The almost-white Alphabet Soup had his greatest season in 1996. All four of his victories came in stakes races, but it was his performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that shocked the racing world. Bred in Pennsylvania, he was twice rejected in the sales ring. Slow to mature, he didn’t win his first stakes race until he was a 4-year-old recording two graded-stakes wins.
In 1996 all seven of his starts were in graded stakes races and only once did he not finish first or second. Those performances were diminished in the Classic as he would face the reigning Horse of the Year Cigar and the fast Preakness winner Louis Quatorze. As they fought valiantly into the stretch, Chris McCarron worked hard aboard Alphabet Soup. He stuck his head in front of Louis Quatorze in the final sixteenth as Cigar ranged up on the outside. Only a nose and a head separated those three at the wire. It took a track record for Alphabet Soup to hold off Louise Quatorze and Cigar.