Golden Horn, Legatissimo, and Esoterique: Europe’s Finest

October 24, 2015 01:13pm
Legatissimo Matron 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Pre-entries for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup were announced today, and the lists are littered with a strong influence of accomplished horses from across the pond. In each of the five turf races longer than the sprint, the Americans will have their hands full with the international contingent. Of the plethora of talented Europeans coming over for the World Championships, Golden Horn, Legatissimo, and Esoterique are among the very best, and likely rate the greatest chance to deny the home team a victory in each of their respective Breeders’ Cup races.

Golden Horn will undoubtedly be named Europe’s Horse of the Year for the 2015 racing season, and he’s well earned the honor. Sporting a near flawless lifetime record of 8-7-1-0, the son of Cape Cross comes to the Breeders’ Cup Turf fresh off the most important victory of his career. Defeating older horses for the third time in four tries, Golden Horn demonstrated his explosive turn of foot to a capacity Parisian crowd, that stranded the best turf field that will be assembled this year, without an answer. The sensational win in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, for the John Gosden trained superstar, capped an enormous year, in which he also accounted for five other stakes including a trio of Group 1 races in the Epsom Derby, Coral-Eclipse, and Irish Champion Stakes. With his championship season already assured, the three-year-old colt now comes to America looking to frost the cake. On his best, Golden Horn is the clear cut horse to beat in the Turf, and to further illustrate his class, only American Pharoah might have a stronger claim to Horse of the World for 2015.

Legatissimo (pictured above) is also a three-year-old, and like the Arc winner, she is already well proven against older competition. Trained by David Wachman, the daughter of Danehill Dancer also brings career best form to her initial try in the United States. The assignment for her will be the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and off her last two, she will likely go favored at Keeneland against a deep international field.

A winner of 5-of-10 lifetime, Legatissimo first rose to prominence when she defeated 12 other three-year-old fillies in the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas this spring. After a pair of solid second place finishes, which verified her high class, in the Group 1 English Oaks and the Group 1 Pretty Polly, she busted out with two important victories against older mares in a pair of Group 1 races. Here she is most recently showing her heels to a strong Matron Stakes field in Ireland. Esoterique comes into the Breeders’ Cup Mile on a roll for famed French trainer, Andre Fabre. Also a daughter of Danehill Dancer, Esoterique is a much more seasoned horse than the two European stars just above her. Always a mare of high quality since her career debut 2 ½ years ago, she may have scored her most impressive victory to date in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August. On that afternoon, she powered home much the best over a strong field of males. Since that big win, Esoterique prepped for her Breeders’ Cup Mile test with a professional victory in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 3. The pair of wins, not to mention an excellent second to Solow at Ascot, point her out as clearly one of the ones to beat at Keeneland, in hopes of adding her name to the impressive roll call of European females to come to America and find success in the Mile. Interestingly, her toughest competition on Halloween could come from another female, in the American star, Tepin.


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Meet Brian Zipse

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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