Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - September 16
Advisory: This is the fourth 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.
Ricoh Woodbine Mile Headlines as Challenge Series Heads to Canada
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series has Canada all to itself this weekend, as a trio of “Win and You’re In” races will be held at Woodbine Racetrack outside of Toronto over two days, highlighted by Saturday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1), which will award an automatic starting berth into the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1). On Sunday, 2-year-olds take the spotlight, as the Summer Stakes (G1) and Natalma Stakes (G1) rate as automatic qualifiers into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), respectively.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile (5-6 pm ET), along with the Summer and Natalma (4-6 pm ET) the following day, will be shown live on NBCSN, in association with TVG, as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing.”
The $1 million Woodbine Mile has long been a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup, with Wise Dan (2012-2013) and World Approval (2017) using a win as a springboard to a Mile win, while Court Vision (2010) and Tepin (2016) also won the race and the Mile in their career. This year’s edition figures no different, as Gary Barber’s WAR OF WILL, who won the Preakness Stakes (G1) last year for trainer Mark Casse, will look to continue his ascent up the turf ranks when he starts as the likely strong favorite among eight entered on Wednesday. The 4-year-old son of War Front was one of the top 3-year-olds of 2019 but has taken a new career path this year, as he was a close fifth in his seasonal debut in May in Santa Anita’s Shoemaker Mile (G1), also a “Win and You’re In” for the Mile, before winning Keeneland’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) July 10. War of Will, who was also ninth in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), is 5-for-16 lifetime, and a Woodbine Mile win would put him at or near the top of the North American turf division.
Blue Heaven Farm’s STARSHIP JUBILEE will look to join Ventura and Tepin as only the third female to win the Woodbine Mile and has a big chance based on her affinity for the local course. The 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind is a seven-time graded stakes winner for trainer Kevin Attard and is 6-for-13 over the Woodbine turf, which includes a win in last year’s E.P. Taylor (G1). Starship Jubilee is 18-for-37 lifetime and 4-for-5 this year, with a win over and Breeders’ Cup 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Sistercharlie (IRE) in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa (G2) in July. She enters off a fourth in the Aug. 23 Diana (G1).
Klaravich Stables’ VALUE PROPOSITION invades for trainer Chad Brown, and the 4-year-old son of Dansili (GB), who is 3-for-5 lifetime, will look to break through for his first career stakes win, while Chuck Fipke’s homebred SHIRL’S SPEIGHT, a son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Speightstown who is 2-for-2 lifetime, is long on talent and will step up off a win over fellow 3-year-olds in the Marine (G3) over the local Tapeta track on July 25. ADMIRALTY PIER, ARMISTICE DAY, MARCH TO THE ARCH, and OLYMPIC RUNNER are also entered for the Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
Summer, Natalma Expected to Lure Deep Fields
The “Win and You’re In” action shifts to the 2-year-olds Sunday at Woodbine, as the $250,000 Summer (G1) and $250,000 Natalma (G1) will offer automatic starting berths into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, respectively.
NEWS AND NOTES
Maximum Security Maintains Lead in Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings
Maximum Security, unbeaten in three starts this year, maintained his top rating in week #9 of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, while Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) winner Tom’s d’Etat jumped into second place over Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Tiz the Law.
The 2020 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings is a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The 1 ¼-mile Classic, scheduled to be run on Nov. 7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., is the climactic race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Gary and Mary West, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Maximum Security (282 votes) has a 52-vote margin over GMB Racing’s 7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat (230 votes). Maximum Security, trained by Bob Baffert, worked 6 furlongs in 1:11.40 on Monday at Santa Anita Park. Maximum Security earned a free berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) by capturing the “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 22. He is scheduled to start next in the “Win and You’re In” Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Sept. 26.
*Note – The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings have no bearing on qualification or selection into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings are determined by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. Rankings will be announced each week through Oct. 13. A list of voting members can be found here.
Cadillac Earns Juvenile Turf Berth in KPMG Champions Juvenile
Alpha Racing 2020’s CADILLAC (IRE) earned an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) when he won the Leopardstown’s Sept. 12 $169,068 “Win and You’re In” KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2). The 2-year-old son of Lope De Vega (IRE) was a dominant 3 ½-length winner over VAN GOGH as the heavy favorite and made it 2-for-3 lifetime for trainer Jessica Harrington. Cadillac, who won on debut at Leopardstown in July and entered off a second-place finish in The Curragh’s Aug. 22 Futurity (G2), could use his first career stakes win as a precursor for a much bigger assignment later this fall.
“He's a horse that just goes through the motions at home, you don't really know how big an engine is in there but it's fairly big,” Harrington said. “I'd say all being well his next start will probably be in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.”
Code of Honor Works for Gold Cup, Eyes Classic
Will Farish’s homebred CODE OF HONOR, recently finishing a disappointing fourth in Saratoga’s Aug. 1 Whitney (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, continues to prepare for Belmont Park’s Oct. 10 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), which is also a “Win and You’re In” for the Classic. The 4-year-old son of Noble Mission (GB), who won last year’s Runhappy Travers (G1) at Saratoga and Belmont’s Westchester (G3) in June, has posted three works since the Whitney for trainer Shug McGaughey. Code of Honor, who was also elevated to second in last year’s Kentucky Derby, is 6-for-13 lifetime but was a bit dull while beaten 5 lengths by Improbable at 5-2 in the Whitney, prompting McGaughey to look towards the future and the Gold Cup, with the hopes that a good run would send him to Keeneland.
“After the Whitney, I just said let's go for a restart,” McGaughey said. “And that’s what I’m doing. If he runs well, we can still think about the Breeders’ Cup.”
Longchamp Winners Figure Prominent on Arc Day
The Oct. 4 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) card came into focus this past weekend as ParisLongchamp Racecourse staged its prep day Sept. 12. Five group stakes races, including three Group 1’s, were run over the course and figure to have a definitive impact on Arc Day, which will feature no fewer than 10 Group 1 stakes, five of which are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races, none more important than the historic $5.635 million Arc, which is an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
A pair of course and distance preps for the Arc were run, with the Coolmore conglomerate of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier and trainer Aidan O’Brien winning the day, as their ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE) took the $146,525 Prix Foy (G2) over the heavily- favored stayer STRADIVARIUS (IRE), while their MOGUL (GB) won the $676,271 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (G1).
Anthony Van Dyck was an upset winner of the Epsom Derby (G1) last year and ran third in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita, but was winning for just the first time in three starts this year. The 4-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) is 6-for-17 lifetime and looms a fringe contender in the Arc, though O’Brien hinted he may head to Australia instead. Bjorn Nielson’s homebred Stradivarius has been Europe’s best long-distance runner the past several years for trainer John Gosden, as he’s won Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup (G1) three years running and is 16-for-24 lifetime. Gosden, who will also saddle the super mare Enable (GB) in her quest to win the Arc for a record third time, was pleased with Stradivarius, a 6-year-old son of Sea the Stars (IRE). Stradivarius was cutting back off 2-mile wins in June’s Gold Cup, and Glorious Goodwood’s July 28 Goodwood Cup (G1). Video
Mogul won his first career Group 1 and the 3-year-old son of Galileo (IRE), who captured the Gordon (G3) at Glorious Goodwood in July, is 4-for-9 lifetime, though O’Brien indicated he too could bypass the Arc for an easier assignment. Video
Longchamp also held the $676,271 Prix Vermeille (G1, see race recap below), which was won by TARNAWA (IRE), and could serve as a prep for the Arc or the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) at the same distance, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Come Dancing Likely to Train Up to Filly & Mare Sprint
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s homebred COME DANCING is likely to make the last start of her stellar career in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), trainer Carlos Martin announced. The 6-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon was in line for a championship last year before running a surprisingly poor sixth as the 2-1 second choice in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. She took four starts to get a win this year, but got untracked when she won Saratoga’s Honorable Miss (G2) Sept. 6.
Come Dancing, who earned a berth into the Filly & Mare Sprint last year when she won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Ballerina (G1), is 9-for-18 lifetime and has won a quintet of graded stakes. Last year, Martin elected to ship to Santa Anita the week of the Filly & Mare Sprint but will likely tweak that this year and send Come Dancing to Keeneland early, to get an affinity for the track.
"After speaking to (Blue Devil Racing’s owner) Marc (Halliday), we're inclined to go fresh into the Breeders' Cup,” Martin said. “We'll get her down there early and get a few works over the track into her. This is going to be it, so we'll take our last shot. We tried going last minute to California and that's a whole different trip. I don't see any downside to going down a few weeks early."
COUNTDOWN TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
September 19 – $125,000 Singspiel (G3) at Woodbine. Run at 1 ¼ miles on turf for 3yos & up.
FANDUEL BREEDERS’ CUP MILE PRESENTED BY PDJF
September 19 – $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on turf for 3yos & up.
MAKER’S MARK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
September 19 – $250,000 Belmont Oaks (G1) at Belmont Park. Run at 1 ¼ miles on turf for 3yo fillies.
BIG ASS FANS BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE
September 20 – $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park. Run at 1-mile for 3yos & up.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF
September 20 – $250,000 Summer (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on turf for 2yos.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
September 20 – $250,000 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine. Run at 1-mile on turf for 2yo fillies.
MAJOR STAKES RECAP | Sept. 12-13
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 Turf – Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier’s MAGICAL (IRE) (Seamus Heffernan) added to her legend and earned an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf with a three-quarter-length win over GHAIYYATH (IRE) in Leopardstown’s $1.408 million “Win and You’re In” Irish Champion (G1). Aidan O’Brien trained the winner, a 5-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) who repeated in the Irish Champion and added to a resume that now includes seven Group 1 wins. Magical came to prominence on the international scene when she battled Enable (GB) to a close second in the 2018 Turf at Churchill Downs and avenged her lone loss from four starts this year to Ghaiyyath when second to him in York Aug. 19 Juddmonte International (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Magical, who also beat males in The Curragh’s July 26 Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1), sits at 12-for-25 lifetime, with plenty more still to come, as she could still run in Longchamp’s historic Oct. 4 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, also a “Win and You’re In” for the Turf, before a trip to Keeneland later this fall. “The Breeders’ Cup could also suit her really well,” O’Brien said. “We think she gets a mile and a quarter real strong and at a mile and a half you probably have to ride more of a race on her.” Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath, considered by most the best turf horse in the world entering the Irish Champion, lost nothing in defeat while suffering his first loss in five starts this year for trainer Charlie Appleby. The 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) won the Coronation Cup (G1) at Newmarket in June and then beat Enable in the Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown in July before beating Magical and earning a Classic win in the Juddmonte International. Ghaiyyath is now 9-for-13 lifetime and is likely to pass the Arc, which makes him very logical for the Turf, a race his connections have long hinted at would be a late-season goal. Video
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway’s ARKLOW (Florent Geroux) added blinkers and produced a stalking 1 ¼-length win over RED KNIGHT in Kentucky Downs’ $910,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). The 6-year-old son of Arch had been a stretch runner throughout his career for trainer Brad Cox but showed newfound early focus while ending a five-race losing streak, which dated back to last October’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park. Arklow, who was fourth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in 2018 and eighth in the race last year at Santa Anita, will look to better those finishes this year, and could again prep in this year’s Oct. 3 Hirsch. “Our next decision is: Do we go to the Joe Hirsch in three weeks and then give him five weeks to the Breeders’ Cup? Do we just train him up to the Breeders’ Cup?” Donegal founder Jerry Crawford said. “Brad is very, very pleased with the way he came out of the race. You want him to be fresh going into the Breeders’ Cup, but you don’t want him to be stale. To figure that out is the next challenge.” Michael Hui’s ZULU ALPHA, the defending champion, struggled to deliver his stretch run over the soft turf and checked in third at odds-on for trainer Mike Maker. The 7-year-old son of Street Cry (IRE) is arguably the most accomplished long-distance turf horse in the country, as he won the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream Park in January, along with their Mac Diarmida (G2) in February, and Keeneland’s Elkhorn (G2) July 12. Zulu Alpha is 12-for-35 lifetime and is also pointing to the Turf, a race he finished fourth in last year. Video
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Galileo Chrome Partnership’s GALILEO CHROME (IRE) (Tom Marquand) was up by a neck over BERKSHIRE ROCCO (FR) to win Doncaster’s $931,000 St Leger (G1). Joseph O’Brien trained the winner, a 3-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) who was making his group stakes debut in what is the U.K.’s oldest Classic. Galileo Chrome entered off a win in the listed Yeats Stakes at Navan Aug. 29 and won for the fourth time in five career starts. Video
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Moyglare Stud Farm’s homebred SEARCH FOR A SONG (IRE) (Oisin Orr) repeated in The Curragh’s $788,983 Irish St Leger (G1) with a 2-length win over FUKAIRA PRINCE (IRE). The 4-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) won for the first time in four starts this year for trainer Dermot Weld and clearly has an affinity for the local course, as well as a true turf marathon, as her only other group stakes success came in last year’s St Leger. Search For a Song is now 4-for-9 lifetime and Weld indicated she could run once more this year, potentially in the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1), which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Maker’s Mark Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Longchamp Oct. 4, before being put away for a 2021 campaign. Video
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
- January 21, 2021
The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) is set to take place Saturday at Gulfstream Park, with a field of 12 entered to run the nine-furlong race.
- January 21, 2021
The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday drew a field of 12, with trainers Shug McGaughey, Mike Maker, and Todd Pletcher each entering more than one horse.
- January 14, 2021
The 2021 California Cup races have been drawn for the January 16 card at Santa Anita Park. There are five stakes races for California-breds scheduled on a 10-race card, with the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes topping the action as Race 9.