ARCADIA, Calif. (October 22, 2014) – Led by an international all-star cast of the world’s best horses, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, undefeated Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes winner Shared Belief, Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Tonalist, Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby winner Bayern, and defending European champions Magician (IRE) and Dank (GB), a record 201 horses, including 38 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The 31st Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious global event, consisting of 13 grade one races with purses and awards totaling $26 million, will be held at Santa Anita Park for the third consecutive year on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1. There will be four Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Saturday.
The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live and in primetime on Saturday, November 1 on NBC (8-9 p.m. ET).
Goldencents (Dirt Mile), Ria Antonia (Juvenile Fillies), Magician (Turf); Secret Circle (Sprint) and Dank (GB) are the five 2013 winners pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup. A total of 37 horses have received automatic qualifying berths into the races through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic, the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 ¼ miles. An oversubscribed field of 15 horses have been pre-entered. Since the event’s inception in 1984, 11 winners of the Classic have been voted Thoroughbred racing’s Horse of the Year, and with California Chrome and Shared Belief leading the way, this year’s race could produce No.12.
Steve Coburn and Perry Martin’s California Chrome took the sports world by storm this year with rousing victories in Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness for trainer Art Sherman. He ran fourth in his bid to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes (GI). He returned to the races in the 1 1/8 mile Pennsylvania Derby (GII) on September 20, but was a disappointing sixth behind Bayern. California Chrome, a son of Lucky Pulpit, has won 8 times in 14 lifetime starts.
While California Chrome dominated racing during the first half of 2014, Shared Belief has been the big horse during the second half. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Jungle Racing, Alex Solis II, George Todaro and Jason Litt’s Shared Belief was an easy choice for 2-year-old champion as he went undefeated and untested in three starts, which culminated in a 5 ¾-length win in the CashCall Futurity (GI) at Hollywood Park in December. The son of Candy Ride (ARG) missed the Triple Crown season with lingering foot issues but quickly rose to the forefront of his division off victories in a pair of grade I “Win and You’re In” races for the Classic over older horses; Del Mar’s TVG Pacific Classic (GI) in August and Santa Anita’s Awesome Again (GI) on September 27. Shared Belief, with the Breeders’ Cup’s all-time winningest rider Mike Smith aboard, will put his perfect 7-for-7 record on the line in the Classic and would be odds-on to win Horse of the Year, as well as the 3-year-old championship, with a win.
Robert Evans’ Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, has built an impressive resume of his own and would warrant a long look for both titles with a Classic win. The son of Tapit didn’t break his maiden until January at Gulfstream Park but gained national attention when he upset California Chrome in the Belmont, then secured an automatic berth into the Classic when he beat older horses in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) on September 27.
Kaleem Shah’s front -running Bayern has been a tough competitor all year. He captured Belmont’s Woody Stephens (GII) in June and had dominant wins in Monmouth Park’s “Win and You’re In” William Hill Haskell (GI) in July and in the Pennsylvania Derby in September for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Offlee Wild will try to extend his high cruising speed to 1 ¼ miles in the Classic.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has decided to pre-enter Travers Stakes (GI) winner V.E. Day for owner Magalen Bryant, and the son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel should relish the 1 ¼ mile distance. The remaining group of 3-year-olds pre-entered for the Classic includes C R K Stable’s Candy Boy, third in the Pennsylvania Derby for John Sadler; and Toast of New York, a synthetic specialist who was second to Shared Belief in the Pacific Classic and a winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai back in the spring for Jamie Osborne.
The Classic has been won by older horses in 10 of the past 12 runnings, with Curlin in 2007 and Raven’s Pass in 2008 being the only 3-year-olds to win in that stretch. This year’s group is led by a pair who secured automatic starting berths in the Classic with grade one “Win and You’re In” victories: Southern Equine Stable’s 4-year-old Moreno, a son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, who won Saratoga’s Whitney in August for trainer Eric Guillot, and Gallant Stable’s Majestic Harbor, who rolled to victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June for trainer Sean McCarthy. KM Racing Enterprise’s Imperative, who won the Charles Town Classic (GII) in April for George Papaprodromou; Godolphin Stable’s Footbridge, who was third to Shared Belief in the Awesome Again; Cigar Street, winner of the Homecoming Stakes at Churchill Downs for trainer Bill Mott; Thomas Coleman’s homebred Zivo, who won Belmont’s Suburban (GII) at 1 ¼ miles and was second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup for Chad Brown, and Big Cazanova (ARG), a group one winner in South America last year, round out the pre-entries for the Classic.
Friday’s headline event is the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up. Juddmonte Farms’ Close Hatches was the undisputed divisional leader off a 4-for-4 record this year for trainer Bill Mott but will need to rebound from an extremely disappointing fourth-place finish at 1-5 in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Spinster (GI) on October 5. The 4-year-old daughter of First Defence, who was second to Beholder in last year’s Distaff, won Oaklawn Park’s Apple Blossom (GI) in April, the Phipps and Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Personal Ensign (GI) in August to take charge of the division. Close Hatches is 9-for-13 lifetime starts for Mott, who has won the race an unprecedented five times.
The undisputed queen of the 3-year-old fillies is Ron Winchell’s homebred Untapable, who has dominated her rivals in all five starts against her peers this season for trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of Tapit won her first four starts of the year, including Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks (GI) in May and Belmont’s Mother Goose (GI) in June, by 31 lengths but then was a disappointing fifth when favored in Bayern’s “Win and You’re In” William Hill Haskell at Monmouth Park in July. Untapable rebounded with a win in Parx Racing’s Cotillion (GI) September 20 and will put her 7-for-10 career record on the line when she tests older fillies and mares for the first time in the Distaff.
Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stable and Gary Aisquith’s Belle Gallantey, who won Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Beldame (GI) September 27 for Rudy Rodriguez; Jerry Namy and trainer Philip Sims’ Don’t Tell Sophia, who upset Close Hatches in the Spinster; Hronis Racing’s Iotapa, who won the local Vanity in June and “Win and You’re In” Clement Hirsch at Del Mar in August and was third in the Zenyatta for John Sadler; and Loooch Racing Stable and Chris Dunn’s Ria Antonia, who upset last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and was second in the Spinster for Tom Amoss, and Valiant Emilia (PER), who won the “Win and You’re In” Cesar del Rio in Peru in June, now under the care of trainer Gary Mandella in the U.S, have all been pre-entered.
While the Classic and Distaff figure to have deserving and identifiable favorites, the $3 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf are shaping up as deep and wide open affairs. The Turf, run over 1 ½ miles, is led by Flaxman Holdings’ homebred Main Sequence, who has done little wrong in winning all three U.S. starts—in grade I company—for trainer Graham Motion: Monmouth Park’s “Win and You’re In” United Nations in July, Saratoga’s Sword Dancer in August and Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI) September 27. The 5-year-old son of Aldebaran is 7-for-17 lifetime in a career that started in Europe and has had a nose for the finish line in his three starts this year, as all three wins have come in photo finishes.
Coolmore’s defending Turf champion Magician (IRE) will also attract support for Aidan O’Brien. The 4-year-old son of Galileo, has won just once this year, but has been second in three group one races, including the Arlington Million. Two Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners in Michael House’s Big John B, who won the Del Mar Handicap (GII) in August for Phil D’Amato and Andrew Bentley’s Hardest Core, who took the Arlington Million (GI) August 16 for Eddie Graham, also merit respect as do Phipps Stable’s homebred Imagining and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Twilight Eclipse, who have lost photo finishes to Main Sequence for Shug McGaughey and Tom Albertrani, respectively. In addition to Magician, Europe figures to send formidable foes in Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Flintshire (GB), who was last seen finishing second to Treve (FR) in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; Andrew Black and Owens Promotion’s Brown Panther (GB), winner of the Irish St. Leger (GI) on September 14 and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Telescope (GB), for trainer Michael Stoute, a four-time winner of the Turf, who won the Hardwicke Stakes (GII) at Ascot and was third in the Juddmonte International (GI) at York this summer.
The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, run at 1 ¼ miles, is led by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Stephanie’s Kitten, who could be the favorite off her sharp win in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl (GI) September 27 for trainer Chad Brown. Juddmonte’s homebred Emollient earned an automatic berth into the race when she won the local course and distance prep, the “Win and You’re In” Rodeo Drive (GI) September 27 for trainer Bill Mott and will look to better her fourth place run in last year’s race. Tough competition should come from Fiesolana (IRE), who earned an automatic Filly & Mare Turf bid with her win in Leopardstown’s Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (GI) in September for trainer Willie McCreery and the Niarchos Family and defending champion Dank (GB), who has started just twice this year, most recently a fifth place finish in Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot.
Wise Dan’s defection from the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile has opened up the race considerably as 25 horses have been pre-entered. Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino’s Obviously (IRE), who won the “Win and You’re In” Shoemaker Mile (GI) at Santa Anita in June for Phil D’Amato, has been third and fifth, respectively, in the last two editions of the Mile at Santa Anita. Braly Family Trust’s Tom’s Tribute, who won Del Mar’s Eddie Read (GI) and Del Mar Mile (GII) this summer for Jim Cassidy, is in the best form of his career and looms a major contender as well.
The Europeans counter with Al Shaqab Racing’s Toronado (IRE), who won the group one Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot for trainer Richard Hannon. The 4-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf winner High Chaparral (IRE) lost the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp (GI) by just a head in his most recent start on September 14. Qatar Racing’s Trade Storm (GB), who won the “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (GI) September 14 for David Simcock has been pre-entered. Wertheimer et Frere’s Anodin (IRE), a full-brother to three-time Mile winner Goldikova (IRE), who was second in the “Win and You’re In” Jacques le Marois (GI) at Deauville in August for Freddy Head and was third to Toronado in the Queen Anne, could also be formidable.
The $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint is oversubscribed with 21 horses pre-entered. Run at six furlongs, the Sprint will bring together a quartet of “Win and You’re In” stars who will look to dethrone defending champion Secret Circle: Antonino Miuccio’s Palace, who won Saratoga’s Vanderbilt (GI) in July and the “Win and You’re In” Forego (GI) in August for trainer Linda Rice; Good Friend Stable’s Private Zone, who defeated Palace in Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Vosburgh (GI) September 27 for trainer Alfredo Velazquez, and Yuk Tak Cheung’s Rich Tapestry (IRE), who came from Hong Kong and upset Secret Circle in winning his U.S. debut in the “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship (GI) October 4 for trainer C W Chang; and Midwest Thoroughbreds’ homebred Work All Week, who remained undefeated in nine dirt starts when he won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (GIII) October 3 for trainer Roger Brueggemann.
The DraftKings Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, run at seven furlongs, could be the most balanced race of the weekend, with trainer Wesley Ward’s Judy The Beauty, who was second in the race last year, leading the way. Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Artemis Agrotera, who earned an automatic bid in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Ballerina (GI) in August for trainer Mike Hushion, Eugene Melnyk’s homebred Leigh Court, who won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Thoroughbred Club of America (GII) October 4 for trainer Josie Carroll, Pegram, Watson and Weitman’s Midnight Lucky, who dominated Churchill Downs’ Humana Distaff (GI) in May in her only start of the year for Baffert, and Treadway Racing’s Sweet Reason, a one-turn dynamo who won Belmont’s Acorn (GI) in June and Saratoga’s Test (GI) in August for trainer Leah Gyarmati, are also major contenders.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, run at about six and a half furlongs, is contested over one of the world’s most challenging turf courses in Santa Anita’s undulating hillside course. The race is oversubscribed with a record 29 horses. Tarabilla Farm’s Home Run Kitten and Pamela Ziebath’s homebred Ambitious Brew, the 1-2 finishers over the course and distance in the Eddie D. (GIII) September 26, will attract attention for trainers David Hofmans and Marty Jones, respectively. Riverside Bloodstock’s Dimension (GB) looked good winning the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash for trainer Conor Murphy. The second and third place finishers in last year’s Turf Sprint, Reneesgotzip and Tightend Touchdown, should also bear watching. The 2011 Turf Sprint winner, the 7-year-old gelding Regally Ready, who has won his last two starts, is also back for trainer Steve Asmussen and Vinery Stables.
W C Racing’s Goldencents figures one of the shorter prices of the weekend when he looks to defend his title in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, which is run at two turns at Santa Anita, and is limited to 12 starters. The 4-year-old son of Into Mischief, who will be trained by Leandro Mora, blitzed the field in last year’s renewal and has held his form this year through an abbreviated campaign for then-trainer Doug O’Neill. Goldencents may be just 1-for-4 in 2014 but did secure a Dirt Mile berth in Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien (GII) in August and was second in his three other starts, all in grade I’s.
Haras Don Alberto’s Bronzo (CHI), who earned a Dirt Mile berth in the “Win and You’re In” Copa De Oro De Chile (GII) at Hipico Chile in June for Jorge Andres Inda; Kaleem Shah’s Fed Biz, who almost upset Shared Belief in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Awesome Again (GI) September 27 for Bob Baffert; Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, second in the race last year for Kenny McPeek, and Ron Winchell’s homebred Tapiture for Steve Asmussen, also figure as key contenders.
The 1 1/16-mile $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has brought stars from the east and Midwest, but it’s California’s American Pharoah who headlines the field. A bay son of Pioneerof The Nile, American Pharoah broke his maiden in the Del Mar Futurity (GI) in September then backed that win up with a dominant score in the track and distance “Win and You’re In” FrontRunner (GI) September 27 to move his lifetime record to 2-for-3. Across the country, Carpe Diem built on his debut win at Saratoga when he remained undefeated in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI). The son of Giant’s Causeway stretched out from five and a half furlongs in his debut to win the Futurity at the Juvenile’s 1 1/16-mile distance and looks primed to take the next step at Santa Anita. Daredevil, a son of More Than Ready, looked equally impressive winning Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Champagne (GI) October 4 and, like his stablemate, will also put his 2-for-2 career record on the line in the Juvenile, though he has yet to start on a fast track or at two turns.
The 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is led by Sienna Farm’s Angela Renee, who earned an automatic berth into the race with her win in the track and distance Chandelier (GI) September 27 for Pletcher. Jay Em Ess Stable’s By The Moon won Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Frizette (GI) October 4 for trainer Michelle Nevin and will attract her fair share of support, as will GSN Racing’s Cristina’s Journey, who stayed undefeated in two starts for trainer Dale Romans when she won Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Pocahontas (GII) on September 6.
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races with the exception of the Dirt Mile (12). Breeders’ Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based on (i) Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners, (ii) a point system, and (iii) the judgment of a panel of racing experts. The field selection system was implemented following the taking of pre-entries on Monday, Oct. 20, to officially rank the oversubscribed fields. The Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel (the “Panel”) ranked all horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference. Entry for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be Monday, Oct. 27 by 10:00 a.m. (PT). At the time of entry, a maximum of 14 horses (or 12) will be accepted for each race based on the order of preference established at pre-entry.
There will be up to two (2) also-eligible horses for each Championship race. The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel’s order of preference for each Championship race that is oversubscribed at the time of pre-entry. Scratch time for all Championships races to be contested on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday will be 8:00 a.m. PT, Friday, Oct. 31.