NEW YORK (September 25, 2014) – Led by Moreno in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park in New York and by latest 3-year-old sensation Shared Belief in $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders on both coasts will be in the spotlight during a 2 1/2 hour live telecast of “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” this Saturday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The Belmont/Santa Anita telecast will be the ninth of 11 shows in the Challenge Series leading to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on NBC and NBCSN, October 31-November 1 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Saturday’s show will be hosted by Laffit Pincay III, who will be joined by analysts Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss and reporters Carolyn Manno, Nick Luck and Jay Privman.
Saturday’s telecast will also include two more Santa Anita stakes races: the $300,000 FrontRunner, a “Win and You’re In” to the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes, a ”Win and You’re In” to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
The 1 ¼ mile Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, which will award an automatic starting position into the Classic, figures to be led by Southern Equine Stable’s Moreno, a front-running speedster who already earned a Classic berth with his wire-to-wire win in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Whitney in August. The 4-year-old son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper has added consistency to his package over the past several starts for trainer Eric Guillot, as he enters the Gold Cup off three strong performances; a second-place finish in Belmont’s Suburban in July, his win in the Whitney, and a second-place finish in his last start at Saratoga’s Woodward on August 30. Moreno, who is 3-for-21 lifetime, figures the one to catch and beat in the Gold Cup, as he’s 4-2-1-0 at Belmont.
The 3-year-olds may be light on experience in the Classic division but they are certainly long on talent and will undoubtedly make their presence felt. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens holds a strong hand with Maggie Bryant’s V.E. Day and Centennial Farm’s Wicked Strong, the 1-2 finishers in Saratoga’s Travers in their last start on August 23. Robert Evans’ Tonalist dashed California Chrome’s Triple Crown hopes when he won the Belmont for trainer Christophe Clement but is winless in two starts since against Jerkens’ duo, running second in the Jim Dandy and third in the Travers. The son of Tapit also won Belmont’s Peter Pan in May, and a win over older horses would go a long way as he looks to reassert himself atop the division. Tonalist is 3-for-7 lifetime and obviously shows an affinity for the Belmont Park main track.
The seventh and final automatic berth into the Classic will be on the line in the 1 1/8 mile Awesome Again at Santa Anita. Shared Belief, owned in a partnership led by radio personality Jim Rome and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, will enter the Awesome Again undefeated and untested in six lifetime starts, including a dominant win over older horses in his last start when he earned a Classic berth in Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic on August 24. The 3-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) was perfect in three starts as a 2-year-old and secured his championship with a 5 ¾-length win in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December. Lingering foot issues caused Shared Belief to miss the Triple Crown season but he returned with a bang, beating older allowance horses at Golden Gate Fields in May and winning the Los Alamitos Derby in July before his swift Pacific Classic score.
Gallant Stable’s Majestic Harbor rates the biggest upset chance for trainer Sean McCarthy. The 6-year-old son of Rockport Harbor was sixth in the Pacific Classic but clearly didn’t handle the Polytrack that day. Majestic Harbor, who is 6-for-24 lifetime, has shown an affinity for Santa Anita’s main track as he earned an automatic starting berth into the Classic with his win in the “Win and You’re In” Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June and also won the Tokyo City at the track in March.
KM Racing Enterprise’s Imperative came in third in the Pacific Classic, beaten by five lengths, and will take another crack at Shared Belief for trainer George Papaprodromou. The 4-year-old son of Bernardini upset Game On Dude in the Charles Town Classic in May and was third to Majestic Harbor in the Gold Cup. Imperative is 3-for-18 lifetime but is winless in seven starts at Santa Anita, though most of those runs were over the synthetic surface when trained by Eoin Harty.
The $300,000 FrontRunner (GI), run at 1 1/16 miles, will offer an automatic starting berth into the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and features Zayat Stable’s American Pharoah, who won his first race on September 3, capturing the Del Mar Futurity (GI) by a widening 4 ¾ lengths for trainer Bob Baffert. The 2-year-old son of Pioneerof The Nile was disappointing in his debut, when he finished at Del Mar maiden at odds of 7-5 in August, but clearly ran to his potential while winning Del Mar’s signature event for juveniles.
The win did little to dissuade American Pharoah’s competition, however, as a deep group is lining up to face him. Richard Pell’s Calculator closed to be second in the Del Mar Futurity for trainer Peter Miller and, though the son of In Summation is still a maiden after three starts, he’s progressed in each one.
Peachtree Stable’s Lord Nelson is unraced since winning his debut at Del Mar July 19 for Baffert but the son of Pulpit is bred to relish two turns and has been training lights out in the morning. Lord Nelson stalked and passed horses in his five-furlong maiden win, suggesting he will be a major player in the FrontRunner should someone pressure American Pharaoh early.
The $300,000 Rodeo Drive will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The 1 ¼-mile race takes on added importance as it is run over the same course and distance as Filly & Mare Turf. A deep and competitive field is led by a pair of East Coast invaders from turf barns in Juddmonte Farm’s Emollient for trainer Bill Mott and Robert Evans’ Irish Mission for trainer Christophe Clement. Emollient, a 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker who is 5-for-16 lifetime, was ninth in her last two starts, Saratoga’s Diana in July and Arlington Park’s “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. on August 16. In addition, she’s shown a liking for the Santa Anita turf, as she was fourth in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf and second, beaten a nose, in the Gamely in May. Irish Mission, a 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway, enters the race off a win in Saratoga’s Glens Falls in her last start August 31, and is 5-for-28 in a career that shows over $1.1 million in earnings.
The locals will be led by Matias Cavalieri’s Miss Serendipidity (ARG), who won the Gamely in May for Mandella and enters the race off a win in Del Mar’s Yellow Ribbon on September 1. The 4-year-old daughter of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin is 4-for-13 lifetime, with three of those wins coming over the local turf course.
“Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” on NBC Sports Live Extra
NBC Sports Live Extra —NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream this Saturday’s “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” coverage including the Gold Cup and Awesome Again on NBCSN.
For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play and on Windows 8 and Windows mobile devices.
The complete “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win and You’re In” television schedule may be found at the following link: http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2014 World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, and will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network and NBC. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live and in primetime on NBC. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
The 2014 Belmont Stakes on NBC, featuring California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt, averaged 20.4 million viewers – the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988). In addition, the 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers, and the 2014 Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating, ranking as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009 (6.8 for Rachel Alexandra’s victory).