(United / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
United – After finishing second by a head at 51-1 in the 2019 Longines Turf and winning four of five starts this year, it’s fair to say LNJ Foxwood’s United has received far more respect this time around. He drew post seven Monday evening and is 8-1 on the morning line in the 10-horse field.
Flavien Prat will ride the 5yo gelded son of Giant’s Causeway for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Prat and United have finished first in five of their 11 races together. Their most recent start was a 1 ½-length victory in the John Henry Turf Classic Sept. 26 at Santa Anita. The only loss for the Prat/United team in 2020 was a second by a head to Red King in the Del Mar Handicap Aug. 22.
“He’s had a very good year,” Mandella said. “We’ve learned a few things about him. The last time we sent him to the lead and he loved it. He’s become more versatile than ever, just with experience. I just hope that I’ve got him at the same level that I had last year because he ran a helluva race last year.”
United galloped 1 ½m Wednesday morning under exercise rider Taylor Cambra.
Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf
Mucho Unusual – George Krikorian’s homebred filly Mucho Unusual has made her second trip to Keeneland in 2020 and trainer Tim Yakteen hope things go better this time around in Saturday’s Filly & Mare Turf.
In her lone trip outside of Southern California, Mucho Unusual finished eighth in the Jenny Wiley here in July.
“She doesn’t like it warm and humid,” Yakteen said. “She didn’t run well here at Keeneland when it was hot back in the summer.”
The cooler weather here when she arrived Sunday was greeted warmly by Yakteen for his filly, who represents his second Breeders’ Cup starter.
“She shipped well and has trained really well here,” said Yakteen, whose previous starter was Big Score who finished fifth in the Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in 2016. “She handled her trips really well. She’s a good traveler, cleaned up her feed tub.”
Mucho Unusual is 30-1 on the morning line with Flavian Prat to ride from post eight.
What will it take to be a factor at Keeneland?
“It’s gonna take her running her best race, and a couple of the superstars not running their best race,” Yakteen said. “She’s doing just super. I couldn’t ask for better. We had a chance to take a shot, so we’re taking it.”
Ebeko (IRE) – Irish-bred Ebeko enters the Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America off a victory in California’s main prep for the race, the Zuma Beach over 1m at Santa Anita. After three starts in Ireland for Paddy Twomey—including a second to fellow Juvenile Turf entrant Cadillac at second asking—the son of Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad was acquired by trainer Peter Miller, who put together an ownership team of Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman & Michael Nentwig. In two Stateside starts, he was second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf before his aforementioned Zuma Beach win. Both races were over a two-turn mile, which he will once again contest Friday. Ebeko drew post 10 of 14 and will be ridden by Flavien Prat.
“He’s a really cool horse,” Miller said. “He’s got a really great way about him and he tries really hard. He’s just a really nice horse to train and be around and he does seem to be getting better with time. Certainly on speed figures and on things of that nature, he might be overlooked, but I think he’s going to run a big race.”
Prat seeks his fourth Breeders’ Cup win, while Miller aims for a sixth.
Gretzky the Great – Gretzky the Great is seeking his fourth consecutive victory and second in the Grade 1 ranks after capturing the Summer at Woodbine on Sept. 20 in his most recent start.
Trainer Mark Casse suspected early on that the son of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion Nyquist was something special.
“He showed early that he was above average,” he said. “I grade my young horses A, B, C, D. I grade on how they move and how they act. He was an A from the beginning. On a scale of one to 10 — with 10 being a super mover — he is a nine or 10. He is a great moving horse.”
Gretzky the Great went unsold on a final bid of $295,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale. He subsequently was purchased privately by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber. Runner-up on turf in his career debut in July, Gretzky the Great then scored three wins on all-weather and grass surfaces while racing exclusively at Woodbine.
The colt is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. Nyquist is named for National Hockey League player Gustav Nyquist.
Outadore – Breeze Easy LLC’s Outadore has done little wrong in two starts for trainer Wesley Ward, winning on debut at Saratoga going 5½f in July and then taking the rich Juvenile Turf Sprint over 6½f in September at Kentucky Downs. The son of Outwork will break from post eight under Jose Ortiz in Friday’s Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America, while attempting to give Ward his second win in the race following Hootenanny’s 2014 tally.
“He’s a really nice colt and is breezing well,” Ward said. “He’s been working with (G1 winner) Campanelle and is coming into the race doing well. He’s ready for this race, but he’ll eventually go to the dirt. I see no problem with the extra distance.”
Outadore was a $290,000 Keeneland September 2019 yearling purchase.
Public Sector – A son of Kingman, Europe’s champion 3yo of 2014 and top-tier sire in Europe, Klaravich Stables’ Public Sector enters Friday’s Juvenile Turf sponsored by Coolmore America off just two races, including a debut win at Saratoga over 1 1/16m on turf, followed by a second by 2 lengths in the Pilgrim Stakes. Favored in both, he overcome a bad start in the debut to win, but could not heat up in time to conquer a glacial pace set by Fire At Will in the latter.
On Friday, he drops back in distance to the 1m Juvenile Turf and returns to two turns. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides from post four of 14.
“He drew a nice post and I don’t mind a little cutback for that horse,” trainer Chad Brown said. “It looks like there’s some pace in there from first glance. He should be able to work out a good trip from there. He’s following a pattern, like (Juvenile Fillies Turf runner) Editor at Large, that has led to success in these two races for us. They seem to be coming into their best race in their third race.”
Ortiz Jr. seeks his 10th Breeders’ Cup win, but his first in this race, while Brown will look to win the race for the second consecutive year after Structor’s victory in 2019 at Santa Anita.
Juvenile Fillies Turf:
Trainer Graham Motion (Alda, Invincible Gal, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Trainer Graham Motion is scheduled to seek a second straight victory in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday at Keeneland, where he’s set to saddle two starters, Wertheimer and Frere’s Alda and Michael Ryan, Jeff Drown and Team Hanley’s Invincible Gal for the mile turf race.
Motion saddled Sharing for a 1 ¼-length victory in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last year.
Alda galloped 1 1/2m on the training track Wednesday morning, while Invincible Gal galloped 1 1/2m on the main track at Keeneland.
Alda debuted with males June 12 at Belmont Park, where she rallied from last to finish a fast-closing third in a 5f turf sprint. The daughter of Munnings came back four weeks later to graduate, defeating fillies by 2 ½ lengths in a 6f turf sprint at Belmont.
Alda was shipped to Woodbine for two stakes starts. She won the 6f Catch a Glimpse by a nose with a determined rally before finishing second in the Sept. 20 Natalma, less than a length behind the winner.
“I thought she bounced a little bit in the Natalma,” Motion said. “She ran a huge race in the race before. Ideally, I would have liked more spacing, but I wanted to run her in those races, and that would give her more time to freshen up for this race.”
Invincible Gal, an English-bred daughter of Invincible Spirit, debuted with a late-closing victory in a 5 ½f turf sprint at Saratoga Aug. 7. She encountered bumping at the start of the Sorority at Monmouth a month later but rallied to finish second, beaten by less than a length. She set a pressured pace over a yielding turf course before settling for second in the Selima at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard last time out.
“She was second on really soft turf at Pimlico, the likes of which we’ll never run on again. It was very soft. I thought she hung in there pretty well to run as well as she did,” Motion said. “She hasn’t done anything wrong. She broke her maiden at Saratoga and has been second twice.”
Aunt Pearl (IRE) – The undefeated Jessamine winner Aunt Pearl schooled in the starting gate and galloped over the main track in preparation for Friday’s race.
“She was very good, very professional,” trainer Brad Cox said. “I was happy with what I saw.”
The Irish-bred filly was purchased at the Tattersalls yearling sale for just over $350,000 last October and sent to the United States where she is a perfect two for two.
“She’s been good from day one,” Cox said. “She was an expensive yearling at Tattersalls last year. She showed she had ability from the start. She’s a very fast filly. She’s definitely lived up to expectations you could say.”
Wesley Ward, Juvenile Fillies Turf (Campanelle, Royal Approval) – Group 1 winner Campanelle will bring top-level form from both sides of the Atlantic into the Juvenile Fillies Turf for trainer Wesley Ward. A daughter of top-tier Irish sire Kodiac, she wears the Stonestreet Stables silks and took them to victory in the Prix Morny over 6f at Deauville, Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and a Gulfstream Park maiden to kickstart her career. On Friday, she tackles two extra furlongs and breaks from post 9 under Frankie Dettori.
“She’s got a lot of class,” Ward said. “She has this big, long stride and is a big filly, so I think the mile will be fine. We almost ran her again after the Morny, but it was a little close from race to race and I had ried that before with Lady Aurelia and it didn’t work out. So, we decided to give her all this time to prepare and she’s doing great.”
Ward also starts Three Chimneys Farm homebred Royal Approval, who has raced four times with two victories, including the Matron Stakes at Belmont last out over six furlongs. She, too, is a Royal Ascot alumna and steps up in trip by two furlongs on Friday. She breaks just outside her stablemate in post 10 of 14 under Irad Ortiz Jr.
“She won going away at Kentucky Downs and she ran a great race at Belmont,” Ward said. “I just think with her it may depend on the ground, but there’s a lot of sunshine right now, so hopefully that dries the course. That will help her.”
Editor At Large – Hoping to become the second daughter of Lope de Vega to land the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in Kentucky for trainer Chad Brown (following 2018’s Newspaperofrecord), Editor At Large makes her third career start in said affair, having won on debut at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles on grass and then finishing third in the Miss Grillo last out on Oct. 4. The Irish-bred will have to overcome the outside post 14 and will be guided by Javier Castellano, whose two Juvenile Fillies Turf winners both came for Brown, Rushing Fall in 2017 and New Money Honey in 2016.
“We took a shot and entered her,” Brown said. “It was up in the air after the third in the Miss Grillo if she could even get into the race and then, if so, what we wanted to do based on our training. She’s really stepped forward and is training super since the Grillo, so we thought it made sense to at least enter her and give it a shot because I think she’s really coming forward. Then we drew this disastrous post. She’s going to have to work out a trip from there. I need to handicap the race a little more and talk to Javier about it. It’s his first time on her and we’ll see what he feels is the best strategy.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. and Manny Franco rode the chestnut filly in her first two starts.
Madone – Kaleem Shah’s Madone is “going into the deep water now” in Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf according to trainer Simon Callaghan.
Perfect in three starts, all at the Juvenile Fillies Turf distance of 1m, Madone will break from post nine Friday under regular rider Flavien Prat.
“The nine is a perfect spot for her because she comes from off the pace,” Callaghan said.
Madone has not been a surprise to Callaghan, nor her backers who have made her the favorite in her past two starts.
“We were always really high on her,” Callaghan said. “She was a little green in her debut but still won and then she made the natural progression to stakes at Del Mar and Santa Anita.
“But now the waters get deeper and you have no way to compare the competition.”
Plum Ali – Three wins with three jocks at three tracks has carried Plum Ali to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with a bit of a reputation. She is rated at 4-1, the co-second choice on the morning line.
The chestnut daughter of First Samurai trained by Christophe Clement for Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables won her debut at Saratoga in late July and followed that success with a victory in the Mint Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 7. She overcame a difficult start at Kentucky Downs to post a decisive 2¾-length win. Plum Ali kept her record perfect with a 2 ½-length win in the Miss Grillo Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
“She’s a throwback,” said Clement’s assistant and exercise rider Roger Horgan said Wednesday. “She’s absolutely uncomplicated. Today was her first day at the track and it was like she has been her all her life. She feels fabulous. There is no reason to think that she won’t fire her best. Whether it’s good enough, we’ll find out. Couldn’t be any happier.”
Horgan said it was evident early on that Plum Ali had star potential.
“Before she ever ran we were pretty confident,” he said. “Those special ones, the cream rises to the top. Right from Day One, everything she did she did with ease and did it in such an uncomplicated fashion.”
Joel Rosario, who was up for the win at Saratoga, has the mount in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Spanish Loveaffair – Spanish Loveaffair comes to the Juvenile Fillies Turf off a runner-up effort behind Aunt Pearl (IRE) in the Jessamine on Keeneland’s turf on Oct. 7. In her early training, she was average but she moved to a higher standing when she made her career debut.
“I grade my young horses A, B, C, D and Spanish Loveaffair was probably a C,” trainer Mark Casse said. “Her training on dirt leaves a little to be desired but the way she broke her maiden, I thought she could be something special.”
Casse was referring to her debut in July when she cruised to an 11-length victory at Gulfstream Park. She returned to that same grass course the next month to win the Sharp Susan in her only other start.
Spanish Loveaffair drew the 12 post in the field of 14.
“We could have had a little better post but we’ll take it,” Casse said.
Spanish Loveaffair was sold at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $35,000 and now races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Michael Hernon and Gary Barber.
Juvenile Turf Sprint:
Bodenheimer – Kristin Boice and Marylou Holden’s Bodenheimer, winner of the Indian Summer at Keeneland Oct. 4, arrived on the grounds Tuesday morning and galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday.
“He went very well and is a tiger right now,” said trainer Valorie Lund, who is based at Ashwood Training Center, 10 miles northeast of Keeneland.
Bodenheimer has frequently made the crosstown commute for Keeneland workouts.
“A lot of 2-year-olds can’t take the pressure of all the change,” Lund said. “When he came here Tuesday, he rolled in his stall and just looked around. He is a very low-key horse, but he is very strong on the racetrack. He is a mellow guy and not a worrier.”
He is scheduled to jog 1m when the track opens Thursday and possibly school in the saddling paddock after training hours.
Lund recognized Bodenheimer’s potential when he was a yearling at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association mixed sale last year and purchased him for $27,000.
“Overall, he was a really good individual,” Lund recalled. “He favors the (broodmare sire) A.P. Indy line when I looked at his head, neck and shoulders. He was stout as a yearling but sleeker now as a racehorse.”
Another attraction was his Grade 2-winning sire and 2010 Sentient Jets Breeders’ Cup Sprint participant, Atta Boy Roy, who Lund had both trained and exercised throughout his career. Bodenheimer’s dam is stakes winner and stakes producer Beautiful Daniele, whose pedigree page includes 1997 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and champion Countess Diana. Lund and her team thought so highly of Bodenheimer that they purchased his dam privately before his first start.
Bodenheimer is named for Lund’s brother-in-law and Kristin’s husband Entz Bodenheimer Boice. Both are called “Bo” by those who know them.
Lund has relocated to Kentucky year-round after being based at Turf Paradise in Arizona each winter and at summer meets such as Canterbury Park in Minnesota. She grew up as a horse lover in Oregon before finding her way to the racetrack as an exercise rider. She still rides the stable pony during morning training but no longer is aboard the racers after undergoing double knee replacement. Her favorite memories in the saddle include competing in The Great American Horse Race, a 99-day cross-country endurance ride in 1976 in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial.
Second of July – Bryan Hilliard’s Second of July galloped over the Keeneland main track Wednesday morning in preparation for a start in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, in which he will seek to remain undefeated in three career starts.
The Phil Gleaves-trained homebred gelding caught bettors by surprise in his debut at Belmont Park Sept. 20 when he scored a half-length victory at 68-1 in a 6f maiden special weight race on turf.
“We never had him on the grass. He never trained on it. He’s bred for the grass, so we knew he would like it. We ran him on it and he lit up the board,” Gleaves said.
The Kentucky-bred gelding validated that upset in his next start when he captured the 6f Futurity with a four-wide drive Oct. 11.
“Obviously, this is a tougher race than the Futurity, although a couple of them in there ran in the Futurity,” Gleaves said. “But I do see him move forward again the way he’s training here. He seems very sharp.”
The homebred gelded son of Jack Milton has rallied under Dylan Davis to win both of his races, and Gleaves expects he will use similar tactics Friday.
“I imagine he’ll be in the second flight. He’s a pretty tractable horse,” he said. “Dylan will have to work out a trip from there. The biggest obstacle will be the 14 horses going 5 ½ [furlongs]. It’ll be a cavalry charge.”
Gleaves, a former assistant to legendary Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens, is currently training a stable of eight.
“This is the last one I’m running for this season. I go to Ocala for the winter. I’ll go back to Saratoga in May,” Gleaves said. “I break babies in Ocala. I’ll give him and a few others a break and bring them back to Saratoga in May. They’ll run at Belmont.”
Momos – A surface switch, from dirt to grass, suited Momos and turned him into a candidate for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The chestnut colt purchased for $180,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sale by Ironhorse Racing Stable and Secure Investments used a close third in the Futurity at Belmont Park on Oct. 11 to warrant a try in the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Christophe Clement won with him first time out on the dirt at Saratoga but experimented with the Distorted Humor colt in the Futurity after he was third, beaten 7 lengths in the Saratoga Special.
“I galloped him on the turf in Saratoga on the infield,” said Roger Horgan, Clement’s exercise rider and assistant. “ Christophe thought that if he does take to the turf it’s going to open up a lot more options. He gave it a whirl. He’s very, very fast, this horse. He’s not big but he’s just your typical early type 2-year-old. Great mind and he looks terrific.”
Momos’ flight from New York on Monday was delayed by heavy wind in the Northeast. He shipped to Lexington on Tuesday and Horgan took him to the track Wednesday morning.
“He’s just an absolutely uncomplicated lovely little horse to be around,” Horgan said. “He went for a jog on the main track today and paddock schooled. Didn’t turn a hair. He’s like an older horse.”
Regular rider Manny Franco will be up for the race Friday.
A much warmer morning in Keeneland today and morale in the European barn was high. Aidan O’Brien’s horses will clear quarantine this evening and will train in the morning. The Ballydoyle team has decided to train on the main track.
The remaining European horses all went out this morning to exercise except for Cadillac (IRE) (Juvenile Turf) and One Master (GB) (Mile) who stayed in the barn.
Kameko (Mile) was once again the first horse to leave the quarantine barn and head out onto the main track. He was followed by the John Gosden-trained trio of Lord North (IRE) (Turf), Mehdaayih (GB) (Turf) and Terebellum (IRE) (Filly & Mare Turf) who went out on to the training track. They trotted around the track and then cantered two circuits.
Ralph Beckett was again on track and led his two Juvenile Turf hopefuls Devilwala (IRE) and New Mandate (IRE) on his pony. Race day jockey Rossa Ryan again rode Deviwala and reported him to be in “good form.”
Safe Voyage (IRE) (Mile) was led on to the track by trainer John Quinn’s son Sean who was on a pony. He cantered a circuit of the training track and was once again ridden by race day jockey Jason Hart who reported Safe Voyage “felt very well in himself.”
John Quinn, who was trackside, said: “It’s just brilliant to be here at Breeders Cup. It one of the great race meetings in the world and to have a runner is great. Jason Hart was pleased with him and I thought he looked well. He seems to have really settled in now and is happy in himself. I’m really looking forward to Saturday. He’s got a heart of a lion so I’m sure he’ll give it his all as he always does.”
The Lir Jet (IRE) (Juvenile Turf) cantered a circuit of the training track and was overseen by trainer Michael Bell and his son Nick. The horse looked in great shape and Bell said, “that was good. Very happy, all systems go for Friday.”
Miss Amulet (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Siskin (Mile) and Tarnawa (IRE) (Turf) went out together onto the training track then branched off to exercise by themselves. All three had a trot and a canter and looked well.
Andrew Duff representing trainer Ger Lyons said, “Siskin is good. He’s fresh and well. He’s relaxed which is very important.”
Glass Slippers (GB) (Turf Sprint) exercised on the turf track under race day jockey Tom Eaves. The two cantered a full circuit with Eaves reporting “She’s in great form, really happy with her. The turf track rode great. It’s beautiful ground, genuine lovely, good ground.”
Audarya (FR) (Filly & Mare Turf) also went on the turf track under the watchful eye of trainer James Fanshawe. She did a nice canter around the track under regular work rider Geoffrey De La Sayette.
Ubettabelieveit (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) was ridden by race day jockey Rowan Scott on the turf. They did a solid canter down the backstretch then did a breeze up the straight. Trainer Nigel Tinkler who was watching on from a pony said, “Good. He has had a nice little blow out there. Rowan said he handed the bends fine which is important. It just brilliant to be here. Everyone at Breeders’ Cup has given us a great welcome and I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped us get here. Tomorrow we’ll do a light canter on the training track and that will put him spot on for Friday.”
Hollie Doyle was at Keeneland to ride Mighty Gurkha (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) on the turf track. Doyle who has had an outstanding season back in the UK reported “I’m delighted to be here for my first Breeders’ Cup. He felt great so I’m really excited now.”