Annapolis. Coady Photography
Beyond Brilliant, Domestic Spending, Ivar, Shirl’s Speight
Breeders’ Cup Notes/Edited
LEXINGTON, Ky.— Bass Racing’s Annapolis will attempt to become the 12th 3yo to win the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) presented by PDJF on Friday.
The 39th running of the race drew a full field of 14, including the most recent 3yo winner of the race in Order of Australia, a horse that Annapolis beat here last month in the Coolmore Turf Mile.
“That’s a tricky post for him,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the 11 hole for Annapolis, who has had two works over the course since his victory Oct. 8. “He (jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.) is going to have to work out a good trip from there.”
When Order of Australia sprung his 73-1 upset here in the 2020 Mile, he broke from post 14.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who always will be remembered as the trainer of Zenyatta, the only female to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, has returned to the event with C R K Stable’s 4yo Beyond Brilliant, who will face a full field in Saturday’s Mile presented by PDJF.
“He’s trained very well,” Shirreffs said. “His last two in California were exceptional. He shipped in well and is nice and bright.
“I think the mile is sort of an interesting race because everybody’s going to be riding tight with the tight turns. And so, I think for us, because our horse has speed, he will be in a good position. He’ll hopefully find an opening or something good happens during the race that gives him a better chance to win. I think that experience on the tighter tracks in California will help and hopefully we have good luck and have an opportunity.”
Shirreffs says he still gets stopped by people asking about Zenyatta, especially at events like the Breeders’ Cup.
“I was about to explode that day,” Shirreffs said of the Classic win. “That was fun.”
Arguably one of the top American hopes in the FanDuel Mile, Klaravich Stables’ Chad Brown-trained Domestic Spending continues to impress in the mornings, galloping a routine circuit of the main dirt track on Wednesday morning under Peter Leiva Roman.
“I’m confident that I have the horse prepared to go in and run a good race,” Brown said. “I’m very confident in his soundness and fitness. It’s a tall order to run against horses who are in form in this race. Running him a mile is a challenge, it’s been quite a while for this horse since he saw a mile race, but he looks better than I’ve ever seen him look physically. He’s grown up and has great strength to him. He’s carrying good condition without looking unfit. His gallop outs have been consistently strong the last three weeks here and he’s a super-talented horse.”
Domestic Spending drew the dreaded outside 14-post in the Mile and will be piloted by Flavien Prat. The last time he raced in Kentucky, the British-bred son of Kingman won the G1 Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day 2020 off a 154-day break. He will have to win off 447 days on Saturday.
Third time could be the charm for Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R D I’s Brazilian-bred Ivar in the FanDuel Mile, as the Paulo Lobo pupil breaks from post 6 under Javier Castellano with morning line odds of 15-1. The 6yo will make just his 15th start but has won six times and finished in the money in 10 starts. On Wednesday morning, he left Barn 68 and had an easy gallop, having worked a maintenance 4f on Oct. 29 in 49 2/5.
Winner of the 2020 G1 Shadwell Turf Mile over course and distance, the son of Agnes Gold was the morning line favorite for the subsequent Mile, closing well to finish fourth by 2 lengths behind Order of Australia. His 2021 season included just three starts, but ended with a flying third in the Mile, beaten 1½ lengths by Space Blues. This year, he already has raced three times, winning a Listed stakes at Indiana before finishing a distant second to Mile morning line favorite Modern Games in the G1 Woodbine Mile. He came back three weeks later and finished a fast-closing second in the G1 Coolmore Turf Mile, setting him up for a third Breeders’ Cup.
“We started him in July in Indiana, and he ran very well there and then we sent him to Canada, where he lost to a very good horse, and then we came back to the Keeneland Mile for the third time – to another very good horse in Annapolis – but I think he’s now on top of his best form for this year going into this race,” Lobo explained. “I think he is as good as he was when he won the Keeneland Mile two years ago and I’m expecting a very good race from him on Saturday.”
A dual Grade 1 winner in Brazil in 2019, Ivar has been ridden in 10 of his 11 stateside starts by Joe Talamo, who will be replaced by 12-time Breeders’ Cup-winning jockey Javier Castellano on Saturday. Castellano has never won a Mile, but half his aforementioned trophies came in grass races.
“The manager, owner and I have been talking about a change for Ivar for a while and we picked Castellano because he’s been riding for me very well in New York,” Lobo explained. “He’s doing very well right now and he knows the track. There isn’t much to say about Castellano – his name speaks for itself. He also fits well for Ivar.”
In his only Keeneland start, Charles Fipke’s homebred Shirl’s Speight won the Maker’s Mark Mile in April. The 5yo had his final tune-up for the Mile at trainer Roger Attfield’s Woodbine base on Sunday before arriving at Keeneland around 7 p.m. Monday. In his most recent start, Shirl’s Speight was fourth in Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes Sept. 17.
With Attfield’s assistant Ally Walker aboard, Shirl’s Speight galloped 1 ½m Thursday on the 5f all-weather training track, a surface he prefers to dirt. Attfield observed while mounted on his white stable pony Frosty. The group also visited the saddling paddock. He said he is “very, very happy” as the Breeders’ Cup approaches.
“It is in the hands of the racing gods now,” he said.
Like most of the Attfield horses, Shirl’s Speight has a stuffed animal that hangs outside his stall door. Attfield says the toys keep the horses entertained and calm.
Shirl’s Speight is the product of two Breeders’ Cup winners. His Eclipse Award-winning sire Speightstown won the 2004 Sprint (G1) and his dam, Perfect Shirl, captured the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in 2011.
After driving the 600 miles from Toronto, Attfield arrived in Lexington several hours after his horses settled in and was a welcome sight in the barn area. A regular at Keeneland each season with 18 stakes victories to his credit, Attfield did not have a starter this past race meet.