Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - September 18
Advisory: This is the fifth 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 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.
Parx’s Cotillion to Offer Distaff Bid, Pa. Derby to Reunite War of Will, Improbable
A slight lull in what will become a furious pair of Challenge weekends ahead is filled by Parx Racing Saturday in Bensalem, Pa., where the “Win and You’re In” Cotillion (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, will serve as a co-feature on a card that is highlighted by the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), which, with the late scratch of Maximum Security, sees Triple Crown rivals WAR OF WILL and IMPROBABLE as the pair to beat.
Both the Cotillion and the Pennsylvania Derby will be televised live on NBC at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing.”
The Cotillion, run at 1 1/16 miles, is shaping up as one of the best races in the 3-year-old filly ranks this year, with Three Chimneys Farm’s homebred GUARANA putting her undefeated record on the line for trainer Chad Brown. The daughter of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper has been a dynamo in her three starts, winning her debut at Keeneland in April by 14 ¾ lengths, Belmont Park’s Acorn (G1) in June by 6 lengths, and then passing the two-turn test when she wired Saratoga’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) July 19. A Cotillion win would give Guarana a clear divisional lead over stablemate Dunbar Road, who won Saratoga’s Alabama (G1) Aug. 17.
Competition runs deep, however, with Joel Politi’s SERENGETI EMPRESS taking another shot at Guarana after she set a torrid pace and was a clear second in the Acorn. The daughter of Alteration won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs in May for trainer Tom Amoss and has been as impressive in defeat as she has in victory, as she was also a super second in Saratoga’s Test (G1) Aug. 3. Serengeti Empress is 5-for-10 lifetime, including a win in Fair Grounds’ Rachel Alexandra (G2) in February, and a win could start a late-season push for a divisional championship.
Kaleem Shah’s BELLAFINA, who won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) in April for trainer Simon Callaghan but was just fifth in the Kentucky Oaks and a distant third in the Test, brings some star power, as does DJ Stable’s JAYWALK, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita for trainer John Servis but is just 1-for-5 since. AFLEET DESTINY, COLLEGEVILLE GIRL, HOROLOGIST, JELTRIN, SHE MAKES ME SMILE, STREET BAND, and SWEET SAMI D are all entered for the “Win and You’re In” Cotillion.
Preakness winner War of Will
Eclipse Sportswire Photo
War of Will, Improbable Meet Again in Derby
The Tuesday morning scratch of Gary and Mary West’s homebred, divisional leader, and 9-5 morning line favorite Maximum Security, due to a colon issue, has strengthened the winning chances of War of Will and Improbable, who met in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, in what is now a six-horse field for the Pennsylvania Derby.
Gary Barber’s War of Will was a troubled and well-publicized eighth in the Derby (moved up to seventh) then returned to win the Preakness for trainer Mark Casse, and has long been pointed to Parx. The son of War Front, who is 4-for-12 lifetime, also won the LeComte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds this winter but has disappointed in his last two, running ninth in the Belmont in June and fifth in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2) July 27. Maximum Security’s absence, coupled with a win from War of Will, could start a late-season push that could potentially wrestle the championship away, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic still looming.
WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and Starlight Racing’s IMPROBABLE was one of the winter book favorites for the Derby and was favored in the race after running second in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) this winter but was a trouble-free fifth for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of City Zip then followed that up with a flat sixth as the favorite in the Preakness before bypassing the Belmont and aiming for a late-summer and fall campaign. Improbable returned to win the Del Mar’s Shared Belief Aug. 25, his first win on the year, and is 4-for-8 lifetime.
Allied Racing Stable’s MR. MONEY will step up off a quartet of lopsided grade 3 victories for trainer Bret Calhoun, most recently by six lengths in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer park Aug.3, and the son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents clearly rates as the now horse, as he’s won those four starts by a combined 20 ¼ lengths, while Robert Donaldson’s SPUN TO RUN won the local prep, the Sept, 2 Smarty Jones (G3) for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. MATH WIZARD, sixth most recently to Mr. Money in the West Virginia Derby, and SHANGHAI SUPERFLY, a maiden, are also entered for the Pennsylvania Derby.
NEWS AND NOTES
Mogul Earns Juvenile Turf Bid at Leopardstown
The Coolmore conglomerate of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith’s MOGUL earned an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf when he won Saturday’s $172,973 “Win and You’re In” KPMG Champions Juvenile (G2) by 1 ¼ lengths over SINAWANN (IRE) at Leopardstown. The 2-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) entered off a maiden win at The Curragh Aug. 30 for trainer Aidan O’Brien and has long been held in high regard, as he was a $4.655 million yearling purchase at the Tattersalls sale last year and is a full-brother to Coolmore and O’Brien’s JAPAN (IRE), who earned an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won York’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte International (G1) Aug. 21. Mogul is now 2-for-3 lifetime, though a trip to Santa Anita for the Juvenile Turf may not be in the cards, as O’Brien indicated he may back off on his potential star, with eyes on next year’s European classics.
Code of Honor Readies for Gold Cup, Classic Still Possible
Will Farish’s homebred CODE OF HONOR, who won Saratoga’s Travers (G1) Aug. 24, is finishing up preparations for Belmont Park’s Sept. 28 “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and remains possible for a trip to Santa Anita. The son of Noble Mission (GB) has been one of the more consistent 3-year-olds this year for trainer Shug McGaughey, as he won Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth (G2) in Mar., was third (moved to second) in the Kentucky Derby, and won Belmont’s Dwyer (G3) in July. Code of Honor, who is 4-for-8 lifetime, worked four furlongs in 50.55 Sept. 15 at Belmont and could parlay a big Gold Cup run into a trip to Santa Anita.
"The Breeders' Cup is still in consideration,” McGaughey said. “We just have to get through this one and we'll see where we go from there."
Old Chestnut Has Casse Thinking ‘Cup Off Woodbine Win
Live Oak Plantation’s homebred OLD CHESTNUT wired Sunday’s $100,000 Ontario Racing Sunday at Woodbine and the 1 ¾-length win has set the wheels in motion to a potential trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint later this fall. The 2-year-old son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown made it 2-for-2 on the turf for trainer Mark Casse and improved off his maiden win over the local course Aug. 9. Old Chestnut was fifth on debut at Woodbine over the Tapeta in July but has found a new home on the grass and will be pointed to Keeneland’s Oct. 6 Indian Summer, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
“I thought about it for a little bit, and then thought maybe go here and then go to Keeneland (for the Indian Summer),” Casse said. “We won it last year with Strike Silver. That’s what kind of swayed my decision to come here. We’d go here, and then hopefully with a good performance there, he’d go to the Breeders’ Cup.”
COUNTDOWN TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
September 21 – $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 3yos.
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
September 21 – $1 million Cotillion (G1) at Park Racing. Run at 1 1/16 miles for 3yo fillies.
September 21 – $300,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) at Charles Town. Run at seven furlongs for 3yo fillies.
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
September 22 – $178,739 Preis Von Europa (G1) at Koln. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.
TVG BREEDERS’ CUP MILE
September 21 – $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3) at Laurel Park. Run at one mile on the turf for 3yos & up.
MAKER’S MARK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
September 21 – $200,000 Noble Damsel (G3) at Belmont Park. Run at one mile on the turf for fillies & mares.
BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
September 21 – $300,000 Gallant Bob (G2) at Parx Racing. Run at six furlongs for 3yos.
September 21 – $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park. Run at six furlongs for 3yos & up.
BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE SPRINT
September 22 – $250,000 Gallant Bloom (G2) at Belmont Park. Run at six and a half furlongs for fillies & mares.
BIG ASS FANS BREEDERS’ CUP DIRT MILE
September 21 – $300,000 Kelso (G2) at Belmont Park. Run at one mile for 3yos & up.
El Tormenta Scores 44-1 Upset in Ricoh Woodbine Mile
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
MAJOR STAKES RECAP - September 12-15
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: https://members.breederscup.com/championships/pointsleaderboard.aspx
Countdown to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Jay Em Ess Stable’s homebred GO GOOGLE YOURSELF (Brian Hernandez) won her first career graded stakes with a neck win over MOONLIT GARDEN in Churchill Downs’ $200,000 Locust Grove (G3). Paul McGee trained the winner, a 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief who entered off her first career stakes win in the Groupie Doll at Ellis Park Aug. 11 and is clearly at the peak of her career. Go Google Yourself is now 6-for-17 lifetime and could potentially wheel back in Keeneland’s October 6 Juddmonte Spinster (G1), which is a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Video: Locust Grove
Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
- September 25, 2021
Royal Patronage Scores in Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Earns Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Royal Patronage (FR) landed a thrilling Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket, securing his guaranteed start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
- September 24, 2021
This is the fourth of eight weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
- September 24, 2021
Masekela Heads to Newmarket for Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Masekela (IRE) heads a field of seven in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.