The $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, at 1 ½ miles, could be as wide open as ever. The American contingent seems a mixed bag, while the Europeans have seen two of their best—the supermare Enable (GB), along with Ghaiyyath (IRE)—recently head off to retirement, and a third—MAGICAL (IRE)—run poorly in her last start. These recent developments could result in one of the more competitive Turf renewals in recent memory.
The Americans will be led by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s CHANNEL MAKER, who has won two straight for trainer Bill Mott and earned an automatic berth into the race when he won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (G1) in August. The 7-year-old son of 2007 Turf winner English Channel is 7-for-36 lifetime and has been a divisional stalwart for the past several years. While he was 11th in the Turf at Churchill Downs in 2018 and 12th last year at Santa Anita, Channel Maker has seemingly turned a corner of late, as he also won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park Oct. 3.
LNJ Foxwoods’ UNITED invades from California and will look to one better his second in the Turf last year for trainer Richard Mandella. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, who is 7-for-16 lifetime, was a head away from upsetting Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar last year and hasn’t missed a beat in 2020. United is 4-for-5, with a quartet of Grade 2 wins, most recently in the John Henry Turf Championship Sept. 26 at Santa Anita.
Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Magical would rate a solid favorite should she make the trip from Ireland for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The 5-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) is a seven-time Group 1 winner and was second in the Longines Turf to Enable in 2018. Magical is 12-for-26 lifetime and qualified for the Turf when she won the “Win and You’re In” Irish Champion (G1) over Ghaiyyath at Leopardstown in September but was recently third as a heavy favorite over soft ground in the Oct. 17 Qipco Champion Stakes (G1, see race recap below), putting her participation in question.
Three others who won “Win and You’re In” qualifiers could start, as Otter Bend Stables’ GUFO won the Belmont Derby (G1) Oct. 3 for trainer Christophe Clement, while Little Red Feather Racing, Gordon Jacobson, and Philip Belmonte’s RED KING won the Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association (G2) Aug. 22 for trainer Phil D’Amato. His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing’s LORD NORTH (IRE) won the Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot in June, though he was just 10th in the Champion Stakes for trainer John Gosden. American-based AQUAPHOBIA, ARKLOW, ORIGINAIRE (IRE), and ZULU ALPHA are also eyeing the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, while DONJAH (GER), MOGUL (GB), and TARNAWA (IRE) could come from Europe.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Photo: United streaks to victory in the John Henry Turf Championship Credit: Eclipse Sportswire