With less than five weeks to go before the Breeders' Cup Championships, this weekend is busiest of the North American season for the "win and you're in" races.
Eleven qualifiers are on the calendar, mostly at Keeneland but with a pair at Belmont.
Here is an early look at the fields.
Alcibiades (G1), Keeneland, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-old fillies
Diamond Wow is 2-for-2, with a win in the black-type Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream last out. Matareya graduated on debut at Ellis Park on Aug. 20. Runup is 2-for-3 after her win in the black-type Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park. This race is a win-and-you’re in qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and it offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points for the 2022 Kentucky Oaks.
Phoenix (G2), Keeneland, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up
Baby Yoda got attention after earning the highest Beyer Speed Figure of the year: 114, a figure matched only by Flightline. He also is listed as possible for the Vosburgh on Sunday at Belmont. The top three finishers in the black-type Louisville Thoroughbred Society Stakes – won by Just Might – could meet again here. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Breeders’ Futurity (G1), Keeneland, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds
Double Thunder is 3-for-4 after winning the black-type Sapling Stakes at Monmouth. His only loss was a fourth-place finish in the Saratoga Special (G2). Classic Causeway won his debut by 6 1/2 lengths last out at Saratoga. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and it offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
Keeneland Turf Mile (G1), Keeneland, 1 mile (turf) 3-year-olds and up
Order of Australia has raced once in the U.S., winning the 2020 Breeders' Cup Mile by a neck at Keeneland. He finished second last out in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1). In Love has won two straight, including the listed TVG Stakes at Kentucky Downs last out. Tell Your Daddy's win last out in the Bernard Baruch (G2) was his first graded-stakes victory and his firs score since February 2020. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
First Lady (G1), Keeneland, 1 mile (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Althiqa, after finishing in the money in all nine overseas starts, came to the U.S. and won two Grade 1 stakes: the Just A Game and the Diana. In her second start off the bench, Viadera won the Ballston Spa (G1) by a nose. Blowout's fourth-place finish in the Fourstardave (G1) was her first start since winning the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Thoroughbred Club of America (G2), Keeneland, 6 furlongs, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Only two probables as of Sunday for this sprint. Estilo Talentoso's fifth place finish in the Ballerina (G1) was her first out-of-the-money finish in 16 lifetime starts. Club Car has a 6: 2-2-2 record this year but has never won a graded stakes. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Woodford (G2), Keeneland, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), 3-year-olds and up
Only two probables so far here as well. Golden Pal, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, won the Quick Call (G3) at Saratoga before shipping to England and finishing seventh in the Nunthorpe Stakes (G1). After winning only once in nine starts in England, Inhalation finished eighth in his first U.S. start, an allowance race at Keeneland. He has won two starts since, both allowance races at Colonial Park.
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), Belmont, 1 1/2 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up
The 1-2-3 finishers in the Sword Dancer (G1) are expected to meet again here. Gufo finished a neck ahead of Japan, with Cross Border 3 1/2 lengths back. Arklow also lost by a neck in his last start, beaten by Imperador in the Calumet Turf Cup.
Vosburgh (G2), Belmont, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up
Firenze Fire is 5: 2-2-0 this year and lost by a head to Yaupon last out in the Forego. Jalen Journey has won three of his last four, including a win by DQ last out in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial. Unraced at 2, Following Sea has a 5: 2-1-2 record this year but has yet to win a graded stakes. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Matron (G3), Belmont, 6 furlongs (turf), 2-year-old fillies
After winning her debut at Monmouth Park, Mainstay finished second in the Schuylerville (G3) and fourth in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga. Makin My Move is coming off a 12 1/2-length debut victory in a maiden race at Saratoga.
Spinster (G1), Keeneland, 1 1/8 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Bonny South will try again to topple Letruska, who is 5-for-6 this year. Letruska beat Bonny South by 2 1/2 lengths in the Ogden Phipps (G1), but Bonny South was only a half-length behind her in the Personal Ensign (G1) last out. Envoutante has hit the board in each of hr 14 career starts but has not won a graded stakes since the Falls City (G2) in November. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Bourbon (G2), Keeneland, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 2-year-olds
Tiz the Bomb graduated on second try at Ellis Park and then switched to turf and won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile. Red Danger followed a similar route, breaking his maiden on second try at Saratoga and then winning the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Indian Summer (G2), Keeneland, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), 2-year-olds
Averly Jane has won all three of her starts by multiple lengths and would switch to turf here. Kaufymaker broke his maiden at Keeneland by 6 1/4 lengths in April, then shipped to Ascot and finished eighth in the Coventry Stakes (G2). Last out, she was third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Beldame (G1), Belmont, 1 1/8 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Horologist returns to graded-stakes company after winning the listed Summer Colony by 8 1/2 lengths. The filly she beat, Gold Spirit, also is possible here. Spice Is Nice has not raced since finishing fifth in the Fleur de Lis (G2) in June. Before that, she won the Allaire Dupont (G3).
Futurity (G2), Belmont, 6 furlongs (turf), 2-year-olds
Run Curtis Run won his first two starts before finishing eighth in the Funny Cide last out at Saratoga. Midnight Worker scratched from the Oct. 3 Pilgrim and is possible here. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Knickerbocker (G3), Belmont, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up
Breaking the Rules and Sacred Life finished 1-2 last out in an allowance race at Saratoga. It was the first start for Breaking the Rules since he finished ninth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) in January. Sacred Life has hit the board in each of his 20 career starts but has not won since August 2020.
Probables were not available for two Sunday stakes at Woodbine: the Durham Cup (G3), at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds and up, and the Ontario Matron (G3), at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up.