Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - October 8
Advisory: This is the seventh 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.
Jockey Club Gold Cup Headlines Final Challenge Season Races
A journey that began last December in Buenos Aires ends in Elmont, N.Y. this weekend, as the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series comes to a close with five “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifiers at Belmont Park. Highlighted by The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), which will award the eighth automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Belmont brings to a close a series that, all told, awarded 81 automatic starting berths into racing’s World Championships scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland in Lexington, KY.
The Gold Cup anchors a banner Saturday card that also features a trio of Grade 1 races that are “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifiers: the Flower Bowl, which will award a starting berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1); Champagne, TVG Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) and Frizette, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
The Gold Cup, at 1 ¼ miles, will be led by Juddmonte Farms’ homebred TACITUS, who figures to be a strong favorite in a five-horse field. The 4-year-old son of Tapit was second in last year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) and third in the Gold Cup for trainer Bill Mott and has shown an affinity for longer distances. He won the Suburban (G2) over the track and distance in July and enters off a second in Saratoga’s 1 ¼-mile Woodward (G1) Sept. 5. Tacitus is 4-for-13 lifetime.
A pair of lightly raced but talented 3-year-olds are expected to offer the stiffest challenge to the favorite. Godolphin’s homebred MYSTIC GUIDE, a son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, enters off a win in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2) Sept. 5 for trainer Mike Stidham, while Wertheimer et Frere’s homebred HAPPY SAVER, a son of Super Saver, is perfect in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and won Laurel’s Federico Tesio Sept. 7. PRIORITIZE are NAME CHANGER have also been entered.
Juvenile Berths on the Line on Gold Cup Undercard
Both future stars and proven runners will be on display Saturday at Belmont in the other three Challenge races. The Champagne and Frizette will showcase a group of talented 2-year-olds looking to prove their worth, while the Flower Bowl will bring together an up-and-coming group of turf runners.
The $250,000 Champagne, at 1 mile, will be led by Kirk and Judy Robinson’s JACKIE’S WARRIOR, who is unbeaten and untested in three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. The 2-year-old son of Maclean’s Music wired the Saratoga Special (G2) in August by 3 lengths and did the same in the Hopeful (G1) by 2 ¼ lengths on Sept. 7.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ MIDNIGHT BOURBON, a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, who was second in the “Win and You’re In” Iroquois (G3) Sept. 5 at Churchill for Asmussen, and Klaravich Stables’ REINVESTMENT RISK, a son of Upstart who was second as the favorite in the Hopeful for Brown, have plenty of upside. AMBIVALENT, CIVIL WAR, and RUN CASPER RUN are also entered.
The Frizette, the Champagne’s sister race, offers Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, and Swilcan Stables’ VEQUIST a chance to prove her 9 ½-length win in Saratoga’s Sept. 4 Spinaway (G1) was no fluke. The daughter of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist picked the right time to break her maiden for trainer Butch Reid, as she entered off a nose loss on debut at Parx Racing in July.
Stonestreet Stables’ CANTATA, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, ran off the screen by 10 ¼ lengths on debut at Saratoga Aug. 16 for Asmussen. Siena Farm and trainer Tim Hamm’s DAYOUTOFTHEOFFICE, a daughter of Into Mischief, is 2-for-2, including a 6-length win in Saratoga’s Schuylerville (G3) July 16. CILLA, FIFTH RISK, GET ON THE BUS, and JOY’S ROCKET are also entered for the “Win and You’re In” Frizette
The $250,000 Flower Bowl, at 1 ¼ miles, will be led by OXO Equine’s CAMBIER PARC, a two-time Grade 1 winner for Brown, who should improve off a second in her first start of the year in the Sept. 12 Canadian (G2) at Woodbine, while Allen Stable’s homebred CIVIL UNION has won three straight for trainer Shug McGaughey, including Saratoga’s Glens Falls (G2) Sept. 5. BEAU BELLE, LA SIGNARE, LOVELY LUCKY, MY SISTER NAT (FR), and NAY LADY NAY (IRE) are also entered.
Futurity Offers Juvenile Turf Sprint Bid
The “Win and You’re In” action, and the Challenge Series, comes to a close Sunday at Belmont with the $100,000 Futurity (G3), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). Run at 6 furlongs, the Futurity figures to have a deep field, with Three Chimneys Farm’s ROYAL APPROVAL, a 2-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, a heavy hitter off a 6 ½-length maiden win at Kentucky Downs Sept. 9 for trainer Wesley Ward. AFTER FIVE, AMPERSAND, BRIGHT DEVIL, MOMOS, and SAFE CONDUCT could also run.
NEWS AND NOTES
Aunt Pearl Sets Stakes Record, Earns Breeders’ Cup Berth with Dominant Victory in JPMorgan Chase Jessamine
Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Michael Kisber, Peter Deutsch and The Elkstone Group’s Aunt Pearl (IRE) took the lead at the break and cruised to a 2½-length victory in stakes-record time to win Wednesday’s 30th running of Keeneland’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-old fillies. Video
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Aunt Pearl secured an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 6.
Aunt Pearl covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:40.86 to shatter the stakes record of 1:42.21 established by Solvig in 1999. She is the second JPMorgan Chase Jessamine winner for Geroux, who won in 2016 aboard La Coronel.
Now 2-for-2 after a front-running score in her debut last month at Churchill Downs, Aunt Pearl took the initiative from the start of the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, opening a daylight advantage by the time the field reached the first turn.
Aunt Pearl produced fractions of :22.28, :46.65 and 1:11.32 as Navratilova and Spanish Loveaffair tracked in second and third. On the far turn, those two closed in on Aunt Pearl only to have her kick clear again at the head of the lane and breeze home unopposed.
Bodenheimer Wins Indian Summer, Qualifies for Juvenile Turf Sprint
Kristin Boice and Marylou Holden’s BODENHEIMER (Brian Hernandez) led every step of Keeneland’s Oct. 4, $150,000 “Win and You’re In” Indian Summer to earn an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Valorie Lund trained the winner, a 2-year-old son of Atta Boy Roy, who stopped the teletimer in 1:02.70 for the 5 ½ furlongs. Bodenheimer won on debut at Canterbury Park in July then took the Prairie Gold Juvenile at Prairie Meadows on dirt in August. He entered off a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. Video
Complexity Pointed to Dirt Mile
Klaravich Stables’ Complexity won Saturday’s 1-mile Kelso (G2) by 2 1/4 lengths over Code of Honor. Complexity’s trainer Chad Brown said: "He ran super yesterday. I'm pointing him towards the (Big Ass Fans) Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). I think 6 furlongs (of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint) might be a little quick for him, but I'll keep him eligible for both races."
Santa Anita Turf Winners Eyes Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Tilts
Santa Anita’s Oct. 4 $102,000 Surfer Girl and $101,000 Zuma Beach, at 1 mile on the turf for 2-year-old fillies and colts, respectively, will likely send both winners, MADONE and EBEKO (IRE), on to the Breeders’ Cup.
Kaleem Shah’s MADONE remained undefeated in three starts for trainer Simon Callaghan and looks to be a leading contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The daughter of Vancouver (AUS) won on debut at Del Mar in July and then took the Juvenile Fillies Turf over the same course on Sept. 6. She stopped the clock in a snappy 1:34.83, much faster than Ebeko’s 1:36.55 in the Zuma Beach. The win has Callaghan looking forward to a trip to Keeneland.
“It took a little bit of time to come around but she’s really developing into a real professional,” Callaghan said. “I think Breeders’ Cup is the plan now.
Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman, and Michael Nentwig’s Ebeko was up by a nose in the Zuma Beach for trainer Peter Miller. The son of Awtaad (IRE) made the first three starts of his career in Europe for trainer Paddy Twomey, breaking his maiden at Leopardstown in September before being privately purchased and sent to Miller. He was second in his U.S. debut in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Sept. 7 and is now 2-for-5 lifetime, prompting Miller to think big for his next start.
“We’re definitely going to look at the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf) with this horse,” Miller said. “He deserves it and we’re looking forward to going.”
One Master Considered for Breeders’ Cup
Lael Stable’s 6-year-old mare One Master (GB) captured the 7-furlong 394,492 Qatar Prix de la Foret (G1) at Longchamp last Sunday by a neck over favored Earthlight (IRE). Trainer, William Haggas is considering options for her next start: “She’ll have another run, I suppose, if she’s okay and she’s in both races at Ascot (Oct. 17 Champions Day) over six (G1, Champions Sprint) and a mile (G1, Queen Elizabeth II) and I quite fancy the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland as she’s pretty nippy.”
COUNTDOWN TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
October 10 – $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 ¼ miles for 3yos & up.
October 10 – $200,000 Fayette (G2) at Keeneland. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 3yos & up.
MAKER’S MARK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
October 10 – $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland. Run at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3yo fillies.
October 10 – $250,000 Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 ¼ miles on turf for fillies & mares.
October 10 – $150,000 Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 mile on turf for 3yo fillies.
FANDUEL BREEDERS’ CUP MILE PRESENTED BY PDJF
October 10 – $150,000 Monmouth (G3) at Monmouth at the Meadowlands. Run at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3yos & up.
October 12 – $150,000 Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 mile on turf for 3yos & up.
October 12 – $150,000 Hill Prince (G2) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 mile on turf for 3yos.
TVG BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE PRESENTED BY THOROUGHBRED AFTERCARE ALLIANCE
October 10 – $250,000 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 mile for 2yos.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES
October 10 – $250,000 Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 mile for 2yo fillies.
BIG ASS FANS BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE
October 11 – $125,000 Durham Cup (G3) at Woodbine. Run at 1 1/16 miles for 3yos & up.
BREEDERS’ CUP TURF SPRINT
October 9 – $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) at Keeneland. Run at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf for fillies & mares.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF
October 10 – $665,000 Darley Dewhurst (G1) at Newmarket. Run at 1 mile on turf for 2yos.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
October 7 – $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland. Run at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 2yo fillies.
October 9 – $665,000 Fillies’ Mile (G1) at Newmarket. Run at 1 mile on turf for 2yo fillies.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF SPRINT
October 11 – $100,000 Futurity (G3) at Belmont Run Park. Run at 6 furlongs on turf for 2yos.
October 11 – $100,000 Matron (G3) at Belmont Run Park. Run at 6 furlongs on turf for 2yo fillies.
@Eclipse Sportswire photo
MAJOR STAKES RECAP | Oct 2- 4
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., 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 here.
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic – Peter Callahan’s SWISS SKYDIVER (Robby Albarado) held off Kentucky Derby (G1) winner AUTHENTIC by a neck in Pimlico’s $1 million “Win an You’re In” Preakness Stakes (G1) and earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Kenny McPeek trained the winner, a 3-year-old daughter of Daredevil who became just the sixth filly to win the Preakness, which was run this year as the third leg of the Triple Crown. Swiss Skydiver, who entered off a second-place finish in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks (G1) Sept. 4, has been a divisional leader all year, as she has won a quartet of graded stakes against 3-year-old fillies, including in August in Saratoga’s Alabama (G1), which was a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Swiss Skydiver, now 6-for-11 lifetime, has given McPeek a tough decision, with bids into both the Classic and Distaff, though the 1 ¼ miles of the former could be the deciding factor. “It’s a little early and we don’t have to make a decision right now but I do like her at the mile-and-a-quarter,” McPeek said. “The further, the better. She gets to settle in a nice rhythm and that distance, I really like it better.” Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables, and Starlight Racing’s Authentic ran huge in defeat for trainer Bob Baffert and the son of City Zip backed up his Derby upset over heavily favored Tiz the Law. Authentic, who lost for just the second time in seven starts, already qualified for the Classic when he won Monmouth Park’s “Win and You’re In” TVG.com Haskell (G1) in July and figures a leading contender for the race. Video
Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
- November 24, 2020
Godolphin Wins Third Straight John Deere Award as Outstanding Breeder of the Breeders' Cup World Championships and the Challenge Series
Strengthened by victories from She’s a Julie, Lord North (IRE) and Essential Quality, Godolphin has won its third consecutive John Deere Award, honoring the outstanding breeder of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
- November 24, 2020
The $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday is the premier event in the country this holiday weekend, which is a nod to the depth of the field with 15 graded stakes races taking place between Thursday and Sunday.
- November 24, 2020
One of the highlights of the fall turf festival at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.