Two-time Group 1 winner Circus Maximus (IRE) has faced the best all season and beaten many of them in the process. In six starts this year, the son of Galileo has finished respectably in races as far as the 12-furlong Investec English Derby (G1) and 10 ½ furlong in the Juddmonte International (G1), but found his niche in top-level affairs over a mile. Let go at 10-1, he won Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) over champion Too Darn Hot and King of Comedy, then lost a battle with Too Darn Hot in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes (G1) by a half-length. In September, he had another battle go his way when winning the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) over Romanised (IRE) by a nose. Kept up after an appeal, he enters the Breeders’ Cup as Ballydoyle’s top hope in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Circus Maximus is owned by a combined powerhouse partnership of the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Stables and the Coolmore triumvirate of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. While the Coolmore conglomerate bodes double-digit Breeders’ Cup trophies, Flaxman is not far behind and have been brutally efficient in the Mile. Flaxman won it twice with the great Miesque in 1987 and 1988, Spinning World in 1997, Domedriver in 2002, Six Perfections in 2003 and Karakontie in 2014. In fact, Flaxman not only has the most wins in the Mile, but four of those six came at Southern California tracks.
Circus Maximus is the first son of Group 1 Irish filly Duntle, who was seventh in the 2013 Beverly D. (G1) and was a Royal Ascot winner in the Duke of Cambridge (G2) over subsequent champion Dank.
Circus Maximus is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has had 138 starters at the World Championships and 12 winners. A shocking statistic is that while he has had 23 starters, he has never had a winner in the Mile. He has, much to his likely chagrin, claimed four runner-up efforts: Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Antonius Pius (2004), Excellent Art (2007) and Lancaster Bomber (2017).