Advisory: This is the second of eight weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at Del Mar. For more information, please visit BreedersCup.com. The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN. You can follow all the contenders’ activity leading up to the Breeders’ Cup with Equibase’s free “Road to the Breeders’ Cup” Virtual Stable notification service.
All-Turf Challenge Weekend Beckons in Kentucky and Ireland
Seven “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge races take place at a trio of tracks Saturday and Sunday and will award automatic starting berths into a quintet of Breeders’ Cup turf races. Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Kentucky, highlights the action in the U.S. with two Saturday qualifiers, while Leopardstown in Dublin offers three earlier in the day, including the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) and a matchup between superstars ST MARK’S BASILICA (FR) and defending $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner TARNAWA (IRE). The Curragh in County Kildare closes down the weekend with two races on Sunday.
Kentucky Downs’ European style turf course will play host to two lucrative $1 million “Win and You’re In” Challenge races with the Calumet Turf Cup Stakes (G2), which will award an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf while the FanDuel Turf Sprint (G2) will offer a berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Both the Turf Cup and Turf Sprint will be shown live on NBC from 5-6 p.m. ET as part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing.”
The Calumet Turf Cup, run at 1 ½ miles, drew an overflow field of 16, with 12 to start, led by Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Estate of Peter Coneway’s defending champion ARKLOW. The 7-year-old son of Arch has been a gem of consistency over the years for trainer Brad Cox — as well as a Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf veteran — as he ran fourth in 2018 at Churchill Downs, eighth in 2019 at Santa Anita and sixth last year at Keeneland. Arklow is 9-for-34 lifetime, which includes a win in the Louisville (G3) at Churchill in May, but will look to rebound off a disappointing seventh in the Del Mar Handicap presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2) Aug. 20, which was also a “Win and You’re In” for the Turf.
Calumet Farm’s homebred CHANNEL CAT won the Man o’ War (G1) at Belmont Park in May for trainer Jack Sisterson and is another with a win over the local course, having taken the Dueling Grounds Derby in 2018. The 6-year-old son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel is 6-for-28 lifetime and looms the one to catch.
A slew of stakes winners will aim for an upset, including a trio for trainer Mike Maker in Michael Ryan’s BLUEGRASS PARKWAY, Three Diamonds Farms’ TIDE OF THE SEA and who has struggled with his form this year. Graded stakes performers AJOURNEYTOFREEDOM, EPIC BROMANCE, GLYNN COUNTY and IMPERADOR (ARG) also are entered for the “Win and You’re In” Calumet Turf Cup, as are BREAKPOINT (CHI) and CROSSFIREHURRICANE, BIG DREAMING and ARTEMUS EAGLE. Michael Hui’s defending champion ZULU ALPHA was scratched on Friday, and has been retired.
Star-Studded FanDuel Turf Sprint Looks Wide Open
The 6-furlong FanDuel Turf Sprint drew 13, with 12 to start, and one can make a legitimate winning case for most in the field in what is undoubtedly one of the top one-turn turf races of the year. The horse to beat is LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s CASA CREED, who is undefeated in two turf sprint starts for trainer Bill Mott, which includes Belmont Park’s Jackpocket Jaipur (G1) in June, which was also a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed, who was 12th in last year’s FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, is 5-for-21 lifetime and enters off a closing third to fellow entrant GOT STORMY in Saratoga’s Aug. 14 two-turn Fourstardave (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm’s Got Stormy won her second Fourstardave in three years for trainer Mark Casse and has excelled at two turns but has been a quality sprinter as well, as she won the local Ladies Sprint (G3) last year and was a close fifth in the Turf Sprint at Keeneland. Got Stormy, who was fifth in the Jaipur, is 12-for-30 lifetime and was second in the Mile at Santa Anita in 2019.
Contention runs deep, with Brad Grady’s FAST BOAT coming off a win in Saratoga’s Troy (G3) Aug. 6 for trainer Joe Sharp, while Raydelz Stable’s BOMBARD won Santa Anita’s Daytona (G3) in his most recent start May 29 for trainer Richard Mandella, and Breeze Easy’s IMPRIMIS won the Turf Sprint last year for trainer Joe Orseno. Graded stakes stalwarts BORN GREAT, CHEWING GUM, DIAMOND OOPS, FRONT RUN THE FED, GEAR JOCKEY, SIEM REP and STUBBINS also are entered for the “Win and You’re In” FanDuel Turf Sprint, while JOHNNY UNLEASHED is on the also-eligible list.
Breeders’ Cup Press Release