The runners and connections after BC’22
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Breeders’ Cup Notes
LEXINGTON, Ky.—After two full days of world-class racing the 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships concluded on Saturday with the stunning finish of Flighline in the Classic.
“We came. We saw and we conquered.”
In a nutshell, exercise rider and assistant trainer Juan Leyva summed up two weeks in Kentucky for Flightline, who on Saturday delivered the most decisive victory in 39 runnings of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with his 8 ¼-length tour de force.
Owned by the partnership of Hronis Racing, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm and Woodford Racing, Flightline came out of the race fine as he extended his career undefeated streak to six with his victories coming by a combined 71 lengths.
“He is good this morning and he’ll spend a few days here and have a showing at Lane’s End,” trainer John Sadler said referring to where Flightline will begin his stallion career when he is done racing.
And how was the trainer doing the morning after the Classic victory.
“A little sleep deprived, but good,” Sadler said with a laugh.
Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat gave trainer Todd Pletcher a third victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on Saturday in a stirring performance that ended with three horses noses apart at the finish.
“That was a big performance by Malathaat,” said Pletcher, who also won the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) on Friday with Forte. “Any time you can come into an event such as this and get a win, it’s an accomplishment. To win two … we don’t take them for granted.”
The two winners were the only runners from Pletcher’s 10 starters over the weekend to finish in the top three.
“There were some that exceeded expectations and some that did not,” Pletcher said. “Nest (fourth in the Distaff) lost a lot of ground and Annapolis (11th in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1) was hurt by his post (11).”
In the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Life Is Good set the pace before yielding to Flightline at the head of the stretch and finishing fifth.
“Another super impressive performance,” Pletcher said of Flightline. “He is a very unique horse and from a sheer talent standpoint, he’s as good as I have ever seen.”
Pletcher said his Breeders’ Cup horses would be leaving Keeneland Monday for different destinations.
Pozo De Luna’s Blue Stripe headed across town to Fasig-Tipton where she is scheduled to be sold at auction tonight.
Trained by Marcelo Polanco, Blue Stripe finished a nose behind Malathaat and a nose ahead of Clairiere in Saturday’s dramatic Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Ironically, all three had competed in the same race last year at Del Mar with Blue Stripe finishing seventh, Malathaat third and Clairiere fourth.
Polanco had been quietly confident leading up to the race in which Blue Stripe was sent off at 24-1 odds. Although she never had raced here, Blue Stripe had posted a bullet 5f work here Oct. 26 and she is a half-sister to 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Blue Prize, a two-time winner of the Spinster here at Keeneland.
RED TR-Racing’s Rich Strike departed Keeneland Sunday morning to return to trainer Eric Reed’s Mercury Equine Center 11 miles away following his fourth-place finish in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
“He came back great,” Reed said of the Kentucky Derby winner. “He left at 9 this morning to come back to Mercury. We will see how he feels the next couple days but most likely he will get a little break and gear up for a 4-year-old campaign.”
Bill Mott was pleased after a successful Breeders’ Cup World Championships in which he won two races and placed in multiple others. From eight Breeders’ Cup starters, he had two wins, one second and one third. His wins included the Qatar Racing Sprint (G1) with Juddmonte’s Elite Power ($13.10) and the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) with Godolphin’s popular Cody’s Wish ($6.32).
Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods’ Classic (G1) runner-up Olympiad, winner of the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in his previous start, exited his race in good condition, per Mott.
“Olympiad is going to Gainesway for a week,” he said. “It’s sales time and people want to see him. They’ll have a meeting next week and decide next week whether he runs again or whether he goes directly to stud.”
Plans are still undecided, as of 8 a.m. Sunday, as to Elite Power’s immediate plans following his triumph. The son of Curlin won for the fifth consecutive time in the Sprint to improve his record to 5-0-1 from eight starts. Same goes for the similar Cody’s Wish – also a son of Curlin– who won for the seventh time in his past eight races and improved his record to 7-1-3 from 11 tries.
“I haven’t got any notifications so far,” Mott said. “And Cody’s Wish… it’s going to be a pretty empty stable if they leave.
“We’ve had some big days before and today’s a new day,” he continued. “We are looking ahead, now, and we’re pleased with what happened. We really had a successful Breeders’ Cup. You’d love to have this sort of outcome every time and it doesn’t always work that way. I said before they ran the races, we’re coming with a nice group. We could have everybody run their best races and maybe come back without winning a race. That’s just the way it is. The fields are so competitive. They really are. To win two and a second in the Classic and a third in the Turf—a great outcome.
“Right now, (War Like Goddess) will be heading to Florida with us and we plan to run her next year.”
On Flightline: “He’s brilliant. That’s what we saw yesterday. The problem is nobody remembers who ran second. I would love to see him run again next year, even if I had to run against him. I think horses like that are great for the sport.”
On winning an Eclipse Award for champion sprinter with either Cody’s Wish or Elite Power: “You know, I haven’t even thought about it. The first time it entered my mind is the fact that you mentioned it right now. I’ll leave that up to the voters. We saw them on the track yesterday and it’s something to consider.
“From what I’ve seen in the past and other races I’ve been in and situations where I thought the work that a horse has done throughout the year didn’t count as much as what they do in the Breeders’ Cup. Case being War Like Goddess (in 2021). Winning the Breeders’ Cup (Filly & Mare Turf in 2021) made (Loves Only You) the champion. The Breeders’ Cup is important, and the voters will take a look at that. I guess I’ll have two of them up for the vote.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning that his four Breeders’ Cup runners came out of their races in good order and will be shipped back to California this week. All four are scheduled to compete in 2023.
Zedan Racing Stables’ 3yo Taiba finished third in the $6 million Classic Saturday. Cave Rock, co-owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, finished second in the Juvenile on Friday, while National Treasure, co-owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables, was third. In the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Pegram. Watson and Weitman’s Speed Boat Beach was ninth.
Taiba closed in the stretch and ended up a half-length behind runner-up Olympiad.
“He sort of slipped and he got away bad there at the start and lost position,” Baffert said. “He wasn’t going to win but it might have cost him second. He ran a great race.”
Baffert said he does not have plans for Taiba’s next start and did not offer an opinion on whether he should be considered for the 3yo male title – “I don’t have a vote,” he said – but noted that Taiba had the best finish of the three 3yos in the Classic. Taiba and Cyberknife are the only 3yo males with two Grade 1 victories this season. The Classic was an opportunity for Taiba to add to his credentials.
“I think he had his chance yesterday,” Baffert said. “We had the best 3-year-olds in there and he beat them all. Was there a better 3-year-old?”
Cave Rock, National Treasure and Speed Boat Beach are among Baffert’s class of prospects for the Triple Crown prep series over the winter. Zedan’s Arabian Knight joined that crew Saturday with a 7 ¼-length victory in a maiden race at Keeneland. Baffert said the turf experiment with Speed Boat Beach was over and he will return to dirt racing
In the Juvenile, Forte came on in the stretch to edge betting favorite Cave Rock and hand him his first career defeat.
“I was disappointed in Cave Rock,” Baffert said. “I don’t think he brought his A game. I’m disappointed in him. He’s so much better than that. I was excited about Arabian Knight. We knew he was a superstar in the making. They’re all nice horses. We’ll just regroup.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill reported that all three of his Breeders’ Cup entrants Saturday came back in good form. O’Neill’s top-placed horse from yesterday’s card was Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy who finished third in the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) with Mario Gutierrez up. A start in the Runhappy Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita could be next for the 3yo son of Nyquist, but O’Neill reported that no final decisions have been made at this time.
Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, and Strauss Bros Racing’s Hot Rod Charlie finished sixth in Saturday’s head turning Longines Classic. There is no reported decision for the colt’s next move at this time.
O’Neill said that Slow Down Andy will ship out to California today and he is unsure about the rest of his Breeders’ Cup contenders.
Per connections, First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Goodnight Olive has exited her race well. The Chad Brown-trained daughter of 2004 Classic winner Ghostzapper will get a rest and point to a 2023 campaign that could include a stretch out in distance, with race such as the Madison, Ogden Phipps and a defense of the Ballerina squarely on her radar.
Trainer Kevin Attard headed back home to Canada, leaving his Breeders’ Cup fillies, Moira and Last Call, at Margaux Farm in Midway, Kentucky for a freshening. Both are scheduled to return to the races in 2023.
Moira, the 3yo daughter of Ghostzapper owned by X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables and SF Racing, finished fifth under Frankie Detorri in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1). They started from the outside post in the field of 12 and ended up 6 lengths behind the winner Tuesday.
“She was a little further back than I anticipated,” Attard said. She does not customarily run that far off the pace, but she made a mild close and ran on to be fifth. Her performance was good. I thought that we had a better race in her. Maybe with a better trip we could have hit the board.”
Moira looks to be a lock to win Canada’s post-season Sovereign Awards as 3yo filly champ and Horse of the Year. She was 3-for-3 before the Breeders’ Cup and completed the double of beating fillies in the Woodbine Oaks and males in the Queen’s Plate. Attard said that it was possible she could make her return to racing next year in Florida.
“There’s nothing really set in stone with where we’re going to make her first start back,” he said. “We will get her ready and see when she’s ready.”
Last Call, owned by X-Men Racing 2 and SF Racing, finished sixth, beaten 5 ½ lengths, in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She earned her trip to the Breeders’ Cup with a victory as a maiden in Natalma on Sept. 17 at Woodbine.
“She’s doing well,” Attard said. “She came out of the race in good order. She’s another horse that didn’t get the best of trips, a little traffic trouble down the back side, kind of in tight down the stretch a bit. She is probably another horse that maybe could have had a better placing with a better trip.”
Ttrainer Wayne Catalano, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ defending Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Aloha West has exited his disappointing last-place effort in good shape, while Phoenix-winning stablemate Manny Wah – fourth and closing well – has done the same.
“Both came back great,” Catalano said. “Next plans, I don’t know.”
Aloha West is scheduled to join the stallion ranks at Mill Ridge Farm at the conclusion of his career.
Altamira Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s Qatar Racing Sprint runner-up C Z Rocketexited his race well, per trainer Peter Miller. The soon-to-be 9yo gelding will be given a rest and pointed to Oaklawn Park’s sprint series and possibly the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. The son of City Zip was also second in the 2020 edition of the Sprint at Keeneland and seventh in 2021 at Del Mar.
Trainer Brendan Walsh confirmed that his Saturday Breeders’ Cup runners, Family Way (10th, Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf) and Cazadero (11th, Turf Sprint), have exited well. Family Way is scheduled to be sold at Keeneland, while Cazadero, a recent sale purchase-turned-Grade 2 winner, will possibly point to slightly longer turf sprints than the 5.5f he traversed on Saturday, namely the 1351 Turf Sprint (about 6.75f) on Saudi Cup day and the Al Quoz Sprint (6f) on Dubai World Cup day.
Trainer Roger Attfield hit the board in large fields with both of his Breeders’ Cup entrants on Saturday’s star-studded card. The duo managed to hold their own on the Keeneland turf, which was largely dominated by the European contingent this weekend. Attfield’s assistant Ally Walker reported “all good” Sunday for third-place finisher in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf (G1) Lady Speightspeare, and second-place finisher in the FanDuel Mile (G1) Shirl’s Speight. Both fillies are owned by Charles Fipke and were piloted by Luis Saez on Saturday.
The decision to wheel Caravel back in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) off her win in the Franklin Stakes at Keeneland less than three weeks ago paid off as she now heads to the Keeneland November Sale (Hip 224) as the biggest longshot winner of the two-day event. She beat a talented field, including last year’s winner Golden Pal, by a half-length at odds of 42-1.
She is the ninth Breeders’ Cup winner for trainer Brad Cox, who has now won at least one Breeders’ Cup race every year since 2018.
While Cox and his two juvenile runners returned to their base at Churchill Downs in Louisville two other of his Breeders’ Cup starters stayed in Lexington. Cyberknife, second in the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1), went to Spendthrift Farm to be shown as a stallion prospect and Lady Rocket, eighth in the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), is entered in Sunday’s Fasig-Tipton sale. She is Hip 195.