Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter
Advisory: This is the first of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7 at Keeneland. For more information, please visit www.breederscup.com. 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.
Maximum Security wins TVG Pacific Classic (G1)
Eclipse Sportswire photo
Tiz the Law, Maximum Security are Leaders for Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Glory at Keeneland
While there’s still plenty of heavy lifting left, a scintillating matchup between superstar 3-year-old TIZ THE LAW and handicap leader MAXIMUM SECURITY in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) -- which could potentially decide Horse of the Year -- has racing fans eagerly awaiting the 37th Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland Race Course Nov. 6 and 7. Racing’s championship weekend will visit Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., for the second time after a historic first appearance in 2015, and with 14 races and $35 million in purses and awards, as always, the Breeders’ Cup will be a must-see event.
The $7 million 1 ¼-mile Classic is the centerpiece and closing act to the two-day Breeders’ Cup extravaganza, and Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law looms a worthy leading actor, as he’s captured the imagination of the racing world with his dominant wins and working-class connections. The New York-bred son of Constitution has been untested in a 4-for-4 campaign this year for trainer Barclay Tagg, which includes easy Grade 1 wins in the Belmont Stakes (G1) in June -- the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown, which was turned upside down due to the Coronavirus pandemic -- along with the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in April, and Runhappy Travers at Saratoga Aug. 8. Tiz the Law, who is 6-for-7 lifetime, will look to take the second leg of the Triple Crown in the Kentucky Derby Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs, and his connections have long indicated the Classic is the end of the year goal, even if their colt is successful in Louisville, and in Pimlico’s Oct. 3 “Win and You’re In” Preakness Stakes (G1), which is a newly minted automatic qualifier for the Classic.
Gary and Mary West, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Maximum Security, rated No. 1 in the latest Longines Breeders' Cup Classic Rankings, would be a strong Classic favorite any other year, as he’s seemingly as good as ever for new trainer Bob Baffert after being transferred from Jason Servis’ barn in mid-March. The 4-year-old son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic with his victory in last Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar (G1, see race recap below), to go with Del Mar’s July 25 San Diego Handicap (G2) in his first start for Baffert.
Maximum Security, who is 10-for-12, also crossed the line first in last year’s Derby before ultimately being placed 17th due to interference off the far turn. He won the inaugural Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in February before the West’s transferred him to Baffert.
A three-time winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, Baffert indicated Maximum Security could have one more start before a Classic run, or simply head straight to the race. “I’ll see how he is in a week or so. I could even wait until the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said. Should Maximum Security run one more time, a logical spot would be Santa Anita’s Sept. 26 Awesome Again (G1), which also is a “Win and You’re In” for the Classic.
Baffert also has WinStar Farm, CHC Inc., and SF Racing’s IMPROBABLE who earned a berth into the Classic with his win in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Whitney on Aug. 1. The 4-year-old son of City Zip went just 1-for-7 at 3 but has taken his game to a new level in his last two starts, as he won the 1 ¼-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) in June at Santa Anita before the Whitney. Improbable, 6-for-13, could prep for the Classic in another qualifier, Belmont’s Oct. 10 “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).
G M B Racing’s TOM'S D'ETAT was upset in the Whitney after blowing the start but rallied to be third and had already earned a starting berth into the Classic when he won Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (G2) in June for trainer Al Stall Jr. The 7-year-old son of Smart Strike has gotten better with age and was arguably the best in the division before the Whitney, though clearly he’ll be given a pass after losing all chance early on. Tom’s d’Etat, who is 11-for-19 lifetime, could prep for the Classic in Keeneland’s Oct. 10 Fayette (G2), a race he won last year.
The rest of the handicap division pointing to the Classic include major graded stakes winners BY MY STANDARDS, CODE OF HONOR, and TACITUS with European turf standout BENBATL (GB) also a potential candidate, while the 3-year-olds are clearly in flux, with both the Derby and Preakness still remaining on the calendar.
Saratoga’s Sword Dancer to Award Turf Berth
The weekend “Win and You’re In” action kicks off Saturday at Saratoga with the $500,000 Sword Dancer (G1), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Run at 1 ½ miles, the Sword Dancer, which drew eight horses, is led by Woodslane Farm’s homebred SADLER’S JOY, one of the most consistent long-distance turf runners in the U.S. over the past several years for trainer Tom Albertrani.
Sadler’s Joy, a 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, has won four graded stakes, including the 2017 Sword Dancer, in a career that has amassed over $2.5 million in earnings. The veteran has also performed quite well in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, running fourth in the race at Del Mar in 2017, third at Churchill Downs in 2018, and prepped for the Sword Dancer with a win (only to be disqualified for stretch interference and placed fourth) in the local Bowling Green (G2) on Aug. 1.
Wachtel Stable, R.A. Hill Stable, Gary Barber, and Reeves Thoroughbreds’ CHANNEL MAKER has tangled with Sadler’s Joy for the better part of three seasons and will be back for more for trainer Bill Mott.
The 6-year-old son of Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel is 5-for-34 lifetime with over $2.2 million in earnings. He was second in the Sword Dancer in 2018 and fourth last year and enters off a third (moved up from fourth) in the Bowling Green. Augustin Stable’s newcomer CORELLI should attract plenty of support for trainer Jonathan Thomas. The 6-year-old son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel was a close third in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 18 in only his second U.S. start and for Thomas, and is 3-for-12 lifetime.
Stakes performers HIGHLAND SKY, PEDRO CARA (FR), AQUAPHOBIA, MARZO and CROSS BORDER also have been entered for the “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer.
Dirt Mile Bid on the Line in O’Brien at Del Mar
Later Saturday evening Saturday at Del Mar, the $150,000 “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien (G2) will award an automatic starting berth into the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Run at 7 furlongs, the O’Brien drew a field of eight, with Tom Kagele’s C Z ROCKET leading the way for trainer Peter Miller.
C Z Rocket, an overnight stakes winner earlier in his career for trainer Al Stall, has been a reclamation this year since being claimed by Miller for $40,000 at Oaklawn Park in April. The 6-year-old son of City Zip is 3-for-3 for his new connections and enters off a win in an optional-claimer at Keeneland July 12. C Z Rocket is 7-for-20 overall and could use the O’Brien as a springboard to not only Dirt Mile, but also the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing’s FLAGSTAFF will garner plenty of support for trainer John Sadler. The 6-year-old son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Speightstown is 5-for-13 lifetime. He won Santa Anita’s San Carlos (G2) in March and was recently second to heavyweight McKinzie in Santa Anita’s Triple Bend (G2) June 20.
LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN, recently third on Aug. 1 in the Del Mar’s Bing Crosby (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and local stakes winner VERTICAL THREAT, also are entered for the “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien, as are BLAMEITONTHELAW, GIANT EXPECTATIONS, MANHATTAN UP, and P R RADIO STAR.
Juddmonte International Stakes winner Ghaiyyath (IRE)
York Racecourse photo
Ghaiyyath Secures Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win in Juddmonte International
Godolphin’s streaking superstar GHIAYYATH (IRE) demonstrated why he has been the dominant horse in Europe this year when he earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, capturing York’s Juddmonte International (G1) on Aug. 19. The 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) made it four wins in a row for trainer Charlie Appleby, as he used his blend of speed and stamina to score a 3-length win over MAGICAL (IRE), a superstar in her own right for the Coolmore conglomerate of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier. Video
Ghaiyyath started his streak in the Dubai Millennium (G3) at Meydan in February, then won the Coronation Cup (G1) at Newmarket in June but came to prominence with a 2 ¼-length win over the come-backing superstar mare Enable (GB) in Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown on July 5. Overall he’s 9-for-12 and has had Appleby and his connections thinking of a trip to Keeneland for quite some time.
Appleby said after the Juddmonte International that Ghaiyyath would be pointed toward the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, instead of the Classic.
“We always felt that a mile and a half around two turns in the Breeders’ Cup Turf would be his gig, but we are all in the same position in this unprecedented year,” Appleby said.
Magical was her usual stellar self in defeat but couldn’t match the winner’s pace late. The 5-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) has been an all-world performer for the past three years for trainer Aidan O’Brien, which included a memorable second to ENABLE (GB) in the 2018 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. All told she’s a six-time group 1 winner and 11-for-24 lifetime, and figures prominently for this year’s Turf as well.
Ward Points Skidmore Winner Golden Pal to Juvenile Turf Sprint
Ranlo Investments’ GOLDEN PAL broke his maiden in style at Saratoga’s Aug. 21 Skidmore Stakes by an easy 3 ½ lengths, and could use the race as a launching pad to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). Golden Pal zipped the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:00.88, just missing the course record by three-fifths of a second. The 2-year-old son of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo is out of the brilliant turf sprinter Lady Shipman, who was second in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and has long been held in high regard by Ward. Golden Pal was second on debut on the main track at Gulfstream Park in April, then was second in the Norfolk (G2) June 19 at Royal Ascot, and, with the Breeders’ Cup over his home track at Keeneland this year, Ward is eagerly looking forward to it. Video
"He's something special, this guy. I think we just got a little peek at it,” Ward said. “From everything we've seen here, they're coming into his homecourt like Michael Jordan in the United Center in the Breeders' Cup this year.”
Golden Pal could get a prep over the Keeneland turf course in the Oct. 4 Indian Summer, which is a “Win and You’re In”’ for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
COUNTDOWN TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
Aug. 28 – $600,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 4yos & up.
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
Aug. 28 – $200,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) at Charles Town. Run at 7 furlongs for 3yo fillies.
Aug. 30 – $125,000 Shuvee (G3) at Saratoga. Run at 1 1/8 miles for fillies & mares.
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
Aug. 29 – $500,000 Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 4yos & up.
FANDUEL BREEDERS’ CUP MILE PRESENTED PDJF
Aug. 29 – $100,000 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 3yos.
MAKER’S MARK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
Aug. 28 – $100,000 Lake George (G3) at Saratoga. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 3yo fillies.
Aug. 29 – $150,000 Eatontown (G3) at Monmouth Park. Run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for fillies & mares.
Aug. 29 – $125,000 Colleen (G3) at Woodbine. Run at 1 1/16 miles for 3yo fillies.
BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
Aug. 29 – $300,000 Forego (G1) at Saratoga. Run at seven furlongs for 3yos & up.
Aug. 29 – $150,000 Amsterdam (G3) at Saratoga. Run at six furlongs for 3yos.
BIG ASS FANS BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE
Aug. 29 – $150,000 Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar. Run at seven furlongs for 3yos & up.
MAJOR STAKES RECAP Aug. 21-23
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 North American 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. 26. An asterisk in the points section denotes a foreign contender. A complete Breeders’ Cup Points list is available at: https://members.breederscup.com/championships/pointsleaderboard.aspx
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic – Gary and Mary West, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s MAXIMUM SECURITY (Abel Cedillo) earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic with a dominant 3-length win over SHARP SAMURAI in Del Mar’s $500,000 “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic (G1). Bob Baffert trained the winner, a 4-year-old son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, who made it 2-for-2 for his new trainer and improved on the form that saw him win the local San Diego Handicap (G2) on July 25. Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in 9-of-10 starts for trainer Jason Servis but was disqualified from his win in the Kentucky Derby and placed 17th for interference. Maximum Security is now 10-for-12 overall, which includes grade 1 wins last year in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park and Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, and in the Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz Racecourse this February. Video
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic – Breeders’ Cup Challenge Winners (BCC) and Points Leaders
Red King, with Umberto Rispoli up, wins Del Mar Handicap (G2)
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Little Red Feather Racing, Gordon Jacobson and Phil Belmonte’s RED KING (Umberto Rispoli) upset heavily favorite UNITED by a head and earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, taking the $203,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) Presented by the Japan Racing Association. The 6-year-old son of English Channel doubled up on his win in Santa Anita’s San Juan Capistrano (G3) June 21 for trainer Phil D’Amato, and has come a long way since being claimed for $35,000 by his current connections in February of 2019. Red King cut back off the 1 ¾ miles of the Capistrano while improving to 7-for-28 lifetime, and the fact he’s won farther means the 1 ½ miles of the Turf is well within his scope, as Little Red Feather founder Billy Koch exclaimed after the race. “We’re going to the Breeders’ Cup!” Koch enthusiastically announced trackside. LNJ Foxwoods’ United saw his winning streak snapped at three for trainer Richard Mandella but lost nothing in defeat. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway almost upset eventual Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar in last year’s Turf at Santa Anita, when he finished second by a head. The top-2 finishers could prep for a potential run in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in Santa Anita’s Sept. 26 John Henry Turf Championship (G2). Video
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Breeders’ Cup Challenge Winners (BCC) and Points Leaders
- May 5, 2021
Four-Time Kentucky Derby Winning Jockey John Velazquez And Breeder Of Medina Spirit Gail Rice Join As Special Guests For Breeders’ Cup’s Cocktails & Conversation Live Stream
“Cocktails & Conversation,” the weekly virtual happy hour series, returns for the fifth episode of the season on Thursday (May 6) with special guests Hall of Fame jockey, John Velazquez, and the breeder of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, Gail Rice; hosted by Britney Eurton and Nick Luck of NBC Sports and joined by renowned mixologist and creator of Breeders’ Cup’s official cocktails Mark Tubridy.
- May 4, 2021
Breeders’ Cup announced tickets for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar will go on sale to the public on Friday, July 16, at Noon ET / 9:00 a.m. PT.
- May 2, 2021
Succeso Wins Sunday's Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella in Chile and Earns Automatic Berth into FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile
Don Mario’s 3-year-old Succeso (CHI) forged to the front with a powerful stretch drive to win Sunday’s 1 ¼ mile Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) on the turf at Club Hipico de Santiago by 1 ¾ lengths over longshot Aucar (CHI).