What to watch for: Breeders’ Cup decisions on the line

October 16, 2018 05:35pm

All the “Win and You’re In” qualifiers are wrapped up for the year, but there’s still a few races that could determine a trip to the Breeders’ Cup. Stateside we’ll be watching to see how Arklow runs at Keeneland while across the pond there’s a handful of horses under Breeders’ Cup consideration on British Champions Day.

Here’s the races to keep an eye on this week:

Arklow gets final Breeders’ Cup audition

Arklow took the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs, trainer Brad Cox was thinking about the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The 4-year-old Arch colt was under consideration for the Canadian International (G1) but connections instead entered him in Thursday’s Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

Although not a traditional route to the Breeders’ Cup, a solid performance in the Sycamore could send Arklow to the Nov. 3 World Championship event. The Kentucky Turf Cup was a victory at 1 ½ miles and he’ll go the same distance in the Sycamore. The Breeders’ Cup Turf is also run at 1 ½ miles and will take place at Churchill Downs, the home base for Cox horses.

Grade 1 winner Bigger Picture will also try to regain his winning form in the Sycamore after finishing second in the Kentucky Turf Cup.

The biggest threat in the Breeders’ Cup Turf hails from Europe, and that is repeat Arc heroine Enable.

Daddy Is a Legend gets away from Rushing Fall

When Rushing Fall skipped the Lake George (G3) over the summer,
Daddy Is a Legend was able to shine. The 3-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy has spent several races chasing Rushing Fall this season. Connections scratched her from the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), won by Rushing Fall, and will contest the Valley View Stakes (G3) Friday instead.

Daddy Is a Legend won’t be playing second fiddle at Keeneland. Instead, she’ll be headlining the field. If she runs well connections could target the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in December, the same track where she won the Jimmy Durante (G3) at 2.

Breeders’ Cup watch at British Champions Day

Saturday morning Eastern Time, Ascot hosts British Champions Day. Breeders’ Cup runs will also be on the line for a handful of Europeans, although the turn around time will be quick. 

Champion Stakes (G1) will be the main feature, with Cracksman, Crystal Ocean and Roaring Lion aiming for the race. Roaring Lion is also under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Turf, although the Classic’s 1 ¼-mile distance is more to his liking. The Champions Stakes is also 1 ¼ miles.

British Champions Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes (G1) is longer at 1 ½ miles and features a few possible contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles. Coronet, Kitesurf and Magic Wand have been making impressive runs in Europe and are possible for a trip stateside. If they head to the Breeders’ Cup, they’ll likely face Prix de l’Opera (G1) winner Wild Illusion.

Local Saturday stakes action

Belmont Park and Laurel Park are hosting big cards with state-bred action. Headlining Empire Showcase Day at Belmont is the Empire Classic while the Maryland Million Classic tops the Maryland Million Day program. Both races are 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up.

For the Empire Classic, trainer Christophe Clement will send out 3-year-old
Sea Foam, who has two stakes wins against other New York-breds. He was most recently fifth in the Oklahoma Derby (G3).

Keeneland also has the
Raven Run Stakes (G3) carded for Saturday, which features 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs. Probable stakes winners looking to regain their form include Moonshine Memories, Take Charge Paula and Alter Moon. Divine Queen and Dream Pauline are also promising fillies looking to step up.


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