First Look: 6 Breeders' Cup qualifiers lead stakes calendar

First Look: 6 Breeders' Cup qualifiers lead stakes calendar
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

As racing transitions away from Saratoga and Del Mar, this weekend brings three graded stakes at Churchill Downs. Two of those races are win-and-you're in events for the Breeders' Cup, with three qualifiers also planned at Woodbine and one at Belmont.

Here is an early look at the calendar and the fields when available. Check back, as those with no information will be updated.


Iroquois (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds

Stellar Tap won his debut at Saratoga by 5 1/4 lengths. O Captain also won on debut by a 9 1/4-length margin at Gulfstream. Major General had a harder time in his debut, winning by a neck at Saratoga. This race is a win-and-you're-in qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the first points race for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

2021 Iroquois (G3)

Pocahontas (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-old fillies

Goddess of Fire won her debut at Saratoga by a neck. Ontheonesandtwos tried graded-stakes company last month, finishing sixth in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga. Lemieux broke her maiden on third try at Saratoga in a three-horse race. This race is a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the first points race for the Kentucky Oaks.

2021 Pocahontas (G3)

Locust Grove (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Shedaresthedevil is the big name here; she is 3-for-4 this year, with her only loss coming against Letruska and stablemate Bonny South in the Ogden Phipps. This is the second start for Lady Kate after a four-month layoff; she finished second by a neck in the listed Groupie Doll last month.

2021 Locust Grove (G3)

Woodbine Mile (G3), Woodbine, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds and up

This race is a win-and-you're in for the Breeders' Cup Mile. Five of the top six finishers in the Aug. 15 King Edward (G2) are expected here. Olympic Runner rallied to win by 1 1/4 lengths, with favorite March to the Arch coming in third. Raging Bull is winless in two starts since his score in the Maker's Mark Mile (G1) in April.

2021 Woodbine Mile (G1)

Canadian International (G1), Woodbine, 1 1/2 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up

All but one of Desert Encounter's 46 career starts have been overseas – the exception being a victory in the 2019 edition of this race. Corelli beat three others expected here in the Singspiel Stakes (G3) last month. Bluegrass Parkway would try his first graded stakes after winning the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup Stakes at Ellis Park last out.

2021 Canadian International (G1)

Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3), Laurel Park, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up

Wondrwherecraigis is 3-for-4 this year, including a win over My Boy Tate in the listed Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga last out. Mucho returns to graded-stakes company after finishing first or second in his last three starts, including a score in the black-type Challedon Stakes at Pimlico.

2021 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3)

Jockey Club Derby, Belmont, 1 1/2 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

This listed stakes is a win-and-you're-in for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Step Dancer finished first and second in his last two starts, both in the New York Stallion Series. This will be his first race beyond 1 1/16 miles. Tango Tango Tango tries another graded stakes after finishing second in the Bruce D.

2021 Jockey Club Derby (LS)

Probables were not available for other graded stakes at Woodbine: the Canadian Stakes (G2) on Saturday, 1 1/8 miles (turf) for 3-year-olds and up; the Natalma (G1) on Sunday, 1 mile (turf) for 2-year-old fillies and a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; and the Summer (G1) on Sunday, 1 mile (turf), for 2-year-olds and a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

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