Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter - September 4
Advisory: This is the second 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.
A Thread of Blue and Digital Age to meet again in Jockey Club Derby
Eclipse Sportswire photo
Jockey Club Derby, Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Offer ‘Cup Bids
Saturday’s inaugural $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park takes on added significance as the race is a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, while the $700,000 “Win and You’re In” Runhappy Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs will offer an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Both races will be televised on NBC (4:30-6 pm ET) as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In- Presented by America’s Best Racing” program.
Run at 1 ½ miles, the Jockey Club Derby is the third and final leg of the New York Racing Association’s newly minted Turf Trinity which began with the Belmont Derby (G1) in July and continued with the Saratoga Derby Aug. 4. The Jockey Club Derby drew a field of nine, with Leonard Green’s A THREAD OF BLUE and Klaravich Stable’s DIGITAL AGE, the 1-2 finishers of the Saratoga Derby, leading the way. The former, a 3-year-old son of Hard Spun led every step of the way for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and again looks like the controlling speed, while the latter, a son of Invincible Spirit (IRE), closed stoutly late to miss by a length for trainer Chad Brown. A Thread of Blue is 5-for-10 lifetime, which includes a win in Gulfstream Park’s Palm Beach (G3) in March, while Digital Age is 3-for-5 lifetime, including the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs in May.
The foreigners are led by SPANISH MISSION, who won the Bahrain Trophy (G3) two-back at Newmarket for trainer David Simcock, and SAN HUBERTO (IRE), who is undefeated in two starts but is stepping up to stakes competition for the first time for trainer Fabrice Chappet. HENLEY’S JOY won the Belmont Derby for trainer Mike Maker but was just fifth at Saratoga, while TONE BROKE enters off wins in the restricted Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and Breeders’ Stakes at Fort Erie for trainer Steve Asmussen. CURRENT, PEDRO CARA (FR), and KADAR are also entered for the “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Derby Invitational.
Defending Two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Champion Stormy Liberal
Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup Photo
Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Highlights a Lucrative Day at Kentucky Downs
The ”Win and You’re In” Runhappy Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint is shaping up as one of the stronger turf sprints of the year and highlights a card that also includes the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3), $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), and $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3). Run at six furlongs, the Turf Sprint is expected to attract Rockingham Ranch’s reigning two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner STORMY LIBERAL, who is still looking for his first win after four starts this year. The 7-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic ended 2018 with a win at Churchill Downs in the Turf Sprint for trainer Peter Miller but has been a bit unlucky this year, as he’s run well without winning, including a third-place finish in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan in Dubai in March. Stormy Liberal is 12-for-34 lifetime and enters off a third-place finish in Del Mar’s Green Flash (G3) August 17.
David Palmer’s WET YOUR WHISTLE figures to love the long stretch, like he did at Woodbine when rallying late to win the Highlander (G1) in June for trainer Mike Trombetta. The 4-year-old son of Stroll is 5-for-12 lifetime was recently fourth in the Troy (G3) at Saratoga August 3. Amy Dunne’s LEINSTER won the Troy in a breakthrough performance for trainer Rusty Arnold and will look to back it up. The 4-year-old son of Majestic Warrior has won three straight and after going winless in his first 13 career starts and clearly rates as the now horse. Seven runners will face the top trio in the “Win and You’re In” Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint, with CAUTIOUS GIANT, IMPRIMIS, SMART REMARK, UNDRAFTED, WHITE FLAG, JAZZY TIMES and TOTALLY BOSS completing the field.
NEWS AND NOTES
Saratoga Juvenile Turf Winners Have Sights Set on Breeders’ Cup
Both Walking L Thoroughbreds’ FIGHTING SEABEE and Toby Morton and Chuck Howitz’s CRYSTALLE, who won Wednesday’s $150,000 With Anticipation (G3) and Thursday’s $100,000 P.G. Johnson, respectively, at Saratoga, have designs on the Breeders’ Cup later this fall.
Fighting Seabee, a 2-year-old son of Summer Front, made it 2-for-2 for trainer Kenny McPeek, as he doubled up on a maiden win at Ellis Park July 6. The $105,000 yearling purchase has proven a quick return on investment and has his trainer looking forward to a potential trip to Santa Anita later this fall.
“It's a good position to be in and hopefully he takes us to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf," McPeek said.
Crystalle, a 2-year-old daughter of Palace Malice, was controversially disqualified from an easy debut victory at Saratoga August 4 but made amends in the P.G. Johnson for trainer John Kimmel, as she overcame a slow pace and closed impressively for the win.
"We're thinking about Breeders Cup,” Kimmel said. “Now, we'll probably point to the Miss Grillo (G2, Sept. 29 at Belmont Park) and take it from there."
Vino Rosso Bypasses Woodward, to Use Gold Cup as Classic Prep
Trainer Todd Pletcher waited until scratch time to pass on Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward (G1, see race recap below) with Mike Repole’s homebred VINO ROSSO, and instead will use Belmont Park’s September 28 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, as a final prep for the race.
Vino Rosso, a 4-year-old son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin, was third in another automatic Classic qualifier, Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Whitney (G1) Aug. 3, and was 7-2 on the morning line for the Woodward before Pletcher ultimately chose the spacing of the Gold Cup, which is run at 1 ¼ miles, the same distance as the Classic and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1), a race the 5-for-13 Vino Rosso won in May.
“It was a really tough decision with Vino Rosso," Pletcher said. "We wavered back and forth for a long time. Our main focus is to get him to the Breeders' Cup Classic in good fashion. We felt like running twice was not the best way to get there. He's always run okay at Saratoga but is a little better at mile and a quarter. With that thinking running a mile and a quarter five weeks from the Classic (in the Jockey Club Gold Cup) will hopefully put us in a better position.
COUNTDOWN TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
September 7 – $300,000 Super Derby (G3) at Louisiana Downs. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 3yos.
September 7 – $250,000 British Columbia Derby (G3) at Hastings Park. Run at 1 1/8 miles for 3yos.
LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
September 7 – $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 3yos & up.
TVG BREEDERS’ CUP MILE
September 8 – $518,919 Prix du Moulin (G1) at Longchamp. Run at 1-mile on the turf for 3yos & up.
MAKER’S MARK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF
September 7 – $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Run at 1-mile on the turf for fillies & mares.
BREEDERS CUP TURF SPRINT
September 7 – $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Run at six furlongs on the turf for 3yo & up.
September 7 – $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Run at six and a half furlongs on the turf for fillies & mares.
September 7 – $384,000 Sprint Cup (G1) at Haydock. Run at six furlongs on the turf for 3yos & up.
Preservationist fights to the wire in the Woodward
Eclipse Sportswire photo
MAJOR STAKES RECAP - August 31-September 2
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 Breeders’ Cup Classic – Centennial Farm’s PRESERVATIONIST (Junior Alvarado) split horses in deep stretch for a half-length win over BAL HARBOUR in Saratoga’s $750,000 Woodward (G1). Jimmy Jerkens trained the winner, a 5-year-old son of Arch who rebounded from a disappointing fourth-place finish in the local August 3 “Win and You’re In” Whitney (G1), which was an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Jerkens has taken the patient approach with Preservationist, as he made his stakes debut a winning one in just his eighth lifetime start in Belmont Park’s Suburban (G2) in July, and the Woodward raised his lifetime mark to 6-for-10. Jerkens mentioned another Classic “Win and You’re In,” Belmont’s Sept. 28 “Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) as a next possible start, should he decide to prep for the Classic at Santa Anita. "I'm sure we'll take a look at the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he's run pretty close together his last three starts,” Jerkens said. “Obviously, the year-end goal you have to look at the Breeders' Cup Classic as to where we want to be. We'll come up with a plan to get there ready." The Gold Cup would be a logical spot for Red Oak Stable’s homebred Bal Harbour, who was stepping up off a second-place finish in the Monmouth Cup (G3) July 20 for trainer Todd Pletcher, who clearly has the 4-year-old son of First Samurai on the upswing. China Horse Club International and WinStar Farm’s YOSHIDA (JPN), who won the Woodward last year for trainer Bill Mott, rallied late for third after running second to divisional leader McKinzie in the Woodward and could go straight to the Classic, a race he finished fourth in last year at Churchill Downs. Video: The Woodward
Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Ronal Donaldson’s SPUN TO RUN (Paco Lopez) won his first career stakes with a head victory over GRAY MAGICIAN in Parx Racing’s $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3). The 3-year-old son of Hard Spun has come to hand this summer for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero, as he entered off a third-place finish in Monmouth Park’s July 20 “Win and You’re In” Haskell Invitational (G1), an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Spun to Run is now 3-for-8 lifetime but all three wins have come in his last four starts, which gives him a puncher’s chance in the local Sept. 28 Pennsylvania Derby (G1). ABR Video: Smarty Jones Stakes
Breeders’ Cup Classic – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Challenge 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.