Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - September 11

Advisory: This is the fourth of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita. For more information, please visit 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.

Woodbine Mile, Irish Champion Stakes, Churchill September Meet, Highlight Action-Packed Breeders’ Cup Challenge Weekend

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series spans the globe this weekend, from Woodbine outside of Toronto to Leopardstown and The Curragh in Ireland, to Churchill Downs in Louisville, as 10 races that serve as automatic qualifiers to the Breeders’ Cup will be run. The “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1), which will offer an automatic starting berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, takes center stage as a trio of Challenge races will be run at Woodbine, while the “Win and You’re In” QIPCO Irish Champion (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, is the anchor for three Challenge races at Leopardstown. Toss in a pair of juvenile qualifiers during the opening weekend of Churchill’s September meet and two more at The Curragh, and an action-packed Challenge weekend of the season is upon us.

Got Stormy Winning the Fourstardave at Saratoga
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Saturday’s $1 million Woodbine Mile has long been a key stepping-stone to the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile and this year’s renewal figures to be no different, especially with Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable’s GOT STORMY steaking into the race for trainer Mark Casse. The 4-year-old daughter of Get Stormy has been installed as the 8-5 favorite in the 11-horse field. Got Stormy hit a new gear this summer at Saratoga, as she parlayed an easy win in the De La Rose Aug. 3 into a grade 1 win over males a week later in the Fourstardave (G1). Got Stormy, who is 7-for-15 lifetime, seems poised to embark down a path similar to Tepin, who used a Woodbine Mile win as a springboard to a Mile win at Keeneland for Casse in 2015.

The home team is led by Frank Stronach’s SILENT POET (15-1), who won the local prep, the Aug. 24 Play the King (G2), in course record time for trainer Nick Gonzalez. The 4-year-old son of Silent Name (JPN) is 6-for-11 lifetime but 7-5-2-0 on the turf and clearly has an affinity for the course. Peter Brant’s RAGING BULL (FR), the 3-1 second choice,  was second to Got Stormy in the Fourstardave and rates a danger for trainer Chad Brown, while Godolphin’s homebred LUCULLAN (8-1) is 2-for-2 this year for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and Pin Oak Stable’s homebred SYNCHRONY (6-1) won the course and distance Kind Edward (G2) June 29 for trainer Mike Stidham.

Foreign participation rests solely on Lee Yuk Lun’s filly AWESOMETANK (GB) (8-1), who was second to champion Sistercharlie (IRE) in her lone U.S. start, Arlington Park’s Aug. 10 “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, for trainer William Haggas. The field in completed by ADMIRALTY PIER (30-1), AMERICAN GURU (30-1), EL TORMENTA (20-1), MADE YOU LOOK (12-1) and EMMAUS (IRE) (20-1).

Juveniles Vie for Turf Bids Sunday at Woodbine

The “Win and You’re In” action continues Sunday at Woodbine as the first two North American grade I turf races of the year for juveniles—the $250,000 Summer and $250,000 Natalma—will be run, and the one-mile races will offer automatic starting berths into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, respectively. 

The Summer looks wide open, with Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ MYSTIC LANCELOT, a son of Into Mischief who impressed on debut Aug. 15 at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher, expected to be one of the favorites, though Fergus Galvins’ European invader VITALOGY (GB) will also warrant plenty of attention, as he was a close fourth in the Acomb (G3) at York Aug. 21 for trainer Joseph O’Brien.

The locals are led by KEEP ON TRUCKIN, who has aired in two local Tapeta wins for Catherine Day Phillips and looks to be a major contender in his turf debut, as does Saratoga maiden winner DECORATED INVADER for trainer Christophe Clement. CUCINA, OLD CHASTNUT, PLEASECALLMEBACK, PROVEN STRATEGIES, and ZOOLOGICAL are also expected for the “Win and You’re In” Summer.

The Natalma, long a key prep for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, looks to have a potential star in Godolphin’s homebred FAIR MAIDEN, who won the local prep, the August 17 Catch a Glimpse, by 7 ½ lengths for trainer Eoin Harty. The daughter of Street Boss is 2-for-3 lifetime, which includes a 14 ¼-length maiden romp on the Polytrack at Arlington Park in July. 

Klaravich Stable’s VOTING AGREEMENT looks the main danger for Brown, as the daughter of More Than Ready was an impressive debut winner at Saratoga Aug. 9 for potent connections. ABSCOND, COACH LORI, DIAMOND SPARKLES, RUNAWAY DREAMER, SARATOGA VISION, and WALK IN MARAKESH are also likely for the “Win and You’re In” Natalma.


Magical battles with Enable in 2018 Longines Turf
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup


Magical, Irish Champion Headline Trio of Challenge Races at Leopardstown

A trio of “Win and You’re In” Challenge races are on the schedule Saturday at Leopardstown in Dublin, and with arch rival and super mare Enable (GB) sitting out the $1.441 million “Win and You’re In” QIPCO Irish Champion (G1), it looks like the Coolmore conglomerate of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith’s MAGICAL (IRE) will be poised to earn a long overdue major victory as she’s set to go favored in the 1 ¼-mile automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Magical, a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE), has been a top performer for the past two years for trainer Aidan O’Brien but also has had the misfortune of being pitted against one of the immortals of the turf, as she’s run second to Enable three times, which includes a three quarters of a length defeat in last year’s Turf at Churchill Downs. Magical, who is 7-for-18 lifetime, won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) in May at The Curragh and enters off consecutive second-place finishes to Enable in the Coral Eclipse (G1) at Sandown in July and York’s Aug. 22 “Win and You’re In” Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

Coolmore and O’Brien also are expected to run ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE), who won the Epsom Derby (G1) in June, and MAGNA GRECIA (IRE), who won the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket in May, as well as HUNTNG HORN (IRE), MAGIC WAND (IRE) and PINK DOGWOOD (IRE). Juddmonte Farm’s homebred HEADMAN (GB) has won three straight for trainer Roger Charlton, though the 3-year-old son of Kingman (GB) is stepping way up off consecutive group 2 wins in the Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud in June and Saint-Germain at Deauville Aug. 15. Qatar Nassau Stakes (G1) winner DEIRDRE (JPN), ELARQAM (GB), MADHMOON (IRE), and VERBAL DEXTERITY (IRE) are also expected to start in the “Win and You’re In” QIPCO Irish Champion.

In addition to the Irish Champion, Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” action also includes the $403,604 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (G1), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the $172,973 KPMG Champions Juvenile (G2), with a berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on the line. 

The Matron, run at one-mile, is expected to be led by John Dance’s defending champion LAURENS (FR), who has been one of the most consistent and accomplished runners in Europe over the past two seasons. The 4-year-old daughter of Siyouni (FR) has won six group 1s over a distinguished career but will look to rebound off a second-place finish in York’s City of York (G2) Aug. 24 for trainer Karl Burke. Laurens is 8-for-15 lifetime, which includes a win in the Prix Rothschild (G1) at Deauville July, and has long been rumored for either the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile or Filly & Mare Turf this year at Santa Anita.

Coolmore and O’Brien’s HERMOSA (IRE) will offer a stiff test, as the 3-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) won both the 1000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket and Irish 1,000 Guineas (G1) at The Curragh this spring, though she has lost two straight, including a very disappointing ninth in the Nassau (G1) at Glorious Goodwood Aug. 1. HAPPEN, I CAN FLY (GB), and JUST WONDERFUL could also start for Coolmore and O’Brien in the “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron.

The KPMG Champions Juvenile, also at one-mile, is expected to attract any number of talented but lightly raced runners for Coolmore and O’Brien, with MOGUL (GB), an impressive maiden winner at The Curragh Aug. 30 leading the way, over a field that could also include the up and coming EMPEROR OF THE SUN (IRE) and the experienced YEAR OF THE TIGER (IRE).

Churchill to Offer Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies Bids in Iroquois and Pocahontas

Churchill Downs’ September Meet opens with a bang, as they host two pivotal “Win and You’re In” Challenge races—the $200,000 Iroquois (G3) and $200,000 Pocahontas (G2)—as both 1 1/16-mile contests offer the majority of the 2-year-olds entered an early chance at going two turns on the dirt.

The Iroquois, which offers an automatic starting berth into the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, will be led by Albaugh Family Stable’s DENNIS’ MOMENT, who enters off an eye-popping 19 ¼-length maiden win at Ellis Park July 27 for trainer Dale Romans. The son of 2000 and 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow was a $400,000 purchase at the 2018 Saratoga Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale and looks intent on making a quick return on that investment. Dennis’ Moment threw his jockey on debut at Churchill in June but put it altogether at Ellis and figures a short-priced favorite in an Iroquois field that is still in flux.

Joseph Sutton’s homebred SCABBARD (formerly named Noose) was second in the Saratoga Special (G2) Aug. 10 for trainer Eddie Kenneally and the son of More Than Ready won on debut over the track in his only other start in June, while L and N Racing’s ROWDY YATES enters off a win the Ellis Park Juvenile Aug. 18 for trainer Steve Asmussen. CRYPTO CASH, FLUTE MAKER, JANUARY WON, and JUGGERNAUT could also start in the “Win and You’re In” Iroquois. 

The Pocahontas, which will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, will be led by Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group, Madaket Stable, and Bethlehem Stable’s BRITISH IDIOM, who should be a solid favorite for trainer Brad Cox. The daughter of Flashback impressed on debut at Saratoga August 15, drawing off by 3 ½ lengths after pressing the pace early.

Paula Huaghey’s BLOOD CURDLING won on debut at Colonial Downs by 11 lengths Aug. 15 for trainer Dane Kobiskie and the Fed Biz filly will get the acid test, while ADDILYN, AMERICAN LEGEND, LAZY DAISY, and MORNING GOLD are also eying the “Win and You’re In” Pocahontas. 

Turf Bids on the Line at The Curragh in Flying Five, Moyglare

The “Win and You’re In” action in Ireland shifts to The Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare Sunday as the $461,261 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (GI) and $461,261 Moyglare Stud (GI) will award automatic starting berths into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, respectively.

The Flying Five, run at five furlongs, is expected to draw a deep field, with David Armstrong’s MABS CROSS (GB) likely to draw plenty of support, as she’s been one of the better sprinters in Europe the past two years. The 4-year-old daughter of Pivotal (GB), who won the Palace Couse (G3) at Newmarket in May, ended her 2018 campaign with a win in the Prix de l’Abbaye (G1) at Longchamp and is 7-fo-17 lifetime. Mabs Cross enters off a fourth-place finish to the superstar sprinter Battaash (IRE) in another automatic qualifier for the Turf Sprint, York’s Aug. 23 Coolmore Nunthorpe (G1).

Lady O’Reilly’s SOFFIA (GB) is favored among the European punters, as the 4-year-old daughter of Kyllachy (GB) has won three straight for trainer Eddie Lynam, including the local Stud Sapphire (G2) July 21, while SOLDIER’S CALL (GB) is also attracting action of his second in the Nunthorpe.


The Moyglare, run at seven furlongs, has 15 who passed the pre-entry stage, with the Niarchos Family’s homebreds ALBIGNA (IRE) and ALPINE STAR (IRE) the early favorites for trainer Jessica Harrington. The former, a 2-year-old daughter of Zoffany (IRE), is fancied off her 2-for-2 record, with both wins coming locally, including the Airlie Stud (G2) June 28, while the latter, a daughter of Sea The Moon (GER), is 2-for-3 lifetime, with a win in the local prep, the Aug. 23 Debutante (G2).

DAAHYEH (GB), CAYENNE PEPPER (IRE), and LOVE (IRE) are all 6-1 or under in the early betting and viable contenders, while ASSURANCE (IRE), BLISSFUL (IRE), FLORENCE CAMILLE (IRE), PRECIOUS MOMENTS (IRE), RAVEN’S CRY (IRE), SO WONDERFUL, SOUL SEARCH (IRE), TANGO (IRE), UNDER THE STARS (IRE), and UNFORGETABLE (IRE) all passed the pre-entry stage for the “Win and You’re In” Moyglare Stud.



Belmont Turf Winners Spanish Mission, Edisa, Map Out Future Plans

Team Valor and Earle Mack’s SPANISH MISSION, who earned an automatic starting berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf when he won Saturday’s inaugural $1 million “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Derby Invitational, will likely pass on a trip to Santa Anita and point to a 4-year-old campaign, co-owner Barry Irwin stated. The 3-year-old son of Noble Mission (GB) made it 3-for-7 lifetime for trainer David Simcock while winning his U.S. debut, but has his sights set on getting 2020 underway in Dubai. Irwin indicated that a stiff step up in class to the Turf, in addition to Spanish Mission still being a bit immature, led to the decision to looks to next year, instead of running at Santa Anita.

However, the Breeders’ Cup could have picked up a starter in the Aga Kahn’s homebred EDISA, who won the inaugural $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational earlier on the card. The 3-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy entered off a pair of second-place finishes in the Prix de Malleret (G2) at Saint-Cloud in June and Prix de Psyche (G2) at Deauville July 27 for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and improved to 3-for-7 at Belmont. Edisa could start in ParisLongchamp’s historic Oct. 6 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), this year a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, but could also point to Santa Anita and the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Video: Jockey Club Oaks Invt.

“I don't know yet if we'll go onto the Breeders' Cup,” Royer-Dupre said. “We'll watch the weather during the weekend of the Arc and perhaps see if the ground is good. Perhaps we can go on from there and return to Santa Anita, but we'll put it all under consideration."

Ward Has Options with Kentucky Downs Winner Cambria

Stonestreet Stable’s homebred CAMBRIA, who beat males in Saturday’s $454,750 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, will point to either the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf or Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, according to trainer Wesley Ward. The 2-year-old daughter of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown made it 3-for-3 in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, in what was her turf debut. Cambria won twice on the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs to start her career and has Ward looking forward to a trip to Santa Anita later this fall, though which ‘Cup race has yet to be decided. 

“We’ll huddle up with the Stonestreet team and see if we’re going to go five-eighths or a mile,” Ward said.



A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:


September 14 – $200,000 Locust Grove (G3) at Churchill Downs. Run at 1 1/16 miles for fillies & mares. 


September 14 – $1.441 QIPCO Irish Champion (G1) at Leopardstown. Run at 1 ¼ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.

September 14 – $896,000 St Leger (G1) at Doncaster. Run at about 1 ¾ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.

September 14 – $691,892 Irish St Leger (G1) at The Curragh. Run at about 1 ¾ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.

September 14 – $300,000 Northern Dancer (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.


September 14 – $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 3yos & up.


September 14 – $403,604 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (G1) at Leopardstown. Run at 1-mile on the turf for fillies & mares.

September 14 – $250,000 Canadian (G2) at Woodbine. Run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for fillies & mares.

September 15 – $691,892 Prix Vermeille (G1) at Longchamp. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for fillies & mares.


September 14 – $125,000 Bold Venture (G3) at Woodbine. Run at six and a half furlongs for 3yos & up. 


September 14 – $200,000 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs. Run at 1 1/16 miles for 2yos.


September 14 – $200,000 Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs. Run at 1 1/16 miles for 2yo fillies.


September 15 – $461,261 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G1) at The Curragh. Run at five furlongs on the turf for 3yos & up.


September 15 – $403,604 Vincent O’Brien National (G1) at The Curragh. Run at seven furlongs on the turf for 2yos.

September 15 – $250,000 Summer (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 2yos.


September 15 – $461,261 Moyglare Stud (G1) at The Curragh. Run at seven furlongs on the turf for 2yo fillies.

September 15 – $250,000 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 2yo fillies.


MAJOR STAKES RECAP - September 7-8

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. 21. An asterisk in the points section denotes a foreign contender. A complete Breeders’ Cup Points list is available at:

Zulu Alpha strides home to win the Kentucky Turf Cup
Coady Photography

Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Michael Hui’s ZULU ALPHA (Jose Ortiz) won his third graded stakes of the year with a 3 ¼-length win over ARKLOW in Kentucky Downs’ $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). Mike Maker trained the winner, a 6-year-old son of Street Cry (IRE) who has been one of the best second-division turf runners over the past several seasons and passed $1 million in career earnings with the win. Zulu Alpha won the William McKnight (G3) and Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park this winter and entered off a close fifth in Saratoga’s Bowling Green (G2) July 27. He’s now 9-for-28 lifetime and Maker indicated he could run next in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita, or possibly the Canadian International at Woodbine October 12.

Video: Kentucky Cup Turf 

Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders



Read the full Countdown to the Breeders' Cup World Championships Newletter here.

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