Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - October 10

Advisory: This is the ninth of 10 weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3 at Churchill Downs. For more information, please visit The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN. You can follow all the contenders’ activity leading up to the Breeders’ Cup with Equibase’s free “Road to the Breeders’ Cup” Virtual Stable notification service.

Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Comes to an End in Keeneland’s Jessamine

From Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, South Africa in January to Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky this afternoon, and all points in between, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and its 85 automatic qualifiers for racing’s championship weekend comes to a close with the $200,000 “Win and You’re In” JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (GII). Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Jessamine will offer up a guaranteed starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and has lured an overflow field of 2-year-old fillies, with 14 scheduled to meet the starter, and favoritism could go any number of ways amongst several lightly raced but talented runners.

Trainer Chad Brown has once again dominated the turf with a wide array of fillies and mares this year, so it would be no surprise to see Long Lake Stable and Madaket Stable’s 7-2 FIERCE SCARLETT go favored in the Jessamine. The daughter of Scat Daddy was a close fifth on debut sprinting on the turf at Saratoga in August then stretched out at Belmont Park Sept. 15 and won by 4 ½ lengths to break her maiden. Fierce Scarlett was purchased for $320,000 at the OBS 2018 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training and would go a long way in paying that price back with a win in the Jessamine.

Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing’s 6-1 CONCRETE ROSE flew home on debut to win a turf sprint at Saratoga Aug. 20 for trainer Rusty Arnold and looks to be a major player on the stretchout. The daughter of Twirling Candy has a pedigree that suggests she should excel at a middle-distance going two turns, as does Parkland Thoroughbreds and Jeff Alston’s 4-1 MORAVIA (GB), a daughter of Siyouni (FR) who will make her first U.S. start for trainer Jorge Abreu after going 1-for-4 in Europe for trainer G.M. Lyons. Moravia was purchased privately after running second in the Silver Flash (GIII) at Leopardstown July 26. William Werner’s MY GAL BETTY will have to negotiate a trip from a wide draw but showed high talent when she won a pair of stakes at Woodbine and was recently second in another automatic qualifier for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, their “Win and You’re In” Natalma (GI) Sept. 16. The daughter of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo won at first-asking at Woodbine in April before winning their My Dear and Catch a Glimpse in her turf debut and has long been pointed for the Juvenile Fillies Turf by trainer Roger Attfield.

Laurel Park’s Selima winner MONKEYS UNCLE, undefeated in two starts for trainer Arnaud Delacour, impressive Saratoga maiden winner PRINCESA CAROLINA, who closed nicely to break her maiden in her turf debut for trainer Kenny McPeek, and sharp Kentucky Downs debut winner ZALIA, who should save all the ground from an inside draw for trainer Brad Cox, also figure to attract support in the “Win and You’re In” JPMorgan Chase Jessamine. CITY DIVA, ESPRESSO SHOT, IRISH WILLOW, LIGHTSCAMERAACTION, LUCKY GIRASOL, PAKHET, and SPEEDY SOLUTION are also entered, while NO MO TEMPER and BELLE LAURA are on the also-eligible list.


Strike Silver (#2) gets Juvenile Turf Sprint berth winning the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland

Photo by Coady Photography


Juvenile Turf Sprint Bids Awarded at Belmont, Keeneland, Santa Anita for Future Stars Friday

The newly created 5 ½ furlong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, which figures to attract a crowd at Churchill Downs later this fall, saw a trio of “Win and You’re In” qualifiers this weekend when the $100,000 Speakeasy was run Saturday at Santa Anita and the $200,000 Indian Summer and $150,000 Futurity, were run at Keeneland and Belmont Park, respectively.

The inaugural $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint will be run on Friday, Nov. 2 - Future Stars Friday - which will feature all five Breeders’ Cup 2-year-old races on the first day of the World Championships.

The Speakeasy, run at five furlongs, saw Janey Lyons and Even, Andrew and Matthew Trommer’s ITS GONNA HURT score a wire-to-wire victory by three quarters of a length over WHOOPING JAY. The 2-year-old son of Violence entered off a win in an $80,000 maiden-claimer on the main track August 4 at Del Mar for trainer Brian Koriner and certainly moved up on the surface switch. Its Gonna Hurt was a disappointing seventh as the 7-5 favorite in his debut for a $150,000 tag at Del Mar in July but seems to be pointing in the right direction as the Juvenile Turf Sprint looms.

The Indian Summer, run at five and a half furlongs, saw Jack Oxley’s STRIKE SILVER come from last-to-first in the 12-horse field to nail the filly CHELSEA CLOISTERS by a neck in what was his turf debut. Mark Casse trained the winner, a 2-year-old son of Violence who was second, beaten a neck, when last seen in Saratoga’s July 21 Sanford (GIII). Strike Silver, purchased for $275,000, won his debut at Churchill in June and is now 2-for-3 lifetime. “It’s a ‘Win and You’re In’, so hopefully he comes out of the race in great shape and I’m sure racing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Sprint) will be the game plan,” Casse Kentucky assistant David Carroll said.

Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters was a game second and also rates a leading Juvenile Turf Sprint contender for trainer Wesley Ward. The daughter of First Samurai ran second for the third straight time, to go with runner-up efforts in the Prix du Bois (GIII) against males at Deauville in July and Bolton Landing at Saratoga August 15, and is 1-for-5 lifetime.

At Belmont, Ara Aprahamian’s UNCLE BENNY used similar tactics to rally from last-of-11 to beat BACKTOHISROOTS by a half-length. The son of Declaration of War won his debut on the main track at Monmouth Park August 24 but clearly took to the turf for trainer Jason Servis, who indicated the Breeders’ Cup is the goal, though which race Uncle Benny runs in is to be determined.

"I don't know if we'll do the long race or the sprint,” Servis says. “I don't know if he'll get in the long one, but I think he'll run further. I don't know if he'll get up five eighths, but I know he'll get a mile. He'll go in one of those races.”

Contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, which will be limited to 12 starters, are below:

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders

Catholic Boy Still Pointing to Classic After Missed Breeze

Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stable, Sienna Farm, and Twin Creek Racing Stable's CATHOLIC BOY, one of the leading contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic, missed a workout this past weekend after developing a temperature, but is still expected to make the race, according to trainer Jonathan Thomas. The son of More Than Ready rates as the most accomplished 3-year-old in training after winning the Belmont Derby (GI) on turf in July and Travers (GI) on the main track at Saratoga August 25 and has always been scheduled to train up to the Travers. Catholic Boy, who is 6-for-9 lifetime, which includes a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last year, figures to hit the track in the next week and should have plenty of time to get ready for the biggest test of his career.
“I don't see this making a big dent in our preparations. It’s very minor in the grand scheme of things,” Thomas said. “He had a mild temperature, which has since rectified. We just didn’t want to take any chances. I’m anticipating being able to breeze him this weekend. I’m glad it’s (the Classic) a month out and not a week out.”

Disco Partner Rolls at Belmont, Looms Large in Turf Sprint

Patricia Generazio’s homebred DISCO PARTNER repeated in Saturday’s $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint and gave every indication that he’ll once again be a major player in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The 6-year-old son of Disco Rico parlayed an easy win in last year’s Belmont Turf Sprint to a third-place run in the Turf Sprint at Del Mar and appears to be coming up to the race in peak form this year for trainer Christophe Clement. Disco Partner is 11-for-26 lifetime, including a win in the local Jaipur (GII) in June, and has Clement thinking the best is yet to come.

“As long as he comes back in good shape, we'll get him ready for the Breeders' Cup,” Clement said. “I don't like to have too hard of a race before the Breeders' Cup, so I was very happy with the performance today.”



A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:


October 14 – $125,000 Ontario Derby (GIII) at Woodbine. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 3yos.


October 14 – $800,000 Pattison Canadian International (GI) at Woodbine. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.


October 13 – $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland. Run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for 3yo fillies.

October 14 – $500,000 E.P. Taylor (GI) at Woodbine. Run at 1 ¼ miles on the turf for fillies & mares.


October 12 – $100,000 Franklin County (GIII) at Keeneland. Run at five and a half furlongs on the turf for fillies & mares.

October 14 – $250,000 Nearctic (GII) at Woodbine. Run at six furlongs on the turf for 3yos & up.


October 13 – $675,000 Darley Dewhurst (GI) at Newmarket. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 2yos.


October 10 – $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (GII) at Keeneland. Run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 2yo fillies.

October 12 – $675,000 Fillies’ Mile (GI) at Newmarket. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 2yo fillies.



Blue Prize takes the Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland

Photo by Coady Photography


MAJOR STAKES RECAP                      October 5-7

A review of the major global races in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup divisions from last week. Winning jockeys’ names are in parenthesis in each recap. The top Breeders’ Cup Points' leaders and Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners by division are listed at the end of each section. Breeders’ Cup Point earners are limited to horses who finish first, second or third in Graded Stakes races. Horses based outside of the U.S., and Canada who have not won a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, are selected into World Championships races by the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel at the Pre-Entry stage, Oct. 22. An asterisk in the points section denotes a foreign contender. A complete Breeders’ Cup Points list is available at:


Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Merriebelle Stable’s BLUE PRIZE (ARG) (Joe Bravo) won her second automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff with a three quarters of a length win over CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS in Keeneland’s $500,000 “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Sprinter (GI). Nacho Correas trained the winner, a 5-year-old daughter of Pure Prize who earned an automatic starting berth into the Distaff when she won Churchill Downs’ “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June. Blue Prize was a Group I winner and went 2-for-4 in her native Argentina for trainer Jorge Neer before being sent to Correas prior to her 2017 campaign and has quietly blossomed into one of the most consistent and best mares in the country. She entered off a win in Churchill’s Locust Grove (GIII) September 15 and is now 7-for-16 lifetime, though it’s her 5-3-2-0 record in Louisville that will make her a legitimate threat in the Distaff. Gainesway Stable and Harold Lerner’s ESKIMO KISSES was the 9-5 favorite off her romping win in Saratoga’s Alabama (GI) August 18 but didn’t deliver her customary closing kick and was a disappointing seventh while taking on older horses for the first time. Trainer Kenny McPeek indicated he’d wait a few days before deciding whether or not to forge ahead to the Distaff for the 3-year-old daughter of To Honor and Serve. 

Video: Juddmonte Spinster


Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Peter Brant and Stud Vendaval’s WOW CAT (CHI) (Jose Ortiz) posted her first victory in the U.S. with a 3 ¼-length win over DIVINE MISS GREY in Belmont Park’s $400,000 Beldame (GI). The 4-year-old daughter of Lookin At Lucky was undefeated in eight starts and a four-time Grade I winner in her native Chile for trainer Carlos Urbina Hernandez in 2016-2017 before being sent to trainer Chad Brown for a 2018 campaign. Wow Cat was second in Saratoga’s Shuvee (GII) in July in her stateside debut and entered off a distant third-place finish to divisional heavyweights Abel Tasman and Elate in Saratoga’s August 25 “Win and You’re In” Personal Ensign, an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, a race Brown clearly has on his radar. “I want to discuss it with the partners and Peter and the breeders, because the way she ran today, and the fact that she might just be coming around and getting climatized over here and really finding her rhythm, and finding a surface she likes,” Brown said. “If she goes to Churchill and likes it, who knows. I'm open to it.”

Video: The Beldame

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders




Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup Mile – Michael and Jules Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan, Christopher Dunn, William Marasa, Ritchie Robershaw and Mark Taylor’s NEXT SHARES (Tyler Gaffalione) earned an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile with an upset 3 ¼-length win over GREAT WIDE OPEN (IRE) in Keeneland’s $1 million “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Turf Mile (GI). Richard Baltas trained the winner, a 5-year-old son of Archarcharch who earned by far the biggest triumph of his career after winning his first career stakes in his last start, the Old Friends at Kentucky Downs September 6. Next Shares made the first 11 starts of his career for trainer Bill Mott on the East Coast before being privately purchased and sent to Baltas in California, and he has clearly enjoyed a massive form upgrade while moving his lifetime mark to 5-for-20. M and J Thoroughbreds’ Great Wide Open chased the winner home again, as he was also second in the Old Friends, and the 6-year-old son of Starspangledbanner (AUS) also could be in line for a Mile start for trainer Connor Murphy. “Coming into this race we thought it was as good as a Breeders’ Cup race,” Murphy said. “We are delighted to finish second. He ran hard today so we will see how he comes out of this race and then consider going to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.” Bill Lawrence’s ANALYZE IT was a surprising heavy favorite off a trio of consecutive losses while taking on older horses for the first time and checked in fourth for trainer Chad Brown.

Read the full Countdown to the Breeders' Cup World Championships Newletter here.

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