(Twin Spires / Coady Photography)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Nestled five miles from Churchill Downs, trainer Grant Forster is eagerly preparing for the biggest race of his career at Trackside Louisville where Gulliver Racing, Craig Drager and Dan Legan’s five-time winner Pirate’s Punch will tackle a likely full field of competitors in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade I) on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

“Sort of like every horse trainer, I’m just holding my breath until we get there,” Forster said. “It’s been a great ride so far with this horse and the (Dirt Mile) is shaping up to be a really competitive. It’ll be a tough field but we’re glad to be in it.”

Pirate’s Punch had a unique two-race stand over the summer when Forster shipped the Shanghai Bobby gelding to Monmouth Park to compete in the $200,000 Philip Iselin Stakes (GIII) and one month later returned for the $155,000 Salvator Mile (GIII). In the Philip Iselin, the gutsy Pirate’s Punch finished a half-length in front of Warrior’s Charge but was subsequently disqualified and placed second following a stewards’ inquiry and objection lodged by the runner-up finisher’s jockey Paco Lopez.

Forster would return to Monmouth for redemption in the Salvator Mile where Pirate’s Punch scored a convincing two-length score and sealed his likely starting gate position in the Dirt Mile.

In the Breeders’ Cup, East Coast-based jockey Jorge Vargas Jr., who rode Pirate’s Punch in each of his two starts at Monmouth, will ship to Kentucky to ride in the Breeders’ Cup. The 26-year-old Vargas, whose grandfather and father both trained horses in his native Puerto Rico, is named to ride Shimmering (IRE) for trainer Graham Motion on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

“He’s rode Pirate’s Punch perfectly in his last two starts, so why not continue to use him for the Breeders’ Cup,” Forster said. “He’s coming to Kentucky early and hopes to ride a few at Churchill before the Breeders’ Cup.”

Starting on Friday, there will be a special training period from 7:30-7:45 a.m. for Breeders’ Cup contenders. The special training session is scheduled to run through Wednesday, Nov. 4.

MORE THAN 30 LOCAL BREEDERS’ CUP CONTENDERS SET TO CONVERGE ON KEENELAND – There are at least 33 locally-based Breeders’ Cup contenders that will attempt season-ending glory in the Nov. 6-7 World Championships at Keeneland Racecourse.

Below is the full list of horses based at Churchill Downs who are likely to compete in the Breeders’ Cup:

Horse Trainer Last Workout (Distance, Time) Breeders’ Cup Race
Abarta Brad Cox Four Furlongs, :48.40 Juvenile Turf
Arklow Brad Cox Five Furlongs, :59.60 Turf
Art Collector Tommy Drury Four Furlongs, :47 Dirt Mile
Aunt Pearl Brad Cox Five Furlongs, 1:00.80 Juvenile Fillies Turf
Beau Recall Brad Cox Five Furlongs, :50.60 Mile
Bell’s the One Neil Pessin Five Furlongs, 1:00.40 Filly & Mare Sprint
By My Standards Bret Calhoun Five Furlongs, :58.60 Classic
Casa Creed Bill Mott Four Furlongs, :49 Mile
Crazy Beautiful Kenny McPeek Four Furlongs, :48 Juvenile Fillies
Emro Brad Cox Five Furlongs, 1:00.80 Juvenile Fillies Turf
Essential Quality Brad Cox Six Furlongs, 1:13 Juvenile
Factor This Brad Cox Five Furlongs, 1:02 Mile
Girl Daddy Dale Romans Five Furlongs, 1:01 Juvenile Fillies
Global Campaign Stan Hough Four Furlongs, :48 Classic
Got Stormy Mark Casse Four Furlongs, :47.20 Turf Sprint
Hog Creek Hustle Vickie Foley Four Furlongs, :49 Sprint/Dirt Mile


Horse Trainer Last Workout (Distance, Time) Breeders’ Cup Race
Just Might Michelle Lovell Five Furlongs, 1:00.60 Turf Sprint
Knicks Go Brad Cox Five Furlongs, 1:00.20 Dirt Mile
Monomoy Girl Brad Cox Six Furlongs, 1:12.80 Distaff
Mr Money Bret Calhoun Five Furlongs, :58.80 Dirt Mile
Pirate’s Punch Grant Forster Four Furlongs, :47.40 Dirt Mile
Sally’s Curlin Dale Romans Five Furlongs, 1:01.40 Filly & Mare Sprint
Sconsin Greg Foley Five Furlongs, 1:01.60 Filly & Mare Sprint
Serengeti Empress Tom Amoss Four Furlongs, :47.80 Filly & Mare Sprint
Silver Dust Bret Calhoun Five Furlongs, 1:00.20 Dirt Mile
Simply Ravishing Kenny McPeek Four Furlongs, :48 Juvenile Fillies
Sittin On Go Dale Romans Five Furlongs, 1:00.40 Juvenile
Smiley Sobotka Dale Romans Four Furlongs, :48 Juvenile
Spanish Loveaffair Mark Casse Five Furlongs, 1:04.20 Juvenile Fillies Turf
Swiss Skydiver Kenny McPeek Four Furlongs, :47.80 Distaff/Classic
Tom’s d’Etat Al Stall Jr. Six Furlongs, 1:12.80 Classic
War of Will Mark Casse Five Furlongs, :59.80 Dirt Mile
Whitmore Ron Moquett Four Furlongs, :46.80 Sprint


TV SCHEDULE – Racing at Churchill Downs will continue Wednesday-Sunday with daily first post at 1 p.m. Below is next week’s TV schedule on the Fox Sports family of networks:

Wednesday: FS2 (12:30-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (1-6 p.m.)

Thursday: FS2 (12:30-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12:30-6 p.m.)

Friday: FS2 (12:30-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12:30-6 p.m.)

Saturday: FS2 (12-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12-6 p.m.)

Sunday: FS2 (12-6 p.m.) | MSG+ (12:30-6 p.m.)

DOWN THE STRETCH – Trainer Tom Amoss reported that 2019 Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Serengeti Empress would ship to Keeneland next week for her final work before the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI). … For more information and to purchase tickets for the Fall Meet, visit www.churchilldowns.com