Filly & Mare Sprint contender Goodnight Olive, winner of this year’s G1 Test at Saratoga (Coady Photography)
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— This year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, slated for Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, will see several New York-based trainers and jockeys compete in the 14 Grade 1 divisions across the two-day festival.
The Breeders’ Cup coincides with Opening Weekend of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack, which features the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap on Friday and a pair of $120,000 juvenile stakes in the Stewart Manor for fillies and Atlantic Beach on Saturday.
Friday’s first post at the Big A is 11:35 a.m., while Saturday’s Aqueduct card will kick off at 10:50 a.m. Doors open at 10 a.m. on both days.
Racing fans can watch and wager on all the action with NYRA Bets, the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the 29-day fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Trainer Tom Albertrani will be represented by New York-bred Sterling Silver in Saturday’s Filly and Mare Sprint [Race 3] for owner Mark T. Anderson. Bred in the Empire State by Mallory Mort and Karen Mort, Sterling Silver will look to give her conditioner his first Breeders’ Cup victory as his first starter since 2019.
Albertrani, who trained Better Lucky to a close runner-up finish to Judy the Beauty in the 2014 Filly and Mare Sprint, said he is thankful for the opportunity to return to the Breeders’ Cup.
“It’s always good to be there. It’s great to be a part of it and just to get there means a lot,” said Albertrani. “I was beaten a head with Better Lucky, so maybe we can get a good result this week.”
Albertrani has finished second in the Breeders’ Cup on three occasions, including with 2006 Grade 1 Preakness-winner Bernardini in that year’s Classic as well as with Balletto [2004 Juvenile Fillies].
Albertrani added that it’s special to bring a New York-bred to the championship stage.
“It’s an extra bonus to be New York-bred,” said Albertrani. “It’s good for the breeders and I’m sure they’ll be there. It’s just great to participate in such a great event.”
Sterling Silver, a sophomore daughter of Cupid, kicked off her campaign with a victory in the Franklin Square against fellow state-breds in January at Aqueduct Racetrack. Three starts later, she was an emphatic winner of the Bouwerie in May at Belmont Park, and followed with a game third-place finish in the Grade 3 Victory Ride in July over Big Sandy.
Sterling Silver earned two more graded placings in September, including a runner-up finish beaten a neck to fellow Filly and Mare Sprint aspirant Wicked Halo in the Grade 2 Prioress at the Spa. She was last seen finishing third behind Kimari in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom when facing elders for the first time at Belmont.
“She’s run well pretty much every time,” said Albertrani. “She tries hard and she was able to run well enough against the older fillies last time, so we thought she deserved a chance in this spot. She seems to handle the seven furlongs pretty well, and it’s all about getting the right pace and trip. We’re going up against a tough group, but we’re just hoping for a good run.”
Sterling Silver has run once at Keeneland, finishing a distant fifth to Nest in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 Ashland in April. Albertrani said he is looking forward to returning to the Lexington oval at a shorter distance.
“We shipped her down a little early this time and the first time we were there, we were stretching her out to two turns,” said Albertrani. “It wasn’t really her right distance, so the cutback hopefully will let us be pleasantly surprised.”
Sterling Silver has made her preparations at Belmont Park, most recently breezing a half-mile in 48.31 seconds over the main track Saturday.
“She’s been training well. She had a nice work a few days ago and shipped down well on Sunday,” said Albertrani. “It was one of her better works and it looks like she’s ready to go.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the call from post 9 at morning line odds of 30-1.
Four additional New York-bred contenders will also carry the banner for the Empire State, including Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Hidden Brook Farm-owned and James G. Doyle-bred You’re My Girl [Juvenile Fillies, post 2, John Velazquez] for conditioner John Terranova; Trinity Farm homebred Red Knight [Turf, post 10, Luis Saez] for trainer Mike Maker; George A. Sharp’s Hidden Lake Farm and Donna Bernhard-bred Curly Larry and Mo [Juvenile Turf, post 3, Francisco Arrieta] for trainer Caio Caramori; and breeder J and N Stables and Diamond M Stable’s Dancing Buck [Turf Sprint, AE, Joel Rosario] for trainer Michelle Nevin.
New York-based Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher arrives at the Breeders’ Cup with an impressive contingent, led by multiple Grade 1-winner Life Is Good in the $6 million Classic.
Life Is Good, owned by WinStar Farm and CHC, Inc., arrives from two Grade 1 triumphs on the NYRA circuit, establishing his ability around two turns with open-length scores in the Whitney on August 6 at Saratoga and the Woodward on October 1 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
A 4-year-old son of Into Mischief, Life Is Good kicked off his campaign with a dominant victory in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January at Gulfstream Park, and went on to make three of his next four outings at NYRA, beginning with a five-length romp in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud in July at Belmont en route to his Whitney and Woodward coups.
Life Is Good is seeking his second Breeders’ Cup victory after securing a 5 3/4-length victory in last year’s Grade 1 Dirt Mile.
Along with Life Is Good, Pletcher saddles the two favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in Malathaat and Nest, both of whom produced strong campaigns in New York this year.
Top sophomore filly Nest, slightly favored over Malathaat in the prestigious nine-furlong event, arrives having already passed her first test against older company when dazzling with a 9 3/4-length romp in the Grade 2 Beldame on October 9 at Belmont at the Big A. Owned by Repole Stables, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House, Nest has not backed down from any challenge this year, including a strong second-place finish to stablemate Mo Donegal when taking on males in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in June at Belmont.
Nest’s impressive campaign includes Grade 1 victories in Keeneland’s Ashland and a pair of prestigious tests for sophomore fillies at the Spa in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama. Her two losses came in the Belmont Stakes and in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks where she finished second to Secret Oath.
Shadwell Stables’ Malathaat was last seen taking the Grade 1 Spinster on October 9 at Keeneland, where she is a perfect 3-for-3. Earlier this year, the reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly was a closing second to Clairiere in both the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and Grade 2 Shuvee at Saratoga, but found the winner’s circle once more with a half-length victory in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign in August at the Spa.
Pletcher’s other Breeders’ Cup contenders are 2020 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Happy Saver [Classic]; dual Grade 1-winner Forte [Juvenile], who captured the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa; Grade 1 Frizette victress Chocolate Gelato [Juvenile Fillies]; Grade 3 Pilgrim winner Major Dude [Juvenile Turf]; Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile winner Annapolis [Mile], who won the Grade 3 Saranac at the Spa and Manila at Belmont; and stakes-winners Atomically [Juvenile Fillies] and Lost Ark [Juvenile].
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has displayed dominance at the last 10 Breeders’ Cups with an impressive 15 total victories to his credit. The Mechanicville, N.Y. native will look to continue that trend with more than a dozen formidable contenders across the two days.
Brown’s top three dirt horses include last year’s Grade 1 Acorn winner Search Results [Distaff], Grade 1 Champagne winner Blazing Sevens and Grade 1 Ballerina winner Goodnight Olive [Filly and Mare Sprint]. Klaravich Stables’ Search Results was last seen finishing a game second to Malathaat in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at the Spa, and finished third to that same foe earlier in the year at the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont.
Blazing Sevens, owned by Rodeo Creek Racing, earned his place in the Grade 1 Juvenile with a win in the Champagne last out at Belmont at the Big A for his first graded victory. The son of Good Magic was previously third in the Grade 1 Hopeful over a sloppy and sealed main track at Saratoga, but handled the same track condition with ease in the Champagne.
Goodnight Olive, campaigned by First Row Partners and Team Hanley, boasts a near-perfect ledger of 6-5-1-0 and earnings just shy of $500,000. She burst into the Breeders’ Cup conversation with a cool 2 3/4-length triumph in the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 28 at the Spa to extend her win streak to 5-in-a-row. She is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Filly and Mare Sprint.
As usual, Brown has readied a strong hand in the turf divisions, led by the trio of Grade 1 winners Rougir and In Italian, along with Grade 2 winner Virginia Joy, in the Filly and Mare Turf. Brown’s other contenders include Regal Glory [Mile]; Free Look [Juvenile Fillies Turf]; Domestic Spending [Mile]; Pipeline [Dirt Mile], Raging Sea [Juvenile Fillies], I’m Very Busy [Juvenile Turf] and Oxymore [Juvenile Turf Sprint].
A closer look at NYRA-based trainers with starters at the Breeders’ Cup:
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen brings some of racing’s biggest heavy-hitters to the Breeders’ Cup this year as Epicenter [Classic], Jackie’s Warrior [Sprint], Clairiere [Distaff] and Gunite [Dirt Mile] all figure to be key players in their respective races. Asmussen will also saddle Echo Zulu [Filly and Mare Sprint], Wicked Halo [Filly and Mare Sprint], Society [Distaff], Grand Love [Juvenile Fillies] and Private Creed [Juvenile Turf Sprint] as he looks to build upon eight Breeders’ Cup scores.
Hall of Famer Mark Casse will vie for his sixth Breeders’ Cup win and first in the Juvenile Fillies with Wonder Wheel, who was a narrow winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades last out. The daughter of New York-bred mare Wonder Gal finished second in the Grade 1 Spinaway at the Spa. Casse will also send out Webslinger in the Juvenile Turf.
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey will saddle Pleasant Passage in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The daughter of More Than Ready earned a berth into the one-mile test with a victory in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo on October 1 at Belmont at the Big A. McGaughey will also send out Battle of Normandy in the Juvenile Turf.
Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott has readied a strong group, led by Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Olympiad in the Classic. Mott will also saddle Turf second-choice War Like Goddess, Cody’s Wish [Dirt Mile], Casa Creed [Turf Sprint], Elite Power [Sprint], Obligatory [Filly and Mare Sprint], Frank’s Rockette [Filly and Mare Sprint], American Rockette [Juvenile Fillies] and Channel Maker [Turf].
Two-time Eclipse Award-winner Brad Cox sends out two-time Grade 1-winner Cyberknife in the Dirt Mile, along with Caravel in the Turf Sprint, Lady Rocket in the Filly and Mare Sprint, Chop Chop in the Juvenile Fillies and Verifying in the Juvenile.
Six-time Breeders’ Cup-winning conditioner Wesley Ward looks to add to his impressive resume with Golden Pal, who will attempt to win a Breeders’ Cup event for the third year in a row in the Turf Sprint. Ward will also be represented by Arrest Me Red and Campanelle in the Turf Sprint, and by Kimari in the Sprint, Chi Town Lady in the Filly and Mare Sprint, and Love Reigns in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Rob Atras will start his first horse in a Breeders’ Cup race as Law Professor takes on the Dirt Mile. Law Professor, who won last year’s off-the-turf running of the Grade 2 Mathis Mile at Santa Anita, was last seen posting a game runner-up effort to Life Is Good in the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont at the Big A.
Mike Maker brings a diverse string of competitors this year with Red Knight [Turf], Artemus Citylimits [Turf Sprint], King Cause [Mile], Really Good [Juvenile Turf] and Gaslight Dancer [Juvenile Turf]. Maker has won three Breeders’ Cup events.
Horacio De Paz will make his first trip to the Breeders’ Cup with Be Your Best in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The daughter of Muhaarar was an impressive winner of the P.G. Johnson in September at Saratoga and finished third in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont.
Phil Serpe earned his first Grade 1 win in 29 years in this year’s Spinaway with Leave No Trace, who will look to give her conditioner his first Breeders’ Cup victory in the Juvenile Fillies. The Outwork filly arrives from a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Frizette in October at Belmont at the Big A.
Rudy Rodriguez is in search of his first Breeders’ Cup victory with his fifth starter as Hot Peppers contests the Filly and Mare Sprint after two stakes wins at Belmont this year in the Jersey Girl and Grade 3 Victory Ride. She finished second in the Spa’s Longines Test in her Grade 1 debut.
New York-based riders will feature prominently at the Breeders’ Cup:
Junior Alvarado: American Rockette [Juvenile Fillies], Cody’s Wish [Dirt Mile], Hot Peppers [Filly and Mare Sprint], Olympiad [Classic]
Javier Castellano: Ivar [Mile], Nautilus [Turf], Sterling Silver [Filly and Mare Sprint]
Dylan Davis: Webslinger [Juvenile Turf]
Manny Franco: Manhattan Jungle [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Nagirroc [Juvenile Turf]
Jose Lezcano: Battle of Normandy [Juvenile Turf], Leave No Trace [Juvenile Fillies]
Irad Ortiz, Jr.: Annapolis [Mile], Broome [Turf], Chocolate Gelato [Juvenile Fillies], Elite Power [Sprint], Forte [Juvenile], Golden Pal [Turf Sprint], Goodnight Olive [Filly and Mare Sprint], Laurel River [Dirt Mile], Life Is Good [Classic], Love Reigns [Juvenile Turf Sprint], Major Dude [Juvenile Turf], Nest [Distaff], Pleasant Passage [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Virginia Joy [Filly and Mare Turf]
Jose Ortiz: Be Your Best [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Channel Maker [Turf], Congruent [Juvenile], Kimari [Sprint], Law Professor [Dirt Mile], Obligatory [Filly and Mare Sprint], Oxymore [Juvenile Turf Sprint], Regal Glory [Mile], Vegas Magic [Juvenile Fillies]
Flavien Prat: Blazing Sevens [Juvenile], C Z Rocket [Sprint], Cazadero [Turf Sprint], Chi Town Lady [Filly and Mare Sprint], Domestic Spending [Mile], Flightline [Classic], Free Look [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Golden Phoenix [Turf], I’m Very Busy [Juvenile Turf], Pipeline [Dirt Mile], Raging Sea [Juvenile Fillies], Rougir [Filly and Mare Turf], Search Results [Distaff], Speed Boat Beach [Juvenile Turf Sprint]
Joel Rosario: Andthewinneris [Juvenile Turf], Cairo Consort [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Chop Chop [Juvenile Fillies], Clairiere [Distaff], Epicenter [Classic], In Italian [Filly and Mare Turf], Jackie’s Warrior [Sprint], Lady Rocket [Filly and Mare Sprint], Private Creed [Juvenile Turf Sprint], Verifying [Juvenile], War Like Goddess [Turf]
Luis Saez: Aloha West [Sprint], Atomically [Juvenile Fillies], Casa Creed [Turf Sprint], Delight [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Frank’s Rockette [Filly and Mare Sprint], Lady Speightspeare [Filly and Mare Turf], Lost Ark [Juvenile], Really Good [Juvenile Turf], Red Knight [Turf], Secret Oath [Distaff], Shirl’s Speight [Mile], Simplification [Dirt Mile]
John Velazquez: Above the Curve [Filly and Mare Turf], Arrest Me Red [Turf Sprint], Basil Martini [Juvenile Fillies Turf], Happy Saver [Classic], Highland Chief [Turf], Malathaat [Distaff], National Treasure [Juvenile], Smooth Like Strait [Mile], You’re My Girl [Juvenile Fillies]
A total of 15 Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge races were contested at NYRA tracks in 2022:
TRACK – DATE – RACE – WINNER – WAYI
Belmont Park, June 11 – Jaipur – Casa Creed [Turf Sprint]
Belmont Park, June 11 – Ogden Phipps – Clairiere [Distaff]
Belmont Park, June 11 – Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap – Flightline [Dirt Mile]
Saratoga, August 6 – Whitney – Life Is Good [Classic]
Saratoga, August 13 – Fourstardave Handicap – Casa Creed [Mile]
Saratoga, August 27 – Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Invitational – Gufo [Turf]
Saratoga, August 28 – Ballerina – Goodnight Olive [Filly & Mare Sprint]
Saratoga, September 3 – Jockey Club Gold Cup – Olympiad [Classic]
Saratoga, September 3 – Flower Bowl Invitational – Virginia Joy [Filly and Mare Turf]
Belmont at the Big A, October 1 – Champagne – Blazing Sevens [Juvenile]
Belmont at the Big A, October 1 – Miss Grillo – Pleasant Passage [Juvenile Fillies Turf]
Belmont at the Big A, October 2 – Frizette – Chocolate Gelato [Juvenile Fillies]
Belmont at the Big A, October 2 – Pilgrim – Major Dude [Juvenile Turf]
Belmont at the Big A – October 8 – Vosburgh – Elite Power [Sprint]
Belmont at the Big A, October 9 – Futurity – Nagirroc [Juvenile Turf Sprint]
All Breeders’ Cup races will be available for wagering on NYRABets.com, including multi-race options on both days.
Race order for “Future Stars Friday” will start with the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint [3 p.m. Eastern] followed by the $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies [3:40 p.m.]; the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf [4:20 p.m.]; the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance [5 p.m.] and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf [5:40 p.m.].
Championship Saturday begins with two undercard races followed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint [11:50 a.m.]; the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint [12:29 p.m.]; the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile [1:10 p.m.]; the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf [1:50 p.m.]; the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint [2:30 p.m.]; the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF [3:10 p.m.]; the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff [3:55 p.m.]; the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf [4:40 p.m.] and the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic [5:40 p.m.].
For more information on the Aqueduct fall meet, visit NYRA.com.