As the 2020 Breeders’ Cup approaches, “Win and You’re In” berths are up for grabs ahead of the Nov. 6-7 championships at Keeneland. This weekly series from Horse Racing Nation highlights upcoming Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, recaps recent stakes and shows how the fields for each division are shaping up.
The busiest weekend of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is upon us. From Friday through Sunday, 16 “Win and You’re In” races will take place between Belmont Park, Keeneland, ParisLongchamp and Pimlico. Recent Kentucky Derby hero Authentic, Eclipse Award winner Uni and European superstar Enable are among the standouts in action.
Upcoming Challenge Series races
Alcibiades, Keeneland, Friday, juvenile fillies
Thoughtfully, who already is a graded stakes heroine, looks to improve to 3-for-3 lifetime Friday in the $350,000, Grade 1 Alcibiades.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Thoughtfully was a $950,000 purchase last August at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. She won on debut at Churchill Downs, then took Saratoga’s Adirondack Stakes (G2) in August under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., who stays aboard here.
One day before saddling filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness Stakes, trainer Kenny McPeek has a trio of freshman females entered for the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades. His runners Crazy Beautiful and Simply Ravishing both have won stakes and look to make the grade Friday.
Phoenix, Keeneland, Friday, sprint
Diamond Oops, last out winner of Churchill Downs’ Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2), switches to the main track Friday for the $200,000 Phoenix Stakes (G2).
Patrick Biancone trains Diamond Oops, a graded stakes winner on both dirt and turf. Jockey Florent Geroux, who piloted the 5-year-old to his Churchill win in September, stays aboard for this six-furlong sprint.
Grade 1 winner Whitmore looks for a bounce-back here after finishing seventh in Saratoga’s Forego Stakes (G1) in August. Echo Town and No Parole, both of whom beat fellow 3-year-olds this summer in Grade 1 sprints in New York, take on older runners in the Phoenix.
Thoroughbred Club of America, Keeneland, Saturday, filly and mare sprint
Sneaking Out carries the momentum of back-to-back graded stakes victories into Saturday’s $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2).
The 4-year-old comes East after taking the Great Lady M Stakes (G2) in July at Los Alamitos and the Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) in August at Del Mar. Southern California rider Umberto Rispoli has the mount on the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee.
Palace Avenger also enters the TCA on a two-race winning streak, taking a pair of allowance races this summer at Saratoga. Inthemidstofbiz makes a first start in graded company off an August victory in the Satin and Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.
First Lady, Keeneland, Saturday, filly and mare turf
Uni, the Eclipse Award 2019 Champion Turf Female, aims to win the $350,000 First Lady (G1) on Saturday for a second straight year.
Trained by Chad Brown, Uni has run twice this year and is still looking for a first win during her 6-year-old season. Joel Rosario will pilot the champion of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Brown also will saddle Newspaperofrecord, who took the second Grade 1 win of her career this June in Belmont Park’s Just a Game. She ran second last out in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) to Beau Recall, who seeks a first Grade 1 score in the one-mile First Lady.
Shadwell Turf Mile, Keeneland, Saturday, mile
Halladay claimed a Breeders’ Cup Mile “Win and You’re In” berth in August at Saratoga in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1). He runs Saturday in the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) over the same Keeneland lawn that will host November’s championships.
Todd Pletcher trains Halladay, who has won three of his last four starts. Jockey Luis Saez, who piloted the 4-year-old to his Fourstardave win, stays aboard here.
Bowies Hero aims to repeat a 2019 Shadwell Turf Mile title, though he is winless in four starts since. Parlor was a neck short of winning at this distance and over this course in July’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) and is entered here.
Breeders’ Futurity, Keeneland, Saturday, juvenile
Essential Quality, an impressive debut winner on the Kentucky Derby undercard, looks to take a second straight running of the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for owner/breeder Godolphin. The operation won this 1 1/16-mile stakes last October with Maxfield.
Brad Cox trains Essential Quality, who thumped maiden special weight foes by four lengths in September at Churchill Downs. Saez gets the call Saturday.
Asmussen has a pair of juveniles entered in Calibrate and Super Stock. The former won on debut at Saratoga in August, while the latter ran third last month at Churchill in the Iroquois Stakes (G3).
Belmont Derby, Belmont Park, Saturday, turf
Domestic Spending, who beat Gufo by a head in August’s Saratoga Derby Invitational, battles that rival and seven others Saturday in the $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1).
Chad Brown trains Domestic Spending, who sports a 3-for-4 mark for owner Klaravich Stables. Jockey Javier Castellano gets the call in this 1 1/4-mile turf trip for 3-year-olds.
Well-traveled Pixelate already has run at eight tracks and makes his second career start at Belmont off a September win in the Del Mar Derby (G2). South Bend, last seen running a distant 15th in the Kentucky Derby, returns to the lawn for the Belmont Derby.
Preakness Stakes, Pimlico, Saturday, Classic
The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans will for the first time deliver its champion a fees-paid Breeders’ Cup berth. Eleven 3-year-olds are entered for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, with the winner earning a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
2020 Kentucky Derby champ Authentic is 9-5 on the morning line for the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown series. Jockey John Velazquez will pilot the Bob Baffert trainee, who already won a Classic division “Win and You’re In” race when taking Monmouth Park’s Haskell Stakes (G1) in July.
Blue Grass Stakes (G2) hero Art Collector is the second betting choice for trainer Tommy Drury Jr., at 5-2. Authentic’s stablemate Thousand Words is 6-1 on the morning line, as is Alabama Stakes (G1) winner Swiss Skydiver.
Prix de L'Abbaye de Longchamp, ParisLongchamp, Sunday, turf sprint
Battaash, hero of the 2017 Prix de L’Abbaye de Longchamp (G1), contests this sprint for a fourth time Sunday. Charlie Hills trains the 6-year-old, who enters on the momentum of three straight victories, including in August at York in the Nunthorpe Stakes (G1).
Filly Glass Slippers figures to be Battaash’s chief competition. She took the 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye de Longchamp and was a winner last month at the Curragh in the Flying Five Stakes (G1).
Prix de L’Opera, ParisLongchamp, Sunday, filly and mare turf
Fancy Blue, who won back-to-back Group 1 events in July, aims for a third top-level score Sunday in the Prix de L’Opera, going 1 1/4 miles. Trained by Donnacha O’Brien, the 3-year-old was third last month at Leopardstown in the Matron Stakes (G1).
Alpine Star beat 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Sharing in June at Royal Ascot in the Coronation Stakes (G1) and is probable for the Prix de L’Opera. She has run second in a pair of Group 1 events since that victory.
Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, ParisLongchamp, Sunday, turf
Brilliant mare Enable seeks an unprecedented third triumph in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (G1) on Sunday for trainer John Gosden. The 6-year-old won this event in 2017 and ’18 but was second to Waldgeist last October.
Rising 3-year-old star Serpentine, hero of the Epsom Derby (G1), leads the charge in trying to deny Enable her third Arc. And 6-year-old Stradivarius, the second betting choice, was runner-up in the Qatar Prix Foy (G2) last out after two Group 1 wins.
Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, ParisLongchamp, Sunday, juvenile turf
Nando Parrado, who upset the Coventry Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot as a 150-1 bomb, looks for a second stakes win in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) for trainer Clive Cox. He was runner-up in August at Deauville in the Prix Morny (G1).
Other potential runners include Gosden trainee Megallan and Aidan O’Brien runners St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley.
Prix Marcel Boussac, ParisLongchamp, Sunday, juvenile fillies turf
Fev Rover, a Group 2 winner in August at Deauville, tries for a first Group 1 score Sunday in the Prix Marcel Boussac. Richard Fahey trains the filly, who enters on a two-race win streak.
Aidan O’Brien has two Group 3 winners probable for the Prix Marcel Boussac in Divinely and Mother Earth.
Bourbon, Keeneland, Sunday, juvenile turf
Mutasaabeq, an impressive debut winner in August over Saratoga’s main track, switches surfaces here for the $200,000 Bourbon Stakes (G2).
Trained by Pletcher, Mutasaabeq ran third last month behind Jackie’s Warrior and Reinvestment Risk in his second start, Saratoga’s Hopeful Stakes (G1). The Into Mischief colt is one of seven juveniles probable for the Bourbon, going 1 1/16 miles over the Keeneland lawn.
Four stakes winners make their first attempts at graded company Sunday. Barrister Tom and Outadore won added-money events at Kentucky Downs, Big Fish at Del Mar and Fire At Will at Saratoga.
Spinster, Keeneland, Sunday, distaff
Kentucky Oaks upset winner Shedaresthedevil takes on older fillies and mares as one of six runners probable for the $400,000 Spinster Stakes (G1). Trained by Cox, the 3-year-old has won three straight starts, including an upset of Gamine and Swiss Skydiver in the Oaks.
Ollie’s Candy makes her fifth Grade 1 start of 2020. She did not win any of her first four races this year, but she also did not finish worse than third in any of them.
Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Spinster was supposed to feature Midnight Bisou, the Eclipse Award 2019 Champion Older Dirt Female. However, she was retired Wednesday after sustaining an injury.
Indian Summer, Keeneland, Sunday, juvenile turf sprint
Trainer Wesley Ward has four of the five 2-year-olds listed as probable for Sunday’s $150,000 Indian Summer Stakes.
Ward’s Golden Pal took Saratoga’s Skidmore Stakes in August, two months after going to Royal Ascot and running second in the Norfolk Stakes (G2).
The Keeneland-based Ward also has After Five, Roderick and Royal Approval probable for the Indian Summer, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint. He took this race last year with Kimari.
Recent Challenge Series races
Rockfel Stakes, Newmarket, juvenile fillies turf
Isabella Giles comfortably won the Rockfel Stakes (G2) on Friday at Newmarket, her second straight seven-furlong triumph in group company.
The Belardo filly took on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Monday early in the race and found herself in front. She flew on to a two-length win, trainer Clive Cox’s first in the Rockfel.
“We’ll see how she comes out of this race before committing to any targets,” Cox said of Isabella Giles’ future plans. “She takes her racing really well, but she’s a filly for next year.”
Royal Lodge Stakes, Newmarket, juvenile turf
Jockey Frankie Dettori scored a sixth victory in the Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) thanks to New Mandate. In addition to a Breeders’ Cup berth, Saturday’s win earned the son of New Bay 10 points on the European Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
New Mandate is a gelding and is thus ineligible for a number of upcoming Group 1 events in the United Kingdom. The Breeders’ Cup has no such restrictions and could be an attractive spot for trainer Ralph Beckett.
“I think if he got beat (in the Royal Lodge), I wouldn’t be so positive about going, but now he’s done that (so) we’ll certainly think about it,” Beckett said.
Speakeasy Stakes, Santa Anita, juvenile turf sprint
Filly Amanzi Yimpilo hit the wire just ahead of a late-charging Wyfire on Saturday to take the Speakeasy. The 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint ran a week later than scheduled after Santa Anita postponed its opening weekend because of a local wildfire.
Wesley Ward trains Amanzi Yimpilo, who won the Speakeasy under jockey Luis Saez in her third start. She debuted a winner at Gulfstream Park on June 10 before running third Aug. 19 at Saratoga in the Bolton Landing Stakes.
“I could feel the power,” said Saez, who was at Santa Anita to ride Maximum Security. “She just broke very well and sat in a great spot, which was the spot I was thinking to be in. When we came down the stretch, she fought — she was a fighter and we got there.”
Amanzi Yimpilo is Ward’s second runner this season to clinch a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint berth. Ward won the event last year with Four Wheel Drive.
The Vosburgh, Belmont Park, sprint
Firenze Fire bounced back from an 11th-place finish Aug. 29 in Saratoga’s Forego Stakes (G1) by taking Belmont’s Vosburgh (G2) on Saturday.
The 5-year-old Firenze Fire has notched seven of his 12 career wins in graded stakes company and has won five starts at Belmont. Under jockey Jose Lezcano, he took the six-furlong Vosburgh by 2 3/4 lengths over runner-up Funny Guy.
“You can put a line through his last race, and he really performed today,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “He loves Belmont. We'll have to get him as used to Keeneland as he is to Belmont. I'll bring a couple of buckets from here and put it down the Keeneland stretch and bring our track to Keeneland. He's doing great. He looked great today, and we're on to the Breeders' Cup (Sprint)."
Firenze Fire is a three-time Breeders’ Cup participant. He ran seventh in the 2017 Juvenile, fourth in the 2018 Dirt Mile and fifth in the 2019 Sprint.
Rodeo Drive Stakes, Santa Anita, filly and mare turf
California-bred filly Mucho Unusual defended her home turf Saturday by winning the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1). The victory snapped an eight-race winless streak for the 4-year-old.
Jockey Juan Hernandez scored his first career Grade 1 victory aboard Mucho Unusual and did so in front-running fashion.
“My filly ran very sharp and she was really comfortable in the race,” Hernandez said. “They let me go to the lead easily, so I took it, and then the rest of the race the filly did by herself. She’s a really nice filly. When I asked her to run at the stretch, she responded really well.”
Mucho Unusual earned trainer Tim Yakteen his third career Grade 1 triumph.
American Pharoah Stakes, Santa Anita, juvenile
After making his first two starts on the lawn, Get Her Number shifted to the main track for the American Pharoah (G1) and punched a Breeders’ Cup ticket.
Get Her Number stalked long-shot pace setter Dyn O Mite before taking over through the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. Jockey Flavien Prat piloted the Peter Miller trainee to a length win over Rombauer.
“We wanted to see how the horse could do in the grass, so we decided to give that a shot,” assistant trainer Ruben Alvarado said. “There wasn’t anything too quick for him on the turf. We had to take close to a month before coming back to this race. We went back to the dirt and gave him a couple workouts that went well, so we decided let’s do it and see if we get lucky or not.”
Prat won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile aboard Storm the Court.
Sent off as a 1-5 favorite, Princess Noor made her move through the second turn of the 1 1/16-mile Chandelier. She romped under jockey Victor Espinoza to an 8 1/4-length score.
“She reminds me of other great horses I used to ride like American Pharoah and California Chrome,” Espinoza said. “The talent is there.”
Princess Noor improved to 3-for-3 and already has a pair of graded stakes victories, having also won the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on Sept. 6. She was a $1.35 million purchase in April at Ocala.
Awesome Again Stakes, Santa Anita, Classic
Improbable established himself as the runner atop the Older Dirt Male division Saturday when soundly beating stablemate Maximum Security in the Awesome Again (G1).
The 4-year-old now has won three straight Grade 1 events for Baffert. He scored a 4 1/2-length, last-to-first win Saturday under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
“He seems to be better in the gate here, (so) that’s why we ran him here,” Baffert said of Improbable, who can be impatient in the gates. “I hate to see my horses have to beat the other horse … but today it was all about Improbable.”
Improbable can now count By My Standards, Code of Honor, Maximum Security and Tom’s d’Etat among potential Breeders’ Cup Classic rivals he has defeated in 2020.
Grande Premio Brasil, Hipodromo da Gavea, turf
Pimper’s Paradise powered down the stretch from seventh place to win Sunday’s 1 1/2-mile Grande Premio Brasil (G1) in Rio De Janeiro by 1 1/2 lengths over Olympic Impact.
The 5-year-old by Put it Back completed the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26.64 for trainer Venancio Nahid.
Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Santa Anita, sprint
C Z Rocket won a thrilling edition of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) on Sunday, finishing a head clear of rival Flagstaff.
The 6-year-old has now won five straight races for Miller since he was claimed this spring at Oaklawn Park. Saez booted him to victory Sunday.
“It was the owner, Tom Kagele, who picked the horse,” Miller recalled of C Z Rocket’s April claim. “I wouldn’t have picked him, his form was too bad to claim him, but I did like that he had run some fast races in the past. We thought if we could get him back into that form, he could be a very nice horse. You never think you’re going to claim one and win a Grade (2) with them.”
C Z Rocket also clinched a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile berth when winning Del Mar’s Pat O’ Brien Stakes (G2) on Aug. 29. Miller said he is leaning toward entering the gelding in the Sprint.
Zenyatta Stakes, Santa Anita, distaff
Harvest Moon, the lone 3-year-old facing a trio of older fillies and mares Sunday, clinched a Breeders’ Cup berth by winning the Zenyatta Stakes (G2).
Under Prat, Harvest Moon glided by heavy favorite Fighting Mad and then hit the wire ahead of a late-running Hard Not to Love. The Uncle Mo filly carried 118 pounds compared to Grade 1 winner Fighting Mad’s 126.
“You never know with a 3-year-old against older, but we got eight pounds, so that was good,” Prat said. “It turned out this was a good distance (1 1/16 miles) for my filly and she really ran well.”
Simon Callaghan trains Harvest Moon, who did not debut until June. Since running third in her first outing, she has won four straight races, including two in graded stakes.
Challenge Series race winners
Authentic, Haskell Stakes, Monmouth Park, July 18
Authentic’s win in the Haskell (G1) made him the first runner from the barn of Bob Baffert — a 15-time Breeders’ Cup winner — to clinch a berth in the 2020 Championships. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt then scored an even bigger victory Sept. 5 when taking the 2020 Kentucky Derby in front-running fashion. Now 5-for-6 in his career, Authentic is 9-5 on the morning line Saturday at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes. The 3-year-old is No. 5 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings.
Ghaiyyath, International Stakes, York, Aug. 19
Ghaiyyath made it 3-for-3 during his 5-year-old season when leading at every call of the International (G1). The Irish-bred son of Dubawi then took his first loss Sept. 12 when second to Magical in the Irish Champions Stakes (G1). Trainer Charlie Appleby said the Breeders’ Cup Turf would be Ghaiyyath’s most likely race if he traveled this fall to Keeneland.
Improbable, Whitney, Saratoga, Aug. 1; Awesome Again Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 26
Improbable shipped East from Baffert’s California base for the Whitney (G1) and proved best in a field of five millionaires. The Kentucky-bred son of City Zip followed that victory by coming home and finishing 4 1/2 lengths clear of stablemate Maximum Security in the Awesome Again (G1). Improbable has won three straight races, all in Grade 1 flight, and sits at No. 1 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings.
Maximum Security, Pacific Classic, Del Mar, Aug. 22
Maximum Security became the third Baffert trainee to clinch a Breeders’ Cup Classic berth when going gate-to-wire in the Pacific Classic (G1). The 4-year-old New Year’s Day colt then took his first loss since June 2019 when running a well-beaten second in the Awesome Again to stablemate Improbable. The Kentucky-bred fell to No. 2 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings after Saturday’s defeat.
Mozu Ascot, February Stakes, Tokyo Racecourse, Feb. 23
A Kentucky-bred son of Frankel, 6-year-old Mozu Ascot is a two-time Group 1 winner in Japan, including his February Stakes victory. The Yoshito Yahagi trainee last finished sixth May 5 at Funabashi in the Kashiwa Kinen.
Tom’s d’Etat, Stephen Foster, Churchill Downs, June 27
7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat was a dominant winner of the Stephen Foster (G2) for trainer Al Stall Jr. but saw a four-race winning streak snapped Aug. 1 in the Whitney (G1). The Kentucky-bred Smart Strike horse went off favored at Saratoga but stumbled at the start and finished third to Improbable and By My Standards. Tom’s d’Etat is No. 3 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings and is working at Churchill.
Other potential Classic contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Art Collector, Benbatl, By My Standards, Code of Honor, Global Campaign, Midcourt, Midnight Bisou, Tacitus, Tiz the Law, War of Will.
C Z Rocket, Pat O’Brien Stakes, Del Mar, Aug. 29
Former claimer C Z Rocket improved to 4-for-4 under trainer Peter Miller when winning the Pat O’Brien (G2). The Florida-bred 6-year-old then made it five straight wins Sunday at Santa Anita when taking the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). Miller is leaning toward running the gelding in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint rather than the Dirt Mile.
Vekoma, Metropolitan Handicap, Belmont Park, July 4
One race after stamping a Breeders’ Cup Sprint “Win and You’re In” ticket by taking Belmont’s Carter Handicap (G1), Vekoma won the Met Mile (G1) to also earn a Dirt Mile berth. Trainer George Weaver and owners will have to choose which way to go with the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt. Vekoma is working at Saratoga.
Other potential Dirt Mile contenders (accordng to the Breeders’ Cup website): Bourbon Calling, Complexity, Echo Town, Midcourt, Midnight Sands, Mr. Money, No Parole, Pirate’s Punch, Rushie, Sharp Samurai, Whitmore.
Fighting Mad, Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, Del Mar, Aug. 1
Fighting Mad scored the first Grade 1 win of her career in the Clement L. Hirsch. The 4-year-old returned with a disappointing third-place finish Sunday at Santa Anita in the Zenyatta Stakes (G2). The Kentucky-bred filly shares the same trainer (Baffert), owners/breeders (Gary and Mary West) and sire (New Year’s Day) as Maximum Security.
Harvest Moon, Zenyatta Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 27
Uncle Mo filly Harvest Moon faced older female runners for the first time Sunday in the Zenyatta Stakes and came away a winner. Simon Callaghan trains the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old who has won four straight races, including a pair of graded stakes.
Midnight Bisou, Fleur de Lis, Churchill Downs, June 27
Midnight Bisou’s Fleur de Lis (G2) win proved to be the last victory of her career. The 5-year-old Midnight Lute mare was retired Wednesday after sustaining an injury. Trained by Steve Asmussen, she was named Eclipse Award 2019 Champion Older Dirt Female. Midnight Bisou finished her career with a 22: 13-6-3 record, five Grade 1 triumphs and more than $7.4 million earned.
She’s a Julie, Ogden Phipps Stakes, Belmont Park, June 13
Asmussen trainee She’s a Julie became a two-time Grade 1 winner with her Ogden Phipps victory. The 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Elusive Quality mare has followed that victory with two off-the-board finishes, including Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs in the La Troienne Stakes (G1).
Swiss Skydiver, Alabama, Saratoga, Aug. 15
Swiss Skydiver became the first 3-year-old to clinch a Breeders’ Cup Distaff berth with her Alabama (G1) triumph. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Daredevil has tallied four graded stakes victories this year for trainer Kenny McPeek, all at different tracks. The Kentucky Oaks runner-up is 6-1 on the morning line Saturday for the Preakness, her second race this year against male runners.
Vexatious, Personal Ensign, Saratoga, Aug. 1
Vexatious, a 6-year-old Jack Sisterson trainee, broke through with her biggest win Aug. 1 when beating Midnight Bisou to the wire in the Personal Ensign (G1). The Giant’s Causeway mare posted a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in that victory, the best number a female runner has tallied this season in a main track race going more than a mile. She finished a disappointing fifth in the La Troienne.
Other potential Distaff contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Ce Ce, Horologist, Letruska, Monomoy Girl, Ollie’s Candy, Shedaresthedevil, Speech.
Filly and Mare Sprint
Serengeti Empress, Ballerina Stakes, Saratoga, Aug. 8
Tom Amoss trainee Serengeti Empress set blazing fractions, then dug in gamely to win the Ballerina (G1). The Kentucky-bred, 4-year-old Alternation filly is now a Grade 1 winner at both one and two turns, having also won the 2019 Kentucky Oaks. She put forth another valiant effort Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in the Derby City Distaff (G1) but lost a head bob to Bell’s the One. She is working at Churchill.
Other potential Filly and Mare Sprint contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Bell’s the One, Bellafina, Come Dancing, Four Graces, Gamine, Venetian Harbor.
Filly and Mare Turf
Almond Eye, Victoria Mile, Tokyo Racecourse, May 17
Sakae Kunieda trains the Japanese-bred Almond Eye, a 5-year-old Lord Kanaloa mare. A Group 1 winner in both Japan and the United Arab Emirates, she was second last out at Tokyo on June 7 in the Yasuda Kinen (G1).
Champers Elysees, Matron Stakes, Leopardstown, Sept. 12
Champers Elysees earned trainer Johnny Murtagh a trip to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup when taking the Matron Stakes (G1). The 3-year-old Elzaam filly is undefeated in four starts this season. Bred in Ireland, Champers Elysees could run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile rather than the Filly and Mare Turf.
Love, Yorkshire Oaks, York, Aug. 20
Aidan O’Brien trainee Love scored her third consecutive Group 1 win in the Yorkshire Oaks. O'Brien decided against running the Irish-bred, 3-year-old Galileo filly in Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (G1).
Mucho Unusual, Rodeo Drive Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 26
Mucho Unusual became the first California-bred runner to win a 2020 Challenge Series race when leading at every call of the Rodeo Drive (G1). Tim Yakteen trains the 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man filly.
Queen Supreme, Cartier Paddock Stakes, Kenilworth, Jan. 11
Irish-bred Queen Supreme is a 4-year-old Exceed and Excel filly trained by Mike de Kock.
Other potential Filly and Mare Turf contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Alpine Star, Audarya, Beau Recall, Bodhicitta, Cayenne Pepper, Fancy Blue, Magic Attitude, Mean Mary, Newspaperofrecord, Rushing Fall, Sistercharlie, Tarnawa.
Get Her Number, American Pharoah Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 26
In his first start on dirt, Kentucky-bred Get Her Number became a Grade 1 winner when taking the American Pharoah. Miller trains the Dialed In colt, who was a modest $45,000 auction purchase earlier this year.
Sittin On Go, Iroquois Stakes, Churchill Downs, Sept. 5
Sittin On Go became the first 2-year-old to clinch a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile berth when upsetting the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at 24-1 odds for trainer Dale Romans. The Kentucky-bred son of Brody’s Cause is 2-for-2, having also won on debut Aug. 16 at Ellis Park.
Other potential Juvenile contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Calibrate, Jackie’s Warrior, Notary, Ram, Weston.
Girl Daddy, Pocahontas Stakes, Churchill Downs, Sept. 3
Uncle Mo filly Girl Daddy clinched the first Juvenile Fillies division “Win and You’re In” berth when taking the Pocahontas Stakes (G3). Romans trains the Kentucky-bred 2-year-old, who is unbeaten in two starts.
Princess Noor, Chandelier Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 26
Jockey Victor Espinoza compared Princess Noor to his legendary mounts American Pharoah and California Chrome after she dominated the Chandelier (G2). The Kentucky-bred Not This Time filly runs for Baffert.
Other potential Juvenile Fillies contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Cantata, My Girl Red, Simply Ravishing, Thoughtfully, Travel Column, Vequist.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Isabella Giles, Rockfel Stakes, Newmarket, Sept. 25
An Irish-bred daughter of Balardo, Isabella Giles made the Rockfel Stakes (G2) her second straight victory going seven furlongs in group company. Trainer Clive Cox has never saddled a Breeders’ Cup starter.
Lady Speightspeare, Natalma Stakes, Woodbine, Sept. 20
Lady Speightspeare acted up in the gate, but then got down to business to win Woodbine’s Natalma (G1) in her stakes debut. The Kentucky-bred Speightstown filly is trained by Roger Attfield.
Shale, Moyglare Stud Stakes, Curragh, Sept. 13
In his first year as a trainer, Donnacha O’Brien has earned a trip to the Breeders’ Cup thanks to Shale’s victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1). The Irish-bred 2-year-old is a Galileo filly.
Other potential Juvenile Fillies Turf contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Alda, Aunt Pearl, Batyah, Campanelle, Emro, Happy Romance, Invincible Gal, King’s Harlequin, Madone, Nazuna, Plum Ali, Pretty Gorgeous.
Cadillac, Champions Juvenile Stakes, Leopardstown, Sept. 12
The first Juvenile Turf berth of 2020 went to Irish-bred 2-year-old Cadillac, who dominated the Champions Juvenile Stakes (G2). Jessica Harrington trains the son of Lope De Vega and said a Breeders’ Cup start is likely.
Gretzky the Great, Summer Stakes, Woodbine, Sept. 20
Trainer Mark Casse won the Summer Stakes (G1) for the fourth time since 2013 thanks to Gretzky the Great, an Ontario-bred son of first-crop sire Nyquist. The colt already has three wins to his name, all coming at Woodbine.
New Mandate, Royal Lodge Stakes, Newmarket, Sept. 26
Ralph Beckett trains New Mandate, an Irish-bred, gelded son of New Bay who made the Royal Lodge (G2) a third straight victory. Beckett has a Breeders’ Cup championship to his name thanks to Muhannak’s 2008 victory in the Marathon at Santa Anita.
Other potential Juvenile Turf contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Big Fish, Credit River, Military Style, Notary, Outadore, Pivotal Mission, Public Sector, Ram, Ready to Repeat, The Lir Jet.
Juvenile Turf Sprint
Amanzi Yimpilo, Speakeasy Stakes, Santa Anita, Sept. 26
Trainer Wesley Ward sent Irish-bred Amanzi Yimpilo west to Santa Anita to punch her Breeders’ Cup ticket by taking the Speakeasy. The No Nay Never filly is 2-for-3 to start her career.
Campanelle, Prix Morny, Deauville, Aug. 23
The Irish-bred Campanelle improved to 3-for-3 so far in her career when taking the Prix Morny (G1) for Ward. The 2-year-old Kodiac filly also won the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. She is training at Keeneland and could work to a start in the Breeders’ Cup, likely in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The Lir Jet, Norfolk Stakes, Ascot, June 19
The Lir Jet improved to 2-for-2 when winning the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. Since that victory, the 2-year-old is winless in three starts, including a fifth-place finish Saturday at Newmarket in the Middle Park Stakes (G1). Michael Bell trains the Irish-bred Prince of Lir colt.
Other potential Juvenile Turf Sprint contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Aloha Star, Dirty Dangle, Golden Pal, Happy Romance, Method, Mighty Gurkha, Miss Amulet, Ready to Repeat, Steel Bull, Ubettabelieveit, Wyfire.
Circus Maximus, Queen Anne Stakes, Ascot, June 16
Circus Maximus, a Galileo colt, won his 4-year-old bow in the Queen Anne (G1), marking the second Royal Ascot victory of his career. He has followed that victory up with by finishing second, third and third in a trio of Group 1 events. The Irish-bred Aidan O’Brien trainee ran fourth last November in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Gran Alegria, Yasuda Kinen, Tokyo Racecourse, June 7
Kazuo Fujisawa trains the 4-year-old filly Gran Alegria, a daughter of Deep Impact. The Yasuda Kinen marked a second Group 1 triumph in her native Japan.
Halladay, Fourstardave Handicap, Saratoga, Aug. 22
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s first “Win and You’re In” berth came courtesy of Halladay, who earned a Grade 1 breakthrough in the Fourstardave. The 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of War Front has won three of his last four races. Next up is Saturday’s $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
Mohaather, Sussex Stakes, Goodwood, July 29
Four-year-old Mohaather unleashed a thrilling rally to take the Sussex Stakes (G1), a second straight triumph in group company. Marcus Tregoning trains the Great British-bred Showcasing colt.
Palace Pier, Prix Jacques le Marois, Deauville, Aug. 16
Kingman colt Palace Pier improved to 5-for-5 in his career when defeating Circus Maximus and others in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1). John Gosden trains the Great British-bred 3-year-old, who also won the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Raging Bull, Shoemaker Mile Stakes, Santa Anita Park, May 25
The French-bred Raging Bull secured the first “Win and You’re In” berth of the U.S. racing season with his Shoemaker Mile (G1) score. Chad Brown trains the 5-year-old Dark Angel gelding. Raging Bull was most recently fifth Aug. 22 in the Fourstardave at Saratoga and is entered in the Shadwell Turf Mile.
Starship Jubilee, Woodbine Mile, Woodbine, Sept. 19
Canada’s 2019 Horse of the Year, Starship Jubilee, continued her remarkable career when beating a field full of male runners in the 2020 Woodbine Mile (G1). Kevin Attard trains the 7-year-old Indy Wind mare, who now shows 19 victories out of 38 starts. The Florida-bred Starship Jubilee has five wins through six starts this season.
Vardy, L'Ormarins Queen's Plate, Kenilworth, Jan. 11
Vardy is a 5-year-old Var gelding bred in South Africa. Adam Marcus serves as trainer.
Other potential Mile contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Analyze It, Beau Recall, Champers Elysees, Earthlight, Kameko, March to the Arch, One Master, Pinatubo, Regal Reality, Safe Voyage, Sharp Samurai, Shirl’s Speight, Speak of the Devil, Uni, War of Will.
C Z Rocket, Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Santa Anita, Sept. 27
C Z Rocket, who had already clinched a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile berth, won a Sprint division qualifier Sunday in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). The 6-year-old City Zip gelding is now 5-for-5 since being claimed this spring by Miller. The trainer said he is leaning toward running the Florida-bred in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint rather than the Dirt Mile.
Collusion Illusion, Bing Crosby Stakes, Del Mar, Aug. 2
Trainer Mark Glatt saddled the 3-year-old Collusion Illusion to a victory against older runners in the Bing Crosby (G1). The Florida-bred son of Twirling Candy faced older company again Sunday in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, finishing third. Collusion Illusion is 5-for-7 lifetime.
Firenze Fire, The Vosburgh, Belmont Park, Sept. 26
Firenze Fire, a three-time Breeders’ Cup participant, punched his ticket for a fourth trip Saturday by winning the Vosburgh (G2). The 5-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior is 2-for-5 since moving to the barn of trainer Kelly Breen, with both those wins coming at Belmont. The Florida-bred Firenze Fire’s previous best Breeders’ Cup finish was a fourth-place effort in the 2018 Dirt Mile.
Vekoma, Carter Handicap, Belmont Park, June 6
Weaver trainee Vekoma made his Grade 1 breakthrough with a 7 1/4-length Carter victory. The 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt also won a “Win and You’re In” race for the Dirt Mile division July 4 when taking Belmont’s Metropolitan Handicap. Vekoma is working at Saratoga.
Other potential Sprint contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Complexity, Diamond Oops, Flagstaff, Lexitonian, Yaupon, Wildman Jack.
Channel Maker, Sword Dancer, Saratoga, Aug. 29
Channel Maker, a 6-year-old son of English Channel, wired the Sword Dancer (G1) to snap a 10-race winless streak. The Ontario-bred has now won Grade 1 events on the NYRA circuit in each of the last three seasons. The gelding was 11th and 12th, respectively, in the 2018 and ’19 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf for trainer Bill Mott. He is entered in the $250,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) on Saturday at Belmont.
Chrono Genesis, Takarazuka Kinen, Hanshin Racecourse, June 28
4-year-old Bago filly Chrono Genesis scored her second Group 1 victory in the Takarazuka Kinen. Takashi Saito trains the Japanese-bred runner.
Enable, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Ascot, July 25
Enable scored the first win of her 6-year-old campaign when taking the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) for a remarkable third time. She was first again Sept. 5 at Kempton Park in the September Stakes (G3), a tune-up for Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. The Great British-bred daughter of Nathaniel has now earned more than $14 million running for trainer Gosden. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf champ didn’t attempt to defend her title last year.
Lord North, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Ascot, June 17
Irish-bred 4-year-old Lord North won Royal Ascot’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes in his Group 1 debut. Gosden trains the Dubawi gelding, who was third Aug. 19 at York in the International Stakes (G1).
Magical, Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown, Sept. 12
Aidan O’Brien saddled 5-year-old Magical to a seventh career Group 1 triumph in the Irish Champion Stakes. The Irish-bred Galileo mare has one U.S. start over her 25 career races, running second to Enable in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf. O’Brien said Magical is likely to travel across the Atlantic for this November’s championships.
Nao Da Mais, Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini, San Isidro Racecourse, Dec. 14
Nao Da Mais is a four-time Group 1 winner in his native Brazil. The 4-year-old T.H. Approval colt last raced March 14 at San Isidro in the Gran Premio Latinoamericano (G1), finishing seventh. Marina Bragante Lopez is the trainer.
Pimper’s Paradise, Grande Premio Brasil, Hipodromo da Gavea, Sept. 27
Venancio Nahid trains 5-year-old Pimper’s Paradise, a Brazilian-bred son of Put It Back. The Grande Premio Brasil victory was his second in Group 1 company.
Red King, Del Mar Handicap, Del Mar, Aug. 22
Phil D’Amato trainee Red King became a multiple graded stakes winner when upsetting 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up United to win the Del Mar Handicap (G2). The 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of English Channel also won the San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3) earlier this summer at Santa Anita. He is working at Santa Anita.
Other potential Turf contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Arklow, Donjah, Ghaiyyath, United, Zulu Alpha.
Battaash, Nunthorpe Stakes, York, Aug. 21
Six-year-old gelding Battaash defended his 2019 Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) score by taking the race’s 2020 running. Charlie Hills trains the Irish-bred son of Dark Angel, who has won five of his last six starts dating to last August. Battaash runs Sunday in the Prix de L’Abbaye de Longchamp (G1), which he won in 2017.
Glass Slippers, Flying Five Stakes, Curragh, Sept. 13
Glass Slippers earned a Breeders’ Cup berth when taking the Flying Five Stakes (G1) for trainer Kevin Ryan. The 4-year-old, Great British-bred filly is a daughter of Dream Ahead. The 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye de Longchamp winner contests that event again Sunday.
Hello Youmzain, Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Ascot, June 20
Ryan also trains Hello Youmzain, a 4-year-old son of Kodiac. The French-bred colt has run three times since his Diamond Jubilee (G1) score, most recently finishing fifth at Haydock Park on Sept. 5 in the Betfair Sprint Cup (G1).
Imprimis, Turf Sprint, Kentucky Downs, Sept. 12
Imprimis, who was disqualified from a win at Saratoga on Aug. 8 in the Troy Stakes (G3), got to keep his first-place laurels when coming home first in the Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Joe Orseno trains the 6-year-old Broken Vow gelding. The Florida-bred Imprimis was sixth last year in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Oleksandra, Jaipur, Belmont Park, June 20
Six-year-old Animal Kingdom mare Oleksandra edged Kanthaka by a neck in the Jaipur (G1), marking her first top-level victory. Neil Drysdale trains the Australian-bred runner, who has raced in the U.S. since 2018. Oleksandra does not show any recent works.
Other potential Turf Sprint contenders (according to the Breeders’ Cup website): Diamond Oops, Equilateral, Got Stormy, Guildsman, Kimari, Oxted, Stubbins, Wildman Jack.