tradition.
The blanket of flowers is a background standard of yellow Chrysanthemums surrounded by a large single outline of purple Chrysanthemums. Each blanket has two wide saddle bag ends in an elongated pentagon shape that are adorned with a large purple circle emboldened with the Breeders' Cup logo and an embroidered script with the name of the race that was just won. The blanket is narrowed in the middle at the neck for ease of display over the horse and is topped with a full bouquet of both color Chrysanthemums with other floral embellishments. The blanket is 96" long from one end to the other.