Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - October 17
Advisory: This is the last-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 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.
Accelerate Looms Large as All Roads Lead to Churchill Downs
With 85 “Win and You’re In” Challenge races in the books and all the heavy lifting done, the 35th Breeders’ Cup is clearly in focus as racing’s championship weekend descends on the Louisville, Kentucky track for the ninth time. The biggest and brightest stars of the turf will look to clinch several divisional awards, and no star appears brighter than ACCELERATE, who headlines the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as he tries to put the finishing touches on a sensational campaign worthy of Horse of the Year consideration. The 1 ¼-mile Classic is the last-of-14 Breeders’ Cup races totaling more than $30 million and is sure to bring the curtain down after two action-packed days of racing under the Twin Spires.
Pre-Entered fields for all 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be announced live on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 11:30 a.m. ET via a live stream on www.breederscup.com
The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group, with 11 hours of coverage on NBCSN and NBC beginning Thursday, Nov.1 and running through the Classic on Saturday, Nov.3 http://www.breederscup.com/races/watch
Hronis Racing’s Accelerate would be a sure-fire cinch to win Horse of the Year with a Classic win if not for the Triple Crown exploits of Justify, but even so, he could sway voters should he win the Classic. The 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky has been virtually unbeatable this year for trainer John Sadler, winning 5-of-6 starts including a quartet of Grade I’s; the Santa Anita Handicap in March, Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June, and a pair of “Win and You’re In” races for the Classic in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August and Awesome Again at Santa Anita September 29. Accelerate is 9-for-21 lifetime, including a ninth-place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar, and suffered his only loss this year when second in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in April. Accelerate continued his Classic preparations October 14 at Santa Anita, working a half-mile in 47.80, and galloped out in 1:01.20 under assistant trainer Juan Leyva.
“He’s going to go further the next two weekends, so it was a good work,” Sadler said of Accelerate, who missed his scheduled breeze Saturday when the main track was closed due to rain. “We were off one day on our timing because of the weather, but he worked really nice. I couldn’t be happier.”
Accelerate winning the Pacific Classic
Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire
Gary and Mary West’s WEST COAST got the Classic prep he needed in the Awesome Again when he was a game second in his first start since running second in the Dubai World Cup (GI) at Meydan in March. The 4-year-old son of Flatter was third in last year’s Classic at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert but has started just one other time this year, running second to Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Pegasus World Cup (GI) at Gulfstream Park in January. West Coast is 6-for-12 lifetime and looms the main danger while trying to give Baffert his fourth Classic win. West Coast signaled he’s moving forward off the Awesome Again when he worked a sharp 59.40 October 14 at Santa Anita.
“He came out of it really well,” Baffert said. “I didn’t have a choice but to run him in the Awesome Again. I had to do something. I couldn’t just bring him up to that race on works. He’s happy and he’s training well.”
The 3-year-olds appear to be looking up at a daunting pair of elders but Bob LaPenta, Madaket Stable, Siena Farm, and Twin Creek Racing Stable’s CATHOLIC BOY has separated himself from the pack in Justify’s absence off back-to-back wins in the Belmont Derby (GI) on turf in July and Travers (GI) on the main track August 25 at Saratoga. The son of More Than Ready has come a long way since running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year at Del Mar for trainer Jonathan Thomas and returned to the track this past week after a mild fever. Catholic Boy, who is 6-for-9 lifetime, worked five furlongs in 1:01.08 October 14 at Belmont. He arrived Tuesday night at Churchill and is scheduled to work again either October 20 or 21. Thomas was initially concerned with the missed training time, but was put at ease with the way Catholic Boy worked.
"He had a small temp, what basically turned out to be a two-day virus that he got over, but it cost us a breeze last weekend," Thomas said. "When you prep for the Breeders' Cup, you really don't want any hiccups, but in the grand scheme of things, he recovered very quickly. He's such a fit horse and I find it hard to believe that one (missed) breeze would dismantle what we're trying to do here. And the fact that he breezed as well as he did this morning lets me know that maybe missing the work last week was a blessing, I don't know. He did everything the right way.”
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman’s MCKINZIE gives Baffert another major player and more hope for the 3-year-olds, as he was a top Triple Crown contender this winter before being injured after winning the San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita in February (he was disqualified and place second). The son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense returned to win the Pennsylvania Derby (GI) at Parx Racing September 22 and is 4-for-5 lifetime.
McKinzie, who had not had a recorded workout since winning the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 22, went six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 last Sunday.
Paul Reddam’s PAVEL and trainer Uriah St Lewis’ DISCREET LOVER won automatic qualifiers for the Classic and bolster the depth of the handicap horses. The former, a 4-year-old son of Creative Cause who is 3-for-11 lifetime, won Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (GI) in June for trainer Doug O’Neill, though he was second, some 12 ½ lengths behind Accelerate when last seen in the Pacific Classic. The latter, a 5-year-old son of Repent, qualified when he closed late to win Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) at 1 ¼ miles September 29 and is 7-for-44 lifetime.
Godolphin’s THUNDER SNOW (IRE) easily defeated West Coast in the Dubai World Cup and was second, beaten a neck, in the Gold Cup for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor and is another handicap runner with an upset chance, as is trainer Chad Summers, Shadai Farm and Head of Plains Partners’ MIND YOUR BISCUITS, who prepped with a win in the local Lukas Classic (GIII) September 29, and WinStar Farm and China Horse Club’s YOSHIDA (JPN), who won his dirt debut in Saratoga’s Woodward (GI) September 1 for trainer Bill Mott.
COLLECTED, second in last year’s Classic for Baffert but suspect off his 2018 form, TOAST OF NEW YORK, second in the 2014 Classic at Santa Anita, and GUNNEVERA are also expected for the Breeders' Cup Classic, as are 3-year-olds AXELROD, BRAVAZO, LONE SAILOR, and MENDELSSOHN, who won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year at Del Mar for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
(The top Breeders’ Cup Points' leaders and Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners by division are listed below. 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: https://members.breederscup.com/championships/pointsleaderboard.aspx)
Breeders’ Cup Classic – Breeders’ Cup Challenge Winners (BCC) and Points Leaders
Monomoy Girl heads to the winner’s circle following Kentucky Oaks
Photo by Coady Photography
Monomoy Girl Has Homecourt Edge in Distaff
Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stable, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stable’s standout 3-year-old filly MONOMOY GIRL will return to the scene of her biggest career triumph when she starts as the likely favorite in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles. The daughter of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar won the track and distance Kentucky Oaks (GI) in May, which highlights a resume that also includes Grade I wins in the Ashland at Keeneland in April, Acorn at Belmont Park in June and Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga in July for trainer Brad Cox. Monomoy Girl, who is 8-for-10 lifetime, won the Cotillion (GI) Sept. 22 at Parx Racing but was controversially disqualified to second due to interference in the stretch.
The best of a deep group of older fillies and mares appears to be Merriebelle Stable’s BLUE PRIZE (ARG), who qualified for the Distaff with her win in the local “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June for trainer Nacho Correas. The 5-year-old daughter of Pure Prize recently won another Distaff automatic qualifier, Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Spinster (GI) Oct. 7, and is 7-for-16 lifetime, though it’s her 5-3-2-0 record at Churchill that really adds to her appeal.
China Horse Club and Clearsky Farm’s ABEL TASMAN was leading the charge for the elders, as she won a pair of Distaff Challenge races in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Ogden Phipps (GI) in June and Saratoga’s Personal Ensign (GI) in August, but stubbed her toe badly at 1-9 when fifth in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Zenyatta (GI) Sept. 29. The 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road was second in last year’s Distaff at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert and won the Kentucky Oaks earlier in the season as part of a championship campaign and is 8-for-15 lifetime. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s VALE DORI (ARG) won the Distaff berth that went with her win in the Zenyatta and gives Baffert a big hand, as the 6-year-old daughter of Asiatic Boy (ARG) is a multiple Grade I winner, 10-for-21 lifetime, and appears to have found her form again breaking a six-race losing streak in the Zenyatta.
LA FORCE (GER), who was second in the Zenyatta and a pair of other Grade I stakes in California for trainer Paddy Gallagher, and WOW CAT (CHI), an easy winner of Belmont’s Beldame (GI) October 6 for trainer Chad Brown, add to the filly and mare contingent, while MIDNIGHT BISOU, who was placed first in the Cotillion and has shadowed Monomoy Girl all year for trainer Steve Asmussen, is in with an upset chance in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS, DIVINE MISS GREY and MOPOTISM are also possible, as are 3-year-olds SHE’S A JULIE, THIRTEEN SQUARED, and WONDER GADOT.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Breeders’ Cup Challenge Winners and Points Leaders
Enable Leads the Way as Euros Figure Tough in Turf
A North American turf division lacking a true standout was relegated to the deep end of the pool early Tuesday morning when it was confirmed Juddmonte Farm’s once-in-a-lifetime filly ENABLE (GB) will make the trip from Europe for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The 4-year-old daughter of Nathaniel (IRE) will likely be an odds-on proposition in the 1 ½-mile Turf after winning Europe’s most historic race, Longchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (GI) for the second straight year October 7 for trainer John Gosden. Enable is 9-for-10 lifetime, which includes lopsided wins in some of Europe’s more prestigious Group I races, including the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (GI) at Ascot to go with last year’s Arc at Chantilly but has run just twice this year due to a minor injury in the spring that postponed her seasonal debut until September at Kempton in their September Stakes (GIII) on the Polytrack. That, coupled with the fact she battled a slight illness leading up to the Arc, means she’s still plenty fresh and will look to add to here legend and become the first horse to pull off the elusive Arc and Turf in the same year.
The upcoming Oct. 20 Champions Day at Ascot could have a major bearing on the Turf, as Qatar Racing Limited’s ROARING LION, Enable’s stablemate, is expected for the featured Champion Stakes (GI), provided the ground is not too soft. The 3-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy is Europe’s most accomplished male turf horse and earned a berth into the Turf with his win in the “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte International (GI) at York in August and most recently won another automatic qualifier, Leopardstown’s “Win and You’re In” Irish Champion (GI) Sept. 15. Roaring Lion is 7-for-11 lifetime and his connections have flirted with running in the Turf throughout the year, with a try in the Classic as a remote possibility too, though the Champion Stakes is considered the major objective. Heavy rains hit Ascot this week, and Gosden indicated he’ll decide by Thursday if Roaring Lion runs or not.
Sir Evelyn De Rothschild’s CRYSTAL OCEAN (GB) would add some European star power should he make the trip for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. The 4-year-old son of Sea The Stars (IRE) won the Hardwicke (GII) at Royal Ascot in June and was second in this year’s “Win and You’re In” King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and recently second to Enable at Kempton. Crystal Ocean is 5-for-11 lifetime and is also a leading contender for the Champion Stakes.
The home team lacks the pure class of the Europeans but has a trio of automatic qualifiers that have run well this year, with Convento Viejo’s homebred ROBERT BRUCE (CHI) leading the way for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old son of Fast Company (IRE), who is 8-for-10 lifetime, earned his Turf bid with a win in the “Win and You’re In” Arlington Million (GI) in August and was recently second in another automatic turf qualifier, Belmont Park’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI). Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s CHANNEL MAKER won the Hirsch for trainer Bill Mott and had been on the upswing of late, as the 4-year-old son of 2007 Turf winner English Channel dead-heated for the win in Saratoga’s Bowling Green (GII) in July and was second in their August Turf qualifier, the “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (GI). Matthew Schera’s GLORIOUS EMPIRE (IRE) hit the line together with Channel Maker in the Bowling Green then got the win picture all to himself when he qualified for the Turf with a wire-to-wire win in the Sword Dancer for trainer Chuck Lawrence. The 7-year-old son of Holy Roman Empire (IRE) is 9-for-23 lifetime but 3-for-4 this year and figures as the one to catch in the Turf.
Haras Do Morro’s QUARTETO DE CORDAS (BRZ) qualified the Turf when he won the “Win and You’re In” Grande Premio Brasil (GI) at Hipodromo de Gavea in June in Brazil for then-trainer Luiz Esteves and could start for trainer Ian Wilkes, while Americans ALMANAAR (GB), ARKLOW, CARRICK, LIAM THE CHARMER, and SADLER’S JOY are also pointing to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) and Points Leaders
Oscar Performance dominates the “Win and You’re In’ Ricoh Woodbine Mile
Photo by Michael Burns
Oscar Performance Looks for Second Cup Win in Mile
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile will have a familiar feel, as Ammerman Racing’s homebred will run in a Breeders’ Cup race for the third straight year. The 4-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita for trainer Brian Lynch and ran ninth in last year’s Turf at Del Mar but has relished with a cutback in distance this year. Oscar Performance, who is 8-for-14 lifetime, was sharp in winning Belmont’s Poker in June and earned an automatic starting berth into the Mile when he won the “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (GI) September 15.
Oscar Performance breezed five furlongs in 1:01.00 on the dirt at Keeneland on Wednesday morning.
The rest of the American Mile contingent has more of a workmanlike feel to it, as Michael House’s HUNT (IRE) and NEXT SHARES both qualified for the race but lack the star power of Oscar Performance. The former, a 6-year-old son of Dark Angel (IRE), won the “Win and You’re In” Shoemaker Mile (GI) at Santa Anita in May for trainer Phil D’Amato but has been off the board in two starts since, while the latter, a 5-year-old son of Archarcharch, secured his Mile berth with a win in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Turf Mile (GI) October 6 for trainer Richard Baltas. The wildcard would be Michael Dubb, Madaket Stable, and Bethlehem Stable’s A RAVING BEAUTY (GER), who earned an automatic berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf when she won Keeneland’s October 6 “Win and You’re In” First Lady (GI) at a mile for trainer Chad Brown, who could opt to keep the 5-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman (IRE) at the same trip instead of stretching out to 1 3/8 miles in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Qatar Racing Limited’s LIGHTNING SPEAR (GB) earned a Mile berth with his win in the “Win and You’re In” Qatar Sussex (GI) at Glorious Goodwood in August for trainer David Simcock, but his participation in the race is in question as he holds an entry into the Queen Elizabeth II (GI) on the Champions Card Saturday at Ascot. The 7-year-old son of Pivotal (GB) is 7-for-25 lifetime and would rate a long look should he make the trip.
The rest of the European participation is in flux, due in large part to Champions Day, with Karl Burke’s five-time Group I winner LAURENS (FR) the most accomplished, though she won the “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (GI) at Leopardstown in September to earn a berth into the Filly & Mare Turf. Further complicating matters is the fact the 3-year-old daughter of Siyouni (FR) is also in the Queen Elizabeth II, though Burke did mention at trip to Louisville is still possible, depending on how she comes out of the race. The same can be said for Sarl Darpat France’s RECOLETOS (FR), who won the Prix du Moulin (GI) at Longchamp Sept. 9 for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias and is also entered in the Queen Elizabeth II. EXPERT EYE (GB), ONE MASTER (GB), POLYDREAM (IRE) and TIP TO WIN (GB) could also make the trip from Europe.
The Americans could also start graded stakes winners CATAPULT, DELTA PRINCE, FLY TO MARS, QURBAAN and SHARP SAMURAI in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Breeders’ Cup Mile, Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Brown Holds All the Aces in Filly & Mare Turf
Trainer Chad Brown has had a stranglehold on the Filly & Mare Turf division all year, so it should be no surprise that he has the two potential favorites in Peter Brant’s SISTERCHARLIE (IRE) and Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stable, and Gary Aisquith’s FOURSTAR CROOK in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles. The former, a 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie (IRE), is 3-for-4 this year and 6-for-10 lifetime and rates the divisional leader off Grade I wins in Keeneland’s Jenny Wiley in April, Saratoga’s Diana in July and Arlington Park’s “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. August 11, which earned her a berth into the Filly & Mare Turf. Fourstar Crook handed Sistercharlie her only loss of the year in Belmont Park’s New York (GII) in June and earned a Filly & Mare Turf berth with her win in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl (GI) Oct. 7. The 6-year-old New York-bred daughter of Freud was second in the Beverly D. and is 12-for-19 lifetime.
All Schlaich Stable, Gatto Racing, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s VASILIKA was a former $40,000 claim who has now won seven straight for her new connections and earned a Filly & Mare Turf berth with her win in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Rodeo Drive (GI). The 4-year-old daughter of Skipshot, who is 12-for-26 lifetime, keeps improving and rates the best of the West Coast runners.
Godolphin’s homebred WILD ILLUSION (GB) qualified for the Filly & Mare Turf with her win in the “Win and You’re In” Longines Prix de l’Opera (GI) Oct. 7 at Longchamp and heads a potentially strong European contingent. The 3-year-old daughter of Dubawi (IRE) doubled up on her Qatar Nassau (GI) win at Glorious Goodwood in August for trainer Charlie Appleby and is 4-for-8 lifetime. Denford Stud’s homebred CORONET (GB), second to Arc runner-up Sea of Class (IRE) in the “Win and You’re In” Darley Yorkshire Oaks (GI) at York Aug. 23 for trainer John Gosden, would rate a long look, as would the Aga Khan’s homebred EZIYRA (IRE), who won the Blandford (GII) at The Curragh Sept. 16 for trainer Dermot Weld, and Coolmore’s MAGIC WAND (IRE), second to Wild Illusion in the Opera for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Brown could also start SANTA MONICA (GB), who was third in Saturday’s E.P. Taylor (GI, see race recap below) at Woodbine, and graded stakes winner MOM’S ON STRIKE is also possible for the American team, while the Europeans could send over a fleet, with GOD GIVEN (GB), HOMERIQUE, INDIAN BLESSING (GB), KITESURF (GB), and PRINCESS YAIZA (IRE) among the possibles for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf - Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Game Winner, Bellafina Deserving Juvenile Favorites
The $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $2 million Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies headline the newly formed Future Stars Friday card, with all five Breeders’ Cup races run for 2-year-olds, and each 1 1/16-mile test figures to crown a champion in their respective divisions. And both races appear to have decisive favorites as Gary and Mary West’s GAME WINNER will look to cap an undefeated campaign for trainer Bob Baffert in the Juvenile. The son of Candy Ride (ARG) won on debut at Del Mar in August then won their Futurity (GI) in September and earned an automatic berth into the Juvenile with his win in Santa Anita’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” American Pharoah (GI) going two turns.
Seth Klarman’s COMPLEXITY earned a Juvenile berth when he won Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Champagne (GI) Oct. 6 at a one-turn mile for trainer Chad Brown and figures as the main danger. The son of Maclean’s Music has yet to be behind a horse at any pace call in his two wins, which includes a debut score at Saratoga in September. KRA Stud Farm’s KNICKS GO secured a Juvenile berth when he won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) Oct. 6 for trainer Ben Colebrook. The son of Paynter may have been 70-1 but wired by 5 ½ lengths for his second win in four starts and would be a legitimate speed threat to Complexity should he start.
Graded stakes winners CALL PAUL and MIND CONTROL are also expected for the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, as are the highly touted Grade I-placed CODE OF HONOR and GUNMETAL GREY, along with TIGHT TEN, SPARKY VILLE and WHISKY ECHO.
Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
The Juvenile Fillies will be led by Kaleem Shah’s BELLAFINA, who has easily won her last three starts—all stakes—and showed she can handle two turns when she earned an automatic berth into the race in Santa Anita’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Chandelier (GI). The daughter of Quality Road was second in her debut at Los Alamitos Race Course in July for trainer Simon Callaghan and then went on to win Del Mar’s Sorrento (GII) by 4 ¼ lengths in August and Debutante (GI) by 4 ¼ lengths in September prior to winning the Chandelier by 6 ½ lengths.
Bellafina’s stiffest test is expected to come from Fern City Stable and Three Chimneys Farm’s RESTLESS RIDER, who earned a berth into the race when she won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Alcibiades (GI) Oct. 5 for trainer Kenny McPeek. The daughter of Distorted Humor was second in another “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies, Saratoga’s Spinaway (GI) in September, and owns a homecourt edge, as she broke her maiden at Churchill in June and won their Debutante later that month.
A trio of upset candidates won “Win and You’re In” races to qualify and will offer plenty of value.
Cash is King and Leonard Green’ JAYWALK won Belmont’s Frizette (GI) Oct. 7 for trainer John Servis, while Joel Politi’s SERENGETI EMPRESS won Churchill’s Pocahontas (GII) Sept. 15 for trainer Tom Amoss, and Lee Pokoik’s SIPPICAN HARBOR was the first to join the race when she beat Restless Rider in the Spinaway for trainer Gary Contessa. Grade III winner TIZ BREATHAKING could also run in the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, as could stakes-placed runners CARNVAL COLORS (GB), LIGHTSCAMERAACTION, MOTHER MOTHER, REFLECT, SPLASHY KISSES and VIRGINIA ELOISE.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Roy H to defend his TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint title
Photo by Zoe Metz
TwinSpires Sprint Looks as Deep as Ever
The $2 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint will not be lacking star power as the division’s best are all expected to head to Churchill. Ray Mamone’s IMPERIAL HINT looms the horse to beat off back-to-back dominant Grade I wins for trainer Luis Carvajal. The 5-year-old son of Imperialism is 4-for-5 this year but has really upped his game while winning Saratoga’s Alfred G. Vanderbilt (GI) in July and Belmont Park’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Vosburgh (GI) to earn an automatic berth into the Sprint. Imperial Hint is 12-for-18 lifetime and looks poised to one better his second-place finish in last year’s Sprint at Del Mar.
A quartet of challengers took down “Win and You’re In” races to qualify for the Sprint, with Robert Baron’s PROMISES FULFILLED leading the way for trainer Dale Romans, as he wired the field in Saratoga’s Allen Jerkens (GI) in August and beat older horses in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (GII) Oct. 5. Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ WHITMORE was a game second in the Phoenix for trainer Ron Moquett, and though he earned a bid into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Forego (GI) in September, the stretch runner is likely to head to the faster-paced Sprint. Katherine Ball’s homebred LIMOUSINE LIBERAL was third in the Phoenix for trainer Ben Colebrook and earned his Sprint berth with his win in the “Win and You’re In” Belmont Sprint Championship (GII) in July. The Californians have Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s defending Sprint champion ROY H, who got back untracked when he won the “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship (GI) Oct. 6 for trainer Peter Miller, while Agave Racing Stable and Jeffry Wilke’s RANSOM THE MOON, third in the Sprint Championship, qualified when he won Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” Bing Crosby (GI) in July for trainer Phil D’Amato.
Grade stakes winners FIRENZE FIRE, WARRIOR’S CLUB and X Y JET are also expected for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint – Breeders’ Cup Challenge(BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Six Additional Cup Races Offer Plenty of Intrigue
Six other $1 million Breeders’ Cup races will be run Friday and Saturday and figure to draw deep fields littered with the best of their respective divisions. The seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint could be one of the best betting races of the weekend, as several would-be champions with gaudy resumes are expected. “Win and You’re In” Challenge race winners GOLDEN MISCHIEF, MARLEY’S FREEDOM and STORMY EMBRACE lead the way over a group that could also include CHALON, DREEM TREE, FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, LET IT RIDE MOM, MIA MISCHIEF, SELCOURT, SEPARATIONOFPOWERS, SKYE DIAMONDS and UNION STRIKE.
The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, run at one-turn, could have a compact field but will be led by one of the most talented horses in training in Hronis Racing’s CATALINA CRUISER, who is undefeated after four lopsided victories for trainer John Sadler, including the “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien (GII) August 25 at Del Mar. Stiff competition will come from Grade I winner CITY OF LIGHT, who handed Accelerate his only loss this year in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in April for trainer Mike McCarthy. Defending Dirt Mile winner BATTLE OF MIDWAY, as well as the streaking PATTERNRECOGNITION are also expected, as are GIANT EXPECTATIONS, SEEKING THE SOUL and TRIGGER WARNING.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs figures to draw a crowd, with “Win and You’re In” winners DISCO PARTNER and HAVANA GREY (GB) leading the way for North America and Europe, respectively, while defending champion STORMY LIBERAL is a definite repeat candidate. Stakes winners BUCCHERO, BELVOIR BAY (GB), CONQUEST TSUNAMI, HEMBREE, and WORLD OF TROUBLE will also be well supported, while CARIBOU CLUB, PAY ANY PRICE, RAINBOW HEIR, RUBY NOTION, VISION PERFECT, and WILL CALL could all meet the starter as well. (See Major Stakes Recap section for divisional contenders standings).
A blend of talented North American-based runners and a slew of classy Europeans figure to oversubscribe both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, which will be run at 1-mile. CURRENT impressed in his win in the “Win and You’re In” Dixiana Bourbon (GIII) October 7 a Keeneland for trainer Todd Pletcher and looms a major contender in the Juvenile Turf, along with FORTY UNDER, HENLEY’S JOY, OPRY, SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN and WAR OF WILL. The European contingent is still in flux, though any number of ARTHUR KITT (GB), BROOME (IRE), CARDINI, FELIX THE POET (GB), LINE OF DUTY (IRE), MARIE’S DIAMOND (IRE) and THE BLACK ALBUM (GB) could make the trip.
The Juvenile Fillies Turf may have a standout in Seth Klarman’s NEWSPAPEROFRECORD (IRE), who has looked awesome winning her two starts for trainer Chad Brown, including Belmont Park’s Miss Grillo (GII) Sept. 30. “Win and You’re In” Challenge race winners CONCRETE ROSE, JUST WONDERFUL, LA PELOSA (IRE), and LILY’S CANDLE (FR) won’t make it easy, while BELLA LAURA, LONELY ROAD, MY GAL BETTY, PAKHET, and SUMMERING could also start for the North American-based runners, and BEYOND REASON (IRE), EAST (GB), THE MACKEM BULLET (IRE), and SO PERFECT could make the trip from Europe.
The newly created Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, run at five and a half furlongs, sees ITS GONNA HURT, SHANG SHANG SHANG, STRIKE SILVER, and UNCLE BENNY rate as “Win and You’re In” qualifiers for the home team, which could also start BACKTOHISROOTS, BIG DRINK OF WATER, BULLETIN BOARD, CHELSEA CLOISTERS, DUGOUT, LONELY ROAD, MOONLIGHT ROMANCE, TWO SHAKES, and WHOOPING JAY. The Europeans could send a large group, including COMEDY (IRE), LAND FORCE (IRE), SIGNORA CABELLO (IRE), SOLDIER’S CALL (GB), SO PERFECT, SPORTING CHANCE (GB), TRUE MASON (GB), and WELL DONE FOX (GB).
- June 23, 2019
5-Year-Old Mare Lys Gracieux Dominates Male Rivals in Takarazuka Kinen in Japan and Gains Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders' Cup Turf
U. Carrot Farm’s 5-year-old mare Lys Gracieux (JPN), the only female in the field, passed the favored Kiseki (JPN) in mid-stretch to win Sunday’s 60th running of the 1 3/8-mile, US$2,826 million Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse by three lengths, and earned an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
- June 22, 2019
Blue Point Holds Off Dream of Dreams to Win Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and Gains Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
Godolphin’s Blue Point (IRE) joined a select band of horses to complete the double of Royal Ascot’s two historic sprint prizes when he added the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) to the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) he won four days earlier and secured a place in the field for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
- June 21, 2019
Rey De Oro and Kiseki Lead Sunday's Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse in Japan for Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders' Cup Turf
Led by U. Carrot Farm’s 5-year-old 2017 Japanese Derby (G1) winner Rey de Oro (JPN) and rival Tatsue Ishikawa’s 5-year-old Kiseki (JPN), runner-up in last year’s Japan Cup (G1), a field of 12 has been entered for Sunday’s 60th running of the 1 3/8-mile, US$2,826 million Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse. The winner of the Takarazuka Kinen will earn an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.