Record Number of Horses Pre-Entered for Breeders’ Cup 2018

From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:

Led by multiple Grade 1 winner ACCELERATE, two-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner ENABLE (GB), Coral-Eclipse (G1) and Irish Champion Stakes (G1) winner ROARING LION, Kentucky Oaks winner MONOMOY GIRL and Juvenile standout GAME WINNER, a record 221 horses, including 51 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious two-day global event, consisting of 14 races and13 Grade 1s with purses and awards totaling a record $30 million, will be held for a record-tying ninth time at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3. There will be five Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Saturday.

The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live on Sat., Nov. 3 at 5:44 p.m.ET on NBC.
·  New to this year’s Breeders’ Cup is “Future Stars Friday” in which all five races exclusively for 2-year-olds will be run on the opening day of the Championships.
·  A 14th race has been added to the program – the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, at five and a half furlongs, which will open the Friday program.
·  The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff will be run on Championship Saturday this year.
·  Among the statistical highlights in this year’s pre-entries are that a total of 12 races are oversubscribed with more than 14 in 11 races, and more than the maximum 12 in the in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. There are 48 individual horses, who were pre-entered after qualifying for automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
·  Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered 18 horses, the most among trainers.
·  The Coolmore partnerships lead all owners with 20 horse pre-entered.
·  There are five former or defending champions pre-entered: Mendelssohn, 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf; Oscar Performance, 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf; Roy H, 2017 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Stormy Liberal, 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint; and Talismanic (GB), 2017 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 ¼ miles with a first-place owner’s prize of $3.3 million with purse payouts down to eighth place. The Classic is oversubscribed with 19 horses pre-entered.

Hronis Racing’s Accelerate has been the dominant older horse in North America this year.  The 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky has been virtually unbeatable for trainer John Sadler, winning 5-of-6 starts, including four Grade 1 wins with the Santa Anita Handicap in March, Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May, and a pair of “Win and You’re In” races for the Classic in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August and Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept. 29. Ninth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar, Accelerate suffered his only loss this year when he finished second to CITY OF LIGHT in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in April.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won an unprecedented three consecutive runnings of the Classic (2014-2016) with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate. This year, Baffert has pre-entered three horses for the Classic, all coming off prep races after being sidelined for several months.  Gary and Mary West’s WEST COAST, the 2017 3-year-old male Eclipse Award winner and third-place finisher in last year’s Classic, began 2018 with a second-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January and was second to THUNDER SNOW (IRE) in the Dubai World Cup in March. The 4-year-old son of Flatter did not start again until Sept. 29, when he displayed a solid performance in the Awesome Again, finishing a game second to Accelerate.

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman’s MCKINZIE gives Baffert another major contender. A 3-year-old son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, McKinzie was a top Triple Crown contender this winter before being injured after winning the San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita in March (he was disqualified and placed second). McKinzie, 4-of-5 lifetime, returned to the races on Sept. 22 and won the Pennsylvania Derby (GI) at Parx Racing. Baffert’s third Classic horse, Speedway Stable’s 5-year-old COLLECTED, second in last year’s Classic, is winless in two starts this year.

The European 3-year-old wild card who would be making his dirt track debut in this year’s Classic is Qatar Racing’s determined ROARING LION for trainer John Gosden. Roaring Lion, a gray/roan Kentucky-bred son of Kitten’s Joy, has beaten older horses on the turf in his last four races, all Group 1 events, with three of those wins coming by a neck margin. Roaring Lion captured the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, the Juddmonte International at York; the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, and just last Saturday, the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Gosden won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita with Raven’s Pass.

Two other overseas stars are also pre-entered in the Classic. Godolphin’s THUNDER SNOW (IRE) easily defeated West Coast in the Dubai World Cup and was second, beaten a neck, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The 4-year-old son of Helmut (AUS) will try to redeem himself at Churchill. In the 2017 Kentucky Derby, he was escorted off the track after bucking after the start. Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 3-year-old MENDELSSOHN won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.  A 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy, trained by Aidan O’Brien, Mendelssohn finished second in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and was third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He’s seeking some redemption of his own, having finished last in the Kentucky Derby.

A pair of contenders who came into the Classic division during the second half of this year are trainer Chad Summers, Shadai Farm and Head of Plains Partners’ MIND YOUR BISCUITS and WinStar Farm and China Horse Club’s YOSHIDA (JPN). Mind Your Biscuits is one of the world’s top one-turn horses, having won twice the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). But Summers has switched him to longer distances since then, and Mind Your Biscuits responded with a second-place finish in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, and won the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill in September.  Yoshida, trained by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bill Mott, was a Grade 1 winner on turf before he was switched to the dirt in late summer and captured Saratoga’s 1 1/8-mile Woodward (GI) on Sept. 1.

Two other older horses gained automatic berths into the Classic through Breeders’ Cup Challenge wins. One is Paul Reddam’s PAVEL, who took Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (GI) in June for trainer Doug O’Neill, though he was second, some 12 ½ lengths behind Accelerate when last seen in the Pacific Classic. The other is the 5-year-old DISCREET LOVER, who is one of the “feel-good” stories of the Classic. Owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, Discreet Lover came from last place in the “Win and You’re In” Jockey Club Gold Cup to nip Thunder Snow at the wire at odds of 45-1.

One other 3-year-old of note is Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stable, Siena Farm, and Twin Creek Racing Stable’s CATHOLIC BOY, who scored back-to-back wins in the Belmont Derby (GI) on turf in July and Travers (GI) on the main track Aug. 25 at Saratoga.  The son of More Than Ready has come a long way since running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year at Del Mar for trainer Jonathan Thomas.

Enable Tries for Arc-Breeders’ Cup Turf Double

An international stage also will be a showcase for Juddmonte Farm’s 4-year-old super filly Enable, who will likely go a strong favorite in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles. The bay daughter of Nathaniel (IRE) won Europe’s most historic race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (GI), for the second straight year Oct. 7 for trainer John Gosden. Enable is 9-for-10 lifetime, which includes lopsided wins in some of Europe’s more prestigious Group I races, including the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (GI) at Ascot to go with last year’s Arc at Chantilly but has run just twice this year due to a minor injury in the spring that postponed her seasonal debut until September at Kempton’s September Stakes (GIII) on the all-weather surface. That, coupled with the fact she battled a slight illness leading up to the Arc, could portend to another outstanding effort as she tries to become the first horse to pull off the elusive Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf double in the same year. Gosden tried it in 2015 at Keeneland with Arc winner Golden Horn (GB), who ran second to Found (IRE) in the Turf.

Andre Fabre has won the Breeders’ Cup Turf three times. He returns this year with Godolphin’s 5-year-old defending champion TALISMANIC (GB), 2-for-5 this year, and the 4-year-old WALDGEIST (GB), 4-of-6 this year, including wins in the Grand Prix de Saint-Could (G1) and the Prix Foy (G2). Waldgeist, a chestnut son of Galileo (IRE), was fourth in the Arc behind Enable, beaten just 1 ¾ lengths.  Trainer Michael Stoute has won the Turf four times, and this year brings over Sir Evelyn De Rothschild’s CRYSTAL OCEAN (GB), a 4-year-old son of Sea The Stars (IRE) who won the Hardwicke Stakes (GII) at Royal Ascot in June and was second in this year’s “Win and You’re In” King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Crystal Ocean finished second in last Saturday’s 1 ¼ mile QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The American contenders are led by three horses who earned automatic berths into the race through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series. Convento Viejo’s homebred ROBERT BRUCE (CHI) leads the way for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old son of Fast Company (IRE), who is 8-for-10 lifetime, earned his Turf bid by taking the “Win and You’re In” Arlington Million (GI) in August and was recently second in another automatic turf qualifier, Belmont Park’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI). Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s CHANNEL MAKER won the Hirsch for trainer Bill Mott and has been on the upswing of late, as the 4-year-old son of 2007 Turf winner English Channel dead-heated for the win in Saratoga’s Bowling Green (GII) in July and was second in another Breeders’ Cup Turf automatic qualifier, the “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (GI). Matthew Schera’s GLORIOUS EMPIRE (IRE) earned a free spot in the Turf with a wire-to-wire win in the Sword Dancer for trainer Chuck Lawrence. Haras Do Morro’s QUARTETO DE CORDAS (BRZ) earned an automatic berth into the Turf when he won the “Win and You’re In” Grande Premio Brasil (GI) at Hipodromo de Gavea in June in Brazil for then-trainer Luiz Esteves, and is now in the barn of trainer Ian Wilkes at Churchill Downs.

Monomoy Girl Has Homecourt Edge in Distaff 

One race preceding the Breeders’ Cup Turf on the Championship Saturday program is the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles. Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stable, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stable’s standout 3-year-old filly MONOMOY GIRL will return to the scene of her biggest triumph when she starts as the likely favorite.  The daughter of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar won the Kentucky Oaks (GI) in May, which highlights a resume that also includes Grade I wins in the Ashland at Keeneland in April, Acorn at Belmont Park in June and Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga in July for trainer Brad Cox. Monomoy Girl, who is 8-for-10 lifetime, finished first in the Cotillion (GI) Sept. 22 at Parx Racing but was controversially disqualified to second due to interference in the stretch.

A major threat appears to be Merriebelle Stable’s BLUE PRIZE (ARG), who qualified for the Distaff with her win in the local “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June for trainer Ignacio Correas IV. The 5-year-old daughter of Pure Prize recently won another Distaff automatic qualifier, Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte Spinster (GI) Oct. 7, and is 7-for-16 lifetime, though it’s her 5-3-2-0 record at Churchill that really adds to her appeal.

China Horse Club and Clearsky Farm’s ABEL TASMAN was the leading older filly or mare when she won a pair of Distaff Challenge races in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Ogden Phipps (GI) in June and Saratoga’s Personal Ensign (GI) in August, but was surprisingly off form when badly beaten at 1-9 when fifth in Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Zenyatta Stakes (GI) Sept. 29. The 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road was second in last year’s Distaff at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert and won the Kentucky Oaks earlier in the season as part of a 3-year-old Championship campaign. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s VALE DORI (ARG) won the Distaff berth that went with her win in the Zenyatta, also for Baffert. The 6-year-old daughter of Asiatic Boy (ARG) has won 10 races in 21 starts.

Peter Brant and Stud Vendaval’s 4-year-old WOW CAT (CHI) was a 3 ¼-length winner of the Beldame (GI) on Oct. 6 at Belmont Park for trainer Chad Brown. Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s MIDNIGHT BISOU, winner of both the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and the Mother Goose (G1), was placed first over Monomoy Girl in the Cotillion, and has also been pre-entered by trainer Steve Asmussen.

Oscar Performance Looks for Second Cup Win in Mile

In the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, run on the turf, Amerman Racing’s homebred OSCAR PERFORMANCE will be running in his third consecutive Breeders’ Cup race. The 4-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita for trainer Brian Lynch and ran ninth in last year’s Turf at Del Mar but has thrived with a cutback in distance this year. Oscar Performance, who is 8-for-14 lifetime, was sharp in winning Belmont’s Poker (G3) in June and earned an automatic starting berth into the Mile when he won the “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (GI) Sept. 15. Two other Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifiers from the U.S. are Michael House’s HUNT (IRE), who won the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita and Michael Iavarone, Jules Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan and partners’ NEXT SHARES, a recent 3 ¼-length winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

The top European challengers come from Lael Stable’s 4-year-old filly ONE MASTER (GB), who comes in off a win in the Qatar Prix de la Foret (G1) at Longchamp for trainer William Haggas, and HAPPILY (IRE), trained by Aidan O’Brien, who was second by a head in the one-mile Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) at Newmaket on Oct. 6.  Qatar Racing’s 7-year-old LIGHTNING SPEAR (GB) earned a free berth into the Mile when he captured the Qatar Sussex (GI) at Glorious Goodwood in August for trainer David Simcock, but was seventh in last Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth at Ascot.

Trainer Chad Brown has a quartet of standouts in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles with Peter Brant’s SISTERCHARLIE (IRE), Michael Dubb, Gary Aisquith and Bethlehem Stable’s FOURSTAR CROOK; Dubb, Bethlehem and Makadet Stable’s A RAVING BEAUTY (GER) and Mrs. John Magnier, Madaket Stable’s and Deron Pearson’s SANTA MONICA (GB). Sistercharlie, a 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie (IRE), is 3-for-4 this year and leads the North American contingent off Grade 1 wins in Keeneland’s Jenny Wiley in April, Saratoga’s Diana in July and Arlington Park’s “Win and You’re In” Beverly D. in August. The 6-year-old Fourstar Crook, 12 of 19 lifetime, handed Sistercharlie her only loss of the year in Belmont Park’s New York (G2) in June and earned a Filly & Mare Turf berth with her win in Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl (G1) on Oct. 7. The 5-year-old A Raving Beauty has two Grade 1 wins this year, taking the Just a Game Stakes at Belmont in June and then going wire-to-wire-in the First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 6.  Brown is shooting for his fourth win in the Filly & Mare Turf. The 5-year-old Santa Monica was third in the E.P. Taylor (G1) in her most recent start.

From Ireland, Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered formidable challengers in 3-year-old fillies MAGICAL (IRE), who won last Saturday’s QIPCO British Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes (G1) by one length, and MAGIC WAND (IRE), who finished second in her last two starts at Longchamp in the Prix Vermeille (G1) and the “Win and You’re In” Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1). The winner of the Prix de l’Opera was Godolphin’s homebred WILD ILLUSION. The 3-year-old daughter of Dubawi (IRE) also won the Qatar Nassau Stakes (G1) at Glorious Goodwood in August for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Game Winner, Bellafina Loom as Favorites on Future Stars Friday

The $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $2 million Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies headline the newly formed Future Stars Friday card, with all five Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-olds run on the same day. The winners of these two dirt races at 1 1/16-miles figure to crown a champion in their respective divisions, and earn early favoritism for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively.  Gary and Mary West’s GAME WINNER will look to cap an undefeated campaign for trainer Bob Baffert in the Juvenile. The son of Candy Ride (ARG) won his debut at Del Mar in August then won the Del Mar Futurity (GI) in September and earned an automatic berth into the Juvenile with his win in Santa Anita’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” American Pharoah (G1).

Seth Klarman’s COMPLEXITY earned a free spot in the Juvenile when he won Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Champagne (G1) Oct. 6 at a one-turn mile for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Maclean’s Music has yet to be behind a horse at any pace call in his two wins, which includes a debut victory at Saratoga in September. KRA Stud Farm’s KNICKS GO secured a Juvenile berth when he won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) Oct. 6 for trainer Ben Colebrook. The son of Paynter went wire-to-wire at 70-1, winning by 5 ½ lengths for his second win in four starts.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will be led by Kaleem Shah’s BELLAFINA, who has easily won her last three starts—all stakes—and showed she can handle two turns when she earned an automatic berth into the race in Santa Anita’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Chandelier (GI). The daughter of Quality Road was second in her debut at Los Alamitos in July for trainer Simon Callaghan and then went on to win Del Mar’s Sorrento (GII) by 4 ¼ lengths in August and the Del Mar Debutante (GI) by 4 ¼ lengths in September prior to winning the Chandelier by 6 ½ lengths.

Bellafina’s stiffest test is expected to come from Fern City Stable and Three Chimneys Farm’s RESTLESS RIDER, who earned a berth into the race when she won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Alcibiades (G1) Oct. 5 for trainer Kenny McPeek. The daughter of Distorted Humor was second in another “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies, Saratoga’s Spinaway (GI) in September. Restless Rider also owns two wins at Churchill, as she broke her maiden in Louisville in June and won the Debutante later that month.

Other top Juvenile Fillies candidates include Cash is King and Leonard Green’s JAYWALK, who won Belmont’s Frizette (GI) Oct. 7 for trainer John Servis; Joel Politi’s SERENGETI EMPRESS, winner of Churchill’s Pocahontas (GII) Sept. 15 for trainer Tom Amoss, and Lee Pokoik’s SIPPICAN HARBOR, who captured the division’s first automatic berth when she beat Restless Rider in the Spinaway for trainer Gary Contessa.

There will be three Juvenile races on turf as a part of Future Stars Friday, and all of them are oversubscribed fields.

The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for 2-year-old fillies at one mile has two top American runners in Seth Klarman’s NEWSPAPEROFRECORD (IRE), who was very impressive winning her two starts for trainer Chad Brown, including Belmont Park’s Miss Grillo (GII) Sept. 30, and Ashbrook Farm’s and BBN Racing’s CONCRETE ROSE, who captured Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Jessamine Stakes (G2) for trainer Rusty Arnold.  Godolphin’s LA PELOSA (IRE) came to Canada in September and won the Natalma Stakes (G1) to earn an automatic berth. Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered JUST WONDERFUL, who took the “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Rockfel (G2) at Newmarket on Sept. 28.

CURRENT impressed with his victory in the “Win and You’re In” Dixiana Bourbon (GIII) Oct. 7 at Keeneland for trainer Todd Pletcher and looms a major contender in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf for 2-year-old males. Pletcher also has pre-entered Cheyenne Stables and Gaillardia Racing’s OPRY, winner of Saratoga’s With Anticipation(G3) Stakes. August Dawn Farm’s FORTY UNDER won the Pilgrim Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. The Aidan O’Brien trained BROOME (IRE) finished second by a neck in the “Win and You’re In” Prix Jean-Luc Legardere (G1) at Longchamp on Oct. 7.

The new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, an open race for both genders, will be run at 5 ½ furlongs. Breeze Easy LLC’s Florida-bred filly SHANG SHANG SHANG was the first horse to qualify for the race when she won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in June for trainer Wesley Ward. Three American 2-year-olds also won Breeders’ Cup Challenge automatic berths: Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ UNCLE BENNY came from way back to win the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park for trainer Jason Servis; John Oxley’s STRIKE SILVER, trained by Mark Casse, also closed late to capture Keeneland’s Indian Summer Stakes and Janet Lyons and Evan Trommer, Andrew Trommer and Matthew Trommer’s ITS GONNA HURT was a front-running winner of the Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 6.

A Deep and Talented TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Returning to Championship Saturday, the newly increased $2 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, run at six furlongs, promises to be one of its most competitive renewals in years. Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s defending Sprint champion ROY H, comes into the race off a 2 ¾- length victory in the “Win and You’re In” Santa Anita Sprint Championship (GI) Oct. 6 for trainer Peter Miller.

Ray Mamone’s IMPERIAL HINT looms as the horse to beat off back-to-back dominant Grade I wins for trainer Luis Carvajal. The 5-year-old son of Imperialism is 4-for-5 this year and has been extremely sharp while winning Saratoga’s Alfred G. Vanderbilt (GI) in July and Belmont Park’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Vosburgh (GI) to earn an automatic berth into the Sprint. Imperial Hint is 12-for-18 lifetime and looks poised to one better his second-place finish in last year’s Sprint at Del Mar.

Among the other challengers  are four winners of “Win and You’re In” races. Robert Baron’s 3-year-old PROMISES FULFILLED is one prospect for trainer Dale Romans, as he wired the field in Saratoga’s Allen Jerkens (GI) in August and beat older horses in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) Oct. 5. Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ WHITMORE was a game second in the Phoenix for trainer Ron Moquett, Katherine Ball’s homebred LIMOUSINE LIBERAL was third in the Phoenix for trainer Ben Colebrook and earned his Sprint berth with his score in the “Win and You’re In” Belmont Sprint Championship (GII) in July. Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm’s XY JET, winner of the Smile Sprint (G3) and second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), has also been pre-entered.

The seven-furlong, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint is led by two Bob Baffert-trained stars in the 4-year-old MARLEY’S FREEDOM, owned by Cicero Farms, who has won her last four races, including the “Win and You’re In” Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga by 3 ¼ lengths, and the undefeated 3-year-old DREAM TREE for Phoenix Thoroughbreds III. Dream Tree comes into the race off a 4 ¼-length victory in the Prioress Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 2. Juddmonte Farm’s GOLDEN MISCHIEF also earned an automatic berth into the Filly & Mare Sprint by winning Keeneland’s Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2), prevailing by a head over Lael Stable’s CHALON. Matalona Thoroughbreds’ STORMY EMBRACE captured the “Win and You’re In” Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream in July.

The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, run at one turn, is headlined by Hronis Racing’s CATALINA CRUISER, who is undefeated after four lopsided victories for trainer John Sadler, including the “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien (G2) Aug. 25 at Del Mar. Stiff competition will come from Grade I winner CITY OF LIGHT, who handed Accelerate his only loss this year in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in April for trainer Michael McCarthy.
In the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs, trainer Peter Miller has pre-entered the 1-2 finishers in last year’s race, defending champion STORMY LIBERAL for owners Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, and Rockingham Ranch’s RICHARD’S BOY. A 6-year-old gelding, Stormy Liberal has won his last three starts, including a head victory over Gary Barber’s CONQUEST TSUNAMI in the Eddie D. Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on Sept. 28.  On the East Coast, Patricia Generazio’s 6-year-old DISCO PARTNER captured the “Win and You’re In” Jaipur Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park in June and later won the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on Oct. 6.  Global Racing’s 3-year-old HAVANA GREY (GB) won the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G1) at The Curragh in Ireland and gained a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Turf Sprint.


A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each Breeders’ Cup World Championships race with the exception of the Juvenile Turf Sprint, which is limited to 12 starters. Breeders’ Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based on (i) Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners, (ii) a point system, and (iii) the judgment of a panel of racing experts. The field selection system was implemented following the taking of pre-entries on Monday, October 22 to officially rank the oversubscribed fields. The Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel (the “Panel”) ranked all horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference. Entry for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be Monday, October 29 by 10 a.m. (ET). At the time of entry, a maximum of 14 horses (or 12) will be accepted for each race based on the order of preference established at pre-entry.

There will be up to two (2) also-eligible horses for each Championship race with the exception of the Juvenile Turf Sprint, which will have up to four also eligibles. The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel’s order of preference for each Championship race as ranked at the time of pre-entry. Scratch time for all Championships races to be contested on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday will be 8 a.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 2.

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The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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