Equine Sculptures Celebrating The Breeder’s Cup In Del Mar, California, USA

One of the largest horse racing organizations is promoting their event by featuring 20 fiber glass copies of the historic “Torrie Horse” sculpture this summer to gather hype and interest for the 35th running of the Breeders Cup. Each one was painted by local artists and placed in public locations in San Diego County. Why the Torrie Horse? A bronze copy of  this centuries old statue also serves as the prestigious trophy for the Breeder’s Cup World Championships. Here is a little bit of history of the remarkable sculpture:

Torrie horse, Edinburgh

History Of The Torrie Horse

Flemish sculptor Giambologna sculpted this the Torrie Horse (35 in tall) in Florence, Italy in 1580s. The sculpture is thought  to have been created as a anatomical study for the equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo, that Giambologna created. As an anatomical study, the sculpture is of a horse with no skin, revealing the structure and muscling of the horse. It is believed that Giambologna was influenced for the sculpture by drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, made for his uncompleted equestrian statue of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio. It is also though that he was inspired by the ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. After being sold several times in it’s history, it was brought to the Vatican foundry and four known copies were created of the original-one copy was sold in 2013 at Christie’s for over  $1.6 million USD. Another copy of the Torrie Horse is also in Edinburgh, Scotland, with the University of  Edinburgh holding a more recent copy, as one a recent copy made in the 1980s for the  Breeder’s Cup trophy.

Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I


Modern-Day Torrie Horses In San Diego County For The Breeder’s Cup

Since this past  August 2017, 20 fiber glass horses (87 inches tall and 87 inches long) have been displayed around San Diego County, CA to celebrate the first-ever running of the Breeder’s Cup at the Del Mar Racetrack this weekend. Some of the horses will be auctioned off while others have already been brought by their sponsors. The race itself is expected to draw as many as 100,000 visitors and generate more than $75 million, with the races starting on the 3rd and ending on the 4th of November, 2017. Each sculpture has a sponsor, who chose the location and artist to paint their statue.

Erik Skoldberg, artist

We hope to make this a really special Breeders’ Cup so that they want to come back again and again,” said Craig Dado of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which is sponsoring one of the statues. “So we’re doing everything we can do to do the extra stuff. The Art of the Horse is one part of that.”

For more information abut the breeder’s Cup, go to: https://breederscup.com

More a more in-depth look at the Torrie Horse and the Trophy, here is a link to a previous Flying Shetlands article.


Wyland, artist




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