History of the Champion of Champions

History of the Champion of Champions

This race brings together top racing American Quarter Horses every year.

He Looks Hot 2019 Champion of Champions

text size

Since its inception in 1972, the Champion of Champions has been one of the greatest events in the history of American Quarter Horse racing. 

This race, conducted over the classic distance of 440 yards, is held at Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, California, in December. 

It is an invitation-only race, which means that winners of selected major races during the year are given an invitation to compete in the race, thus bringing together the best horses age 3 and up from around the world to face off. In fact, 65 percent of the winners of the Champion of Champions were awarded world champion honors the same year. 

Fun facts about the Champion of Champions:

  • Members of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame who won the Champion of Champions include Charger Bar, Easy Date, Dash For Cash, First Down Dash and Refrigerator
  • The fastest Champion of Champions ever run was performed by Apollitical Jess, who in 2010 covered the distance in :20.939. 
  • The only three-time winner of the race is Refrigerator, who captured the race in 1992, 1993 and 1994. 
  • Other repeat winners include Dash For Cash (1976-1977), SLM Big Daddy (1997-1998) and Tailor Fit (1999, 2001). 
  • The longest shot winner in the race’s history was 2017’s Mr PYC To You, who won at 60-1 odds. 
  • Blues Girl Too won the 2007 Champion of Champions as a 3-year-old, and with the win became the sport’s all-time leading distaffer. She retired after that victory with earnings of $2,032,328. 
  • The trainer with the most wins in the race is American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame trainer Blane Schvaneveldt, who won the race nine times (1978, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992-95). Trainer Paul Jones has won the race six times (2002-04, 2006, 2011, 2012).
  • Bob Baffert, who famously became a Thoroughbred trainer and has twice won the Triple Crown, twice won the Champion of Champions (1986, 1988).