Canterbury’s free-to-enter handicapping contest, known as Countdown to the Cup, continues Saturday in the Racebook. Entrants have a chance to win a wagering bankroll for the Nov. 3 and 4 Breeders’ Cup.
This week’s contest track is Keeneland. Players select one horse in each race and submit the official entry card prior to the first race. Points are earned based on mutuel payouts of those selections. The top five point earners win a betting bankroll. Saturday’s Keeneland card includes the Grade 1 $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II.
Here are last week’s prize winners:
$200 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Stanley Bass
$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Cory Bultinck
$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Kevin Farrell
$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Charles Knox
$100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll – Doug Plehal
The Breeders’ Cup publicity team has done a remarkable job with notes. Here is another installment:
Gun Runner Vs. Baffert’s Imposing Trio Highlights Classic, Del Mar’s First Breeders’ Cup
All roads lead to Del Mar for the 34th Breeders Cup on November 3-4. This is the inaugural running at the seaside track outside of San Diego. And while the two-day extravaganza will feature countless equine stars and soon-to-be champions in the 13 races that total more than $28 million in purses and awards, it’s the $6 million Classic that rightfully takes center stage, as divisional leader GUN RUNNER will look to cap off a Horse of the Year campaign when he takes on trainer Bob Baffert’s daunting trio of defending Classic winner ARROGATE, as well as the streaking COLLECTED and upstart 3-year-old WEST COAST.
- Pre-Entered fields for all 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
- The Rood & Riddle Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw will be held on Monday, Oct. 30.
- The 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be covered live on NBC and NBCSN. Friday’s coverage will air from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, while Saturday will be on NBCSN from 1:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET., with the Classic airing on NBC from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner has used a three-race winning streak to surge past Arrogate in the Horse of the Year race, but his lead is a tenuous one as the 1 ¼-mile Classic looms. The 4-year-old son of Sidney’s Candy (ARG) earned an automatic berth into the Classic when he won Churchill Downs’ “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (GI) in June, then followed that win with a win in Saratoga’s Whitney (GI), another Classic “Win and You’re In” in August, and will enter off a dominant 10 ¼-length victory in the Woodward (GI) Sept. 2. Gun Runner is 10-for-17 overall, but is 0-for-3 at 1 ¼ miles and 0-for-2 against Arrogate, which includes a second-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (GI) at Meydan in March. Asmussen has opted for the road less traveled approach, and is training Gun Runner up to the Classic, and has already shipped him to Santa Anita, where on Monday he worked five furlongs in 1:01.60.
Juddmonte Farm’s Arrogate has seen his aura of invincibility take a hit, as the defending Classic winner has lost two straight after rattling off a four-pack of Grade I wins, that started with a track record romp (over Gun Runner) in Saratoga’s Travers in August 2016, continued in the Classic at Santa Anita in November, Gulfstream Park’s inaugural Pegasus World Cup in January and culminated with his-last-to-first win in the Dubai World Cup in March. Little has gone right since for the 4-year-old son of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled’s Song, as he was fourth at 1-20 in the San Diego (GII) at Del Mar in July and second there Aug. 19 to Collected in the TVG Pacific Classic (GI), another “Win and You’re In” for the Classic. Arrogate is 7-for-10 lifetime, but like Gun Runner, has his own hurdles to clear, as he’s 0-for-2 at Del Mar. And also like his rival, he’ll train up to the race at Santa Anita as well. On Tuesday, Arrogate worked five furlongs handily in 1:00.20.
Speedway Stable’s Collected wired Arrogate in the Pacific Classic to earn a berth into the Classic and himself would be Horse of the Year if he continues his run at Del Mar. The 4-year-old son of City Zip has come from nowhere this year for Baffert and is undefeated in four starts, with wins in Santa Anita’s Californian (GII) in April and Precisionist (GIII) in June. Collected is 8-for-11 lifetime and is continuing the building trend off training up to the Classic, and showed he hasn’t lost his form, going six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:12.80 on Oct. 7.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s MUBTAAHIJ (IRE) added to Baffert’s imposing army when he earned a Classic berth with his win in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Awesome Again (GI) Sept. 30. The well-traveled 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) has been with trainers Mike De Kock and Kiaran McLaughlin and to Dubai and back twice in his four years of racing, but peaked while earning his first grade I win in his first start for Baffert. Mubtaahij is 5-for-18 lifetime and seems a much better horse than the one who was a distant fourth behind Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup.
Baffert, who has won 14 Breeders’ Cup races, and is second to D. Wayne Lukas (20) in all time Breeders’ Cup wins by a trainer, will be shooting for his fourth consecutive Classic, having trained the last three winners with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate.
Lauren and Ralph Evans’ DIVERSIFY earned the last-of-seven automatic berths into the Classic when he won Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI, see race recap below) at Belmont Park for trainer Rick Violette. The 4-year-old New York-bred son of Bellamy Road stepped up and into his first career graded stakes and wired a modest bunch, but is 7-for-10 lifetime and his speed figures to add to what already looked like a sharp pace, should he run in the Classic.
The 3-year-olds have been subpar all year and took turns beating up on each other through the Triple Crown season, but it’s Baffert again who holds the ace, as Gary and Mary West’s WEST COAST has emerged as a clear divisional leader off lopsided Grade I wins in Saratoga’s Travers in August and Parx Racing’s Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 23. The 3-year-old son of Flatter has clearly turned the corner in his last two wins and will put his 6-for-8 lifetime record on the line when he tests older horses for the first time in the Classic. Paul Reddam’s PAVEL was a close third in the Gold Cup and will also head to the Classic for trainer Doug O’Neill, as will Peacock Racing Stable’s deep closer GUNNEVERA, who was second in the Travers for trainer Antonio Sano, while the Andrew Rosen, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith could send their Kentucky-bred WAR DECREE, who won the 1 2½ mile Koffy Diamond Stakes (G3) on the all-weather surface at Dundalk on Sept. 29 from Europe to make his dirt debut for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Donegal Racing and Calumet Farm’s KEEN ICE, who was third in the Classic last year for trainer Todd Pletcher and was second in the Gold Cup, and the speedy multiple graded stakes winner MIDNIGHT STORM, second in the Awesome Again and third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile for trainer Phil D’Amato, are also pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Gold Dream (JPN), who won the “Win and You’re In” February (GI) at Tokyo Racecourse in February, and Girvin, who won the “Win and You’re In” Haskell Invitational (GI) at Monmouth Park in July, also qualified for the race but will not be entered.
Distaff May Finally Have Stellar Wind’s Name on It
Hronis Racing’s STELLAR WIND will hope the third time’s the charm when she headlines the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the highlight of four Friday Breeders’ Cup Races. The 5-year-old daughter of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin was second in the 1 1/8-mile Distaff at Keeneland in 2015 and fourth at Santa Anita last year for trainer John Sadler, but has taken her game to a new level this year and will enter undefeated in three Grade I starts. Stellar Wind won the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April, the Beholder Mile at Santa Anita in June and then qualified for the Distaff with her win in the “Win and You’re In” Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar July 30. Stellar Wind is 10-for-15 lifetime and hasn’t missed a beat since the Hirsch, as she’s worked seven times, seven-to-eight days apart, since August 19.
Charles Fipke’s homebred FOREVER UNBRIDLED qualified for the Distaff with her victory in Churchill Downs’ “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June then won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Personal Ensign (GI) over the since-retired Songbird August 26. The 4-year-old daughter of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled’s Song was third in the Distaff last year for trainer Dallas Stewart, and, like Stellar Wind, has clearly developed into a much more finished product this year. Forever Unbridled is 7-for-16 lifetime, and, somewhat remarkably, every victory has come over a different race track.
G Watts Humphrey’s homebred ROMANTIC VISION earned a berth into the Distaff in Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Spinster (GI, see race recap below) at Keeneland for trainer Rusty Arnold, though 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid was a well-beaten eighth in the Fleur de Lis and will get a major class test in the Distaff.
Pam and Marty Wygod and Steven Sarkowsky’s PARADISE WOODS earned a Distaff berth when she won Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Zenyatta (GI) Sept. 30 for trainer Richard Mandella and looms a dangerous front runner. The 3-year-old daughter of Union Rags has also been an enigma this year, as she won the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) by the length of the stretch in April then was 11th in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs in May and sixth at 1-5 in her return in Del Mar’s Torrey Pines (GIII) in August. Paradise Woods is 3-for-6 lifetime and will meet by far her stiffest test in the Distaff.
The East Coast 3-year-olds will garner plenty of support, as both China Horse Club and Clearsky Farm’s ABEL TASMAN and Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred ELATE have the credentials to post a mild surprise. The former, a daughter of Quality Road, surged to the division lead off a trio of Grade I wins earlier this year in the Oaks, Belmont Park’s Acorn and Saratoga’s Coaching Club American Oaks for Baffert, and will enter off a second-place finish in Parx Racing’s Cotillion (GI) Sept. 23, while the latter, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro trained by Bill Mott, was beaten a head in the Coaching Club then aired in their Alabama (GI) in August and against older in Belmont’s Beldame (GI) Sept. 30. Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ IT TIZ WELL upset Abel Tasman in the Cotillion for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and is possible for the Distaff.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holding’s FAITHFULLY, who was a distant second to Paradise Woods in the Zenyatta for Baffert, is also expected for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, as is Ciaglia Racing’s CHAMPAGNE ROOM, who won the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton, but has won only the September 24 Remington Park Oaks in two starts since.
World Approval Rolls into Mile, Europeans Hold Heavy Hand in Turf
The Americans have won five of the last six renewals of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile and could add to that run this year, as Live Oak Plantation’s homebred WORLD APPROVAL will take some beating off a 4-for-5 campaign, including two recent dominant wins at the distance. The 5-year-old son of Northern Afleet won Saratoga’s Fourstardave (GI) in August then earned a berth into the Mile with his win in Woodbine’s “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (GI) Sept. 16 Video for trainer Mark Casse. World Approval is 10-for-23 lifetime and has a tactical style that should relish the Del Mar turf course.
George Turner and Clipper Logistics’ SUEDOIS (FR) upset Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Turf Mile (GI, see race recap below) at Keeneland to earn a berth into the Mile for trainer David O’Meara. The 6-year-old son of Le Havre (IRE) has never been better, as he entered off a win in the Boomerang (GII) at Leopardstown September 9 and is 8-for-32 lifetime. Calumet Farm’s BAL A BALI (BRZ) earned a berth into the Mile when he won Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Shoemaker Mile (GI) in June for trainer Richard Mandella, though he was a disappointing sixth in the Del Mar Mile (GII) August 20.
Godolphin’s RIBCHESTER (IRE), winner of three Group 1 races in 2017, would give the Mile some legitimate international star power and would potentially go favored should he make the trip from Europe, as he rates as their best miler. The 4-year-old son of Iffraaj (GB), who is 6-for-14 lifetime, won the Lockinge (GI) at Newbury in May, the prestigious Queen Anne (GI) at Royal Ascot in June and the Qatar Prix du Moulin (GI) at Chantilly Sept. 10. Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar’s DECORATED KNIGHT (GB) earned a berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf when he won the “Win and You’re In” QIPCO Irish Champion (GI) Sept. 9 at Leopardstown but will cut back in the Mile for trainer Roger Charlton and the 5-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) has knocked heads with Europe’s best going longer all year, which makes the cutback to a mile a very intriguing angle.
The rest of the Breeders’ Cup Mile possibles for the home team have their work cut out for them, as graded stakes winners ANNALS OF TIME, BALLAGH ROCKS, BLACKJACKCAT, HEART TO HEART, MR. ROARY, MISS TEMPLE CITY and OM all have talent, but seem a cut below the top players, even on their best day, while DICK WHITTINGHAM (IRE), HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE), KARAR (IRE), LANCASTER BOMBER, MONDIALISTE (IRE) and SO BELOVED (GB), could all come from Europe.
While the Americans have enjoyed tremendous recent success in the Mile, the 1 ½-mile, $4 million Longines Turf has had a decided European flavor, as seven of the last nine renewals have gone the way of the foreigners. That trend could continue this year, as Flaxman Stable’s (Niarchos Family) homebred ULYSSES (IRE) hits hard for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, as he has had the misfortune of chasing the indomitable Enable (GB) twice in his past three races. The 4-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) earned a berth into the Turf when he won York’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte International (GI) in August and, save for a second to Enable in Ascot’s “Win and You’re In” King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (GI) in July and third to her in Chantilly’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (GI) Oct. 1, would likely be an imposing favorite. Ulysses, who was fourth in the Turf last year at Santa Anita, is 5-for-13 lifetime, which includes a win in the Coral-Eclipse (GI) at Sandown in June, and has long been pointed to the Turf over a Del Mar course that his trainer has said he figures to appreciate greatly.
A trio of Americans earned automatic berths into the Turf, with James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners’ BEACH PATROL leading the way for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid won the “Win and You’re In” Arlington Million (GI) at Arlington Park (GI) in August to earn a berth, then tried 1 ½ miles and won by 5 lengths in Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI) Sept. 30. Woodslane Farm’s homebred SADLER’S JOY rallied from last to win Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (GI) in August for trainer Tom Albertrani, but was just a non-threatening fourth in the Joe Hirsch, while Michael House’s HUNT (IRE) won the “Win and You’re In” Del Mar Handicap Presented by the Japan Racing Association (GII) in August but was a disappointing seventh in Santa Anita’s John Henry Turf Championship (GII) October 1 for trainer Phil D’Amato.
Ulysses isn’t the only major player from Europe that could have a say in the Turf, as Coolmore’s HIGHLAND REEL (IRE) won the race last year for trainer Aidan O’Brien and has a dangerous blend of speed and stamina (and a likely firm turf course at Del Mar), though his form this year has been a bit hit-and-miss, while Godolphin’s CLOTH OF STARS (IRE) was second in the Arc and would be a huge threat if he can maintain that form for trainer Andre Fabre. The Americans also have graded stakes winners BIGGER PICTURE, FANCIFUL ANGEL (IRE), ITSINTHEPOST (FR) OSCAR NOMINATED, and TAGHLEEB pointing to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, while defending Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner OSCAR PERFORMANCE is possible.
Several plans for Mile and Turf for the leading Europeans, as well as any late-developing ones, are currently in flux, with Ascot’s Champions Day looming October 21.
Lady Eli’s Swan Song Could Result in Filly & Mare Win
Sheep Pond Partner’s LADY ELI, who battled a life-threatening case of laminitis only to come back to the races and finish second, beaten a nose, in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita, looks poised to one better that finish this year, as she’ll start as a strong favorite in the $2 million, 1 1/8-mile race. The 5-year-old daughter of Divine Park has enjoyed a tremendous career for trainer Chad Brown, as she won her first six career starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in 2014 and Belmont Oaks (GI) in 2015, and has won three straight this year, including the Gamely (GI) at Santa Anita in May and Diana (GI) at Saratoga in July. Lady Eli is 10-for-13 lifetime and will emulate the Breeders’ Cup Classic favorites, as she will train up to the race, having not started since winning the Ballston Spa (GII) at Saratoga August 26. The Filly & Mare Turf will be her last career race, as she’s scheduled to be sold at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in the days after the race.
While Lady Eli will be a heavy favorite, her task of winning the Filly & Mare Turf will be a much more difficult one this year, as several of the American and European automatic qualifiers themselves have distinguished resumes. Ramona Bass’ AVENGE was third in the Filly & Mare Turf last year and won her first race from three starts this year when she earned a berth into the race while defending her title in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Rodeo Drive (GI) Sept. 30 for trainer Richard Mandella, while Joe Allen’s homebred WAR FLAG qualified for the Filly & Mare Turf when she won Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl (GI, see race recap below) at Belmont Park for trainer Shug McGaughey, and Sheep Pond Partners and Peter Bradley’s DACITA (CHI) earned a berth when she won Arlington Park’s “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. (GI) in August for trainer Chad Brown.
Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien could bring a pair of automatic qualifiers in HYDRANGEA (IRE) RHODODENDRON (IRE), a pair of 3-year-old daughters of Galileo (IRE) who have proven group I form overseas. The former earned her berth when she upset her heavily favored stablemate Winter (IRE) in Leopardstown’s “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron (GI) then lost by a head to the latter in Chantilly’s “Win and You’re In” Longines Prix de l’Opera (GI) October 1. Coolmore and O’Brien could also run Roly Poly (IRE), who won Saturday’s Sun Chariot (GI, see race recap below) at Newmarket. Stud Couet BIRDIE GOLD won the “Win and You’re In” Clasico Pamplona (GI) at Hipodromo De Monterrico June 25 for trainer Juan Suarez and is also expected to make the trip.
Brown could also run Flower Bowl runner-up GRAND JETE (GB) and reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner NEW MONEY HONEY, while CAMBODIA, winner of both the John C. Mabee (G2) and the Yellow Ribbon (G2) at Del Mar, GOODYEARFORROSES, QUIDURA (GB), RESPONSIBLEFORLOVE (IRE), and KITTEN’S ROAR along with Europeans NEZWAAH (GB), SENGA, UNFORGETABLE FILLY (GB), USHERETTE (IRE) and WUHEIDA (GB), could also start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
As with the Mile and Turf, Ascot’s October 21 Champions Day could have a major impact on the Filly & Mare Turf.
Bolt d’Oro Casts Daunting Shadow in Juvenile, Moonshine Memories Tops Juvenile Fillies
Trainer Mick Ruis’ undefeated BOLT D’ORO figures as one of the shorter prices of the two days when he starts as an imposing favorite in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, run at 1 1/16 miles. The 2-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro earned a berth into the race when he won Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” FrontRunner (GI) by a widening 7 ¾ lengths Sept. 30 to remain undefeated in three starts. Bolt d’Oro gets a few bonus points too, as he’s 2-for-2 locally, having broken his maiden over the track in August before returning the following month to win the Del Mar Futurity (GI).
Albaugh Family Stable’s FREE DROP BILLY emerged as the main danger to Bolt d’Oro when he qualified for the race with a sharp 4-length win in Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI, see race recap below) at Keeneland. The son of Union Rags stretched out two turns for the first time and clearly improved for trainer Dale Romans after running second sprinting in Saratoga’s Sanford (GIII) in July and Hopeful (GI) in September. Mr Amore Stable’s homebred FIRENZE FIRE also qualified for the Juvenile Saturday when he closed to win Belmont Park’s one-turn “Win and You’re In” Champagne (GI, see race recap below) for trainer Jason Servis. The son of Poseidon’s Warrior is 3-for-4 lifetime, including a win over Free Drop Billy in the Sanford. Carolyn Wilson’s THE TABULATOR won Churchill Downs’ “Win and You’re In” Iroquois (GIII) September 16 to earn a berth for trainer Larry Rivelli and the son of Dialed In is undefeated in three starts, but will get a stiff class test at Del Mar, while BRAVAZO, ENTICED, GOOD MAGIC, MONTAUK, LONE SAILOR and SOLOMINI could also run in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Bridlewood Farm and Coolmore’s MOONSHINE MEMORIES will be favored in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles. The 2-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon is perfect in three starts and convincingly earned a berth into the race when she won Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Chandelier (GI) Sept. 30 for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable’s LADY IVANKA qualified for the Juvenile Fillies when she won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Spinaway (GI) Sept. 2 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, while Klaravich Stable’s Separationofpowers did the same when she won Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” Frizette (GI, see race recap below) for trainer Chad Brown, as did Debby Oxley’s homebred HEAVENY LOVE, who won Friday’s “Win and You’re In” Darley Alcibiades (GI, see race recap below) at Keeneland. ALLURING STAR, CALEDONIA ROAD, MAYA MALIBU, PIEDI BIANCHI, PURE SILVER and PRINCESS WARRIOR could also start in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Cup Runneth Over with Stars Friday and Saturday
While the Classic and Distaff are the Saturday and Friday highlights, respectively, several other equine stars will be on display in the remainder of the Breeders’ Cup races, with divisional championships looming in the balance for many of them.
Friday, the $1 million Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is expected to draw an exceptionally strong cast, with Michael Lund Petersen’s MOR SPIRIT, a 4-year-old son of Eskendereya who qualified for the race when he aired in the “Win and You’re In” Metropolitan Mile (GI) at Belmont Park in June for trainer Bob Baffert leading the way. Major graded stakes winners ACCELERATE, AWESOME SLEW, GIANT EXEPECTATIONS, HONORABLE DUTY, MIDNIGHT STORM, PRACTICAL JOKE and SHARP AZTECA are also expected, as are BATTLE OF MIDWAY, DONWORTH and IRON FIRST.
Friday will also see the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and both one-mile races figure to be wide open with full fields. West Point Thoroughbreds’ UNTAMED DOMAIN qualified for the Juvenile Turf when he won Woodbine’s “Win and You’re In” Summer (GII) September 17 for trainer Graham Motion, while John Oxley’s FLAMEAWAY did the same when he won Keeneland’s Bourbon (GIII, see race recap below) Sunday for trainer Mark Casse. Qatar Racing Limited’s ROARING LION is expected from Europe for trainer John Gosden earned a berth into the race when he won Newmarket’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge (GII) Sept. 30. ARCHAGGELOS, CATHOLIC BOY, HEMP HEMP HOORAY, IRISH TERRITORY (IRE), MARAUD, MY BOY JACK, SEABHAC, SNAPPER SINCLAIR and VOTING CONTROL could all run for the home team, while BECKFORD (GB), JAMES GARFIELD (IRE), MASAR (IRE), RAJASINGHE (IRE), TANGLED (IRE) and TIP TWO WIN (GB) could come from Europe.
The Juvenile Fillies Turf is expected to be led by Team Valor’s CAPLA TEMPTRESS, who earned a berth into the race when she won Woodbine’s “Win and You’re In” Natalma (GI) Sept. 17 for then-trainer Marco Botti (she has since been transferred to trainer Bill Mott). Coolmore’s HAPPILY (IRE) secured a berth into the race when she won The Curragh’s “Win and You’re In” Moyglare Stud (GI) Sept. 7 for trainer Aidan O’Brien, and also beat males in Chantilly’s Oct. 1 “Win and You’re In” Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (GI). (The Juvenile Turf is restricted to colts and geldings). BEST PERFORMANCE, DIXIE MOON, RUSHING FALL, FATALE BERE and SIGNIFICANT FORM also could start for the Americans, while BILLESDON BROOK (GB), CLEMMIE (IRE), DARK ROSE ANGEL (IRE), GAVOTA (GB), MADELINE (IRE), NOW YOU’RE TALKING (IRE), NYALETI (IRE) and QUIVERY could invade from Europe.
Saturday, the $1.5 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs headlines the remainder of the Cup races and sees Baoma Corporation’s DREFONG looking to repeat after winning the race last year at Santa Anita for Baffert. The 4-year-old son of Gio Ponti earned an automatic berth into the race when he won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Forego (GI) August 26. Automatic qualifiers IMPERIAL HINT, MIND YOUR BISCUITS, RANSOM THE MOON, ROY H, TAKAFUL and WHITMORE won’t make the repeat bid easy, while AMERICAN ANTHEM, EL DEAL, MOE CANDY and PETROV could also run.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, run at seven furlongs, should have a solid favorite in Don Alberto Stable’s freakish UNIQUE BELLA, who returned to win off a layoff in Sunday’s L.A. Woman (GIII, see race recap below) at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old daughter of Tapit won a trio of winter graded stakes at Santa Anita by 18 ½ lengths but developed sore shins and was forced to the sidelines. BY THE MOON, who won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Ballerina (GI) Aug. 26, CURLIN’S APPROVAL, who won Gulfstream Park’s “Win and You’re In” Princess Rooney (GII) in July and FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, who won Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” Thoroughbred Club of American (GII, see race recap below), all earned automatic berths into the race, while defending champion FINEST CITY, as well as AMI’S MESA, CARINA MIA, CONSTELLATION, HIGHWAY STAR, PAULASSILVERLING and SKYE DIAMONDS add to one of the deepest Breeders’ Cup races that will be run.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, run at five furlongs, will showcase Stonestreet Farm, George Bolton and Peter Leidel’s world-traveler LADY AURELIA, a 3-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy who won Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand (GI) in June for trainer Wesley Ward. Elite Racing Club’s MASHA (IRE) earned a berth into the race when she upset Lady Aurelia in the “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Nunthorpe (GI) at York Aug. 25, while Coolmore’s CARAVAGGIO has long been held in high regard by trainer Aidan O’Brien and qualified for the Turf Sprint when he won the “Win and You’re In” Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (GII) at The Curragh Sept. 10 and would rate a major contender, should he make the trip. Americans BIG HANDSOME, BUCCHERO, DISCO PARTNER, HOGY, HOLDING GOLD, MONGOLIAN SATURDAY, PAY ANY PRICE, PURE SENSATION and RAINBOW HEIR could also run, while DUKE OF FIRENE (GB) and INTELLIGENCE CROSS could make the trip from Europe.