A Toronado Fan in America

August 20, 2013 10:27am
Toronado 615 X 400
Photo: Steven Cargill


Dan Munn is not the only one geeked up for Wednesday’s Juddmonte International. The showdown at York looks to be one of the races of the year, and with my favorite international horse, Toronado, testing uncharted territories, the English race has my full attention. I must say it’s nice to have this much anticipation for a race that will be run Wednesday morning for all of us here in the States, and it’s the main players that have me so excited to see them put the hooves to the turf.

Toronado has been called the best horse top jockey, Richard Hughes, has ever ridden. High praise indeed by a rider not far removed from the brilliance of Canford Cliffs. The High Chaparral colt took a big step in justifying that lofty bit of praise when he soared to victory late in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. In defeating star miler Dawn Approach that day, in thrilling fashion, the powerhouse colt avenged his only two defeats. While a fourth place finish in the English Two Thousand Guineas was a disappointing way to have his perfect record ruined, his narrow defeat in the St. James’s Palace was proof to yours truly that he was for real. Getting pushed sideways at a key point in the Royal Ascot affair was more than enough for me to believe he was best in that one, so it came to no surprise when the Richard Hannon trained star kicked it into high gear late to sweep to his first group 1 victory last time.

As much as I like Toronado, I realize the International will be anything but easy. A winner of 5-of-7 lifetime, he is only a three-year-old. While he did beat older in the Sussex, the competition gets even tougher on Wednesday. Considering his pedigree, I expect ten furlongs plus to be well within his scope, but as of now, he has never been farther than a mile. While proven top class at that distance, it is asking plenty for his first try at 1 ¼ miles plus to come against horses of the quality he will see at York. He will need to be every bit the special type I believe him to be to win on Wednesday.

If Toronado is to get the job done in this major test, he will have done at the expense of the most consistent ten furlong horse in the world this year, Al Kazeem. A 5-year-old son of Dubawi, Al Kazeem missed most of last year after looking like a good thing in winning last May. Returning to the races early this year, Al Kazeem has been perfect in 2013. So perfect if fact that he has scored in three consecutive group 1 races, the Tattersall’s Gold Cup, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes. All of which came at a distance of at least ten furlongs. Al Kazeem is the deserving early favorite of the Juddmonte International

If the top two aren’t enough, perhaps Trading Leather strikes your fancy. An always promising son of Teofilo, Trading Leather has taken things up a notch since stretching out to twelve furlongs in his latest pair. An impressive win in the Irish Derby was validated with a strong run in his first try against older. He didn’t threaten the highly regarded Novellist that day, but his second place finish in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes demonstrated his ability and form.


The classy field is rounded out by two more colts of high quality in Declaration of War and Hillstar, while Rewarded looks like the only outsider. I like Toronado … who do you like? 


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Older Comments about A Toronado Fan in America...

That's what I get for actually listening to a jockey for once. Ah well, what a shocker. Declaration of War won, Trading Leather got 2nd, and Al Kazeem was 3rd. Toronado was at the very back. I think Hughes was just too besotted with this horse this time to really know its limits, but what a shocker that DoW could run so well having been run so much this season and so soon after that last race!
Eh, I dunno that Toronado will do *that* poorly here. And I think Declaration of War might struggle a bit - too soon after his last big race in Deauville.
1st-Al Kazeem 2nd-Trading Leather 3rd-Declaration of War 4th-Toronado/Hillstar??
My pick is Trading Leather. Beautiful horse.
@ILuvTurfRacing, I agree
I find it a bit strange the press is making the race almost exclusively about Al Kazeem and Toronado? Especially since staying 10-1/2f is a total unknown for Toronado, and in the field you've got the Irish Derby 1st and King George 2nd in Trading Leather who you know will stay. Also the King Edward VII 1st and King George 3rd Hillstar who will also get the trip, and Declaration of War who ran 2nd to Al Kazeem at 10f in the Coral-Eclipse. This race is much more than a 2-horse race, IMO.
I will go with Al Kazeem. But I am sososososo excited to see Toronado at 1 5/16
i can't wait for this race, it is going to one great match up.
picked Toronado at Royal Ascot and stuck with him at Goodwood This time I think Al Kazeem has it but not by much Will be an exciting Wed morning for sure
Oops meant to post comment here: Big fan of both and having to choose one, at this distance, I give the edge to Al Kazeem.

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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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