It became official Sunday that Breeders' Cup Classic hero Flightline is being retired to stud. But what's next for other horses from the championships at Keeneland? The Breeders' Cup communications team provided the following updates.
Malathaat gave trainer Todd Pletcher a third victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff Saturday in a stirring performance that ended with three horses noses apart at the finish.
“That was a big performance by Malathaat,” said Pletcher, who also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Friday with Forte. “Any time you can come into an event such as this and get a win, it’s an accomplishment. To win two … we don’t take them for granted.”
The two winners were the only runners from Pletcher’s 10 starters over the weekend to finish in the top three.
“There were some that exceeded expectations and some that did not,” Pletcher said. “Nest (fourth in the Distaff) lost a lot of ground and Annapolis (11th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was hurt by his post (11).”
In the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Life Is Good set the pace before yielding to Flightline at the head of the stretch and finishing fifth.
“Another super impressive performance,” Pletcher said of Flightline. “He is a very unique horse and from a sheer talent standpoint, he’s as good as I have ever seen.”
Pletcher said his Breeders’ Cup horses would be leaving Keeneland Monday for different destinations.
Rich Strike departed Keeneland Sunday morning to return to trainer Eric Reed’s Mercury Equine Center 11 miles away after his fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He came back great,” Reed said of the Kentucky Derby winner. “He left at 9 this morning to come back to Mercury. We will see how he feels the next couple days, but most likely he will get a little break and gear up for a 4-year-old campaign.” Read more about what might be next for Rich Strike here.
Blue Stripe headed across town to Fasig-Tipton where she is scheduled to be sold at auction Sunday night.
Trained by Marcelo Polanco, Blue Stripe finished a nose behind Malathaat and a nose ahead of Clairiere in Saturday’s dramatic Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Ironically, all three had competed in the same race last year at Del Mar with Blue Stripe finishing seventh, Malathaat third and Clairiere fourth.
Polanco had been quietly confident leading up to the race in which Blue Stripe was sent off at 24-1 odds. Although she never had raced at Keeneland, Blue Stripe had posted a bullet 5-furlong work there on Oct. 26 and she is a half-sister to 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Blue Prize, a two-time winner of the Spinster at Keeneland.
Bill Mott's big weekend
Bill Mott was pleased after a successful Breeders’ Cup in which he won two races and placed in multiple others. From eight Breeders’ Cup starters, he had two wins, one second and one third. His wins came in the Sprint (G1) with Juddmonte’s Elite Power ($13.10) and the Dirt Mile with Godolphin’s popular Cody’s Wish ($6.32).
Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods’ Classic runner-up Olympiad, winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his previous start, exited his race in good condition, Mott said.
“Olympiad is going to Gainesway for a week,” he said. “It’s sales time, and people want to see him. They’ll have a meeting next week and decide next week whether he runs again or whether he goes directly to stud.”
Plans were still undecided, as of 8 a.m. Sunday, as to Elite Power’s immediate plans after his triumph. The son of Curlin won for the fifth consecutive time in the Sprint to improve his record to 5-0-1 from eight starts. Same goes for the similar Cody’s Wish – also a son of Curlin – who won for the seventh time in his past eight races and improved his record to 11: 7-1-3.
“I haven’t got any notifications so far,” Mott said. “And Cody’s Wish … it’s going to be a pretty empty stable if they leave.
“We’ve had some big days before, and today’s a new day,” he continued. “We are looking ahead now, and we’re pleased with what happened. We really had a successful Breeders’ Cup. You’d love to have this sort of outcome every time, and it doesn’t always work that way. I said before they ran the races, we’re coming with a nice group. We could have everybody run their best races and maybe come back without winning a race. That’s just the way it is. The fields are so competitive. They really are. To win two and a second in the Classic and a third in the Turf – a great outcome.
“Right now, (War Like Goddess, third in the Turf) will be heading to Florida with us, and we plan to run her next year.”
On Flightline: “He’s brilliant. That’s what we saw yesterday. The problem is nobody remembers who ran second. I would love to see him run again next year, even if I had to run against him. I think horses like that are great for the sport.”
On winning an Eclipse Award for champion sprinter with either Cody’s Wish or Elite Power: “You know, I haven’t even thought about it. The first time it entered my mind is the fact that you mentioned it right now. I’ll leave that up to the voters. We saw them on the track yesterday and it’s something to consider.
"From what I’ve seen in the past and other races I’ve been in and situations where I thought the work that a horse has done throughout the year didn’t count as much as what they do in the Breeders’ Cup. Case being War Like Goddess (in 2021). Winning the Breeders’ Cup (Filly & Mare Turf in 2021) made (Loves Only You) the champion. The Breeders’ Cup is important, and the voters will take a look at that. I guess I’ll have two of them up for the vote.”
Baffert: Better 3-year-old than Taiba?
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning that his four Breeders’ Cup runners came out of their races in good order and will be shipped back to California this week. All four are scheduled to compete in 2023.
Three-year-old Taiba finished third in the $6 million Classic Saturday. Cave Rock, co-owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, finished second in the Juvenile on Friday, and National Treasure was third. In the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Speed Boat Beach was ninth.
Taiba closed in the stretch and ended up a half-length behind runner-up Olympiad.
“He sort of slipped and he got away bad there at the start and lost position,” Baffert said. “He wasn’t going to win, but it might have cost him second. He ran a great race.”
Baffert said he does not have plans for Taiba’s next start and did not offer an opinion on whether he should be considered for the 3-year-old male title – “I don’t have a vote,” he said. But he noted that Taiba had the best finish of the three 3-year-olds in the Classic.
Taiba and Cyberknife are the only 3-year-old males with two Grade 1 victories this season. The Classic was an opportunity for Taiba to add to his credentials.
“I think he had his chance yesterday,” Baffert said. “We had the best 3-year-olds in there, and he beat them all. Was there a better 3-year-old?”
Cave Rock, National Treasure and Speed Boat Beach are among Baffert’s class of prospects for the Triple Crown prep series over the winter. Arabian Knight joined that crew Saturday with a 7 1/4-length victory in a maiden race at Keeneland. Baffert said the turf experiment with Speed Boat Beach was over and he will return to dirt racing.
In the Juvenile, Forte came on in the stretch to edge betting favorite Cave Rock and hand him his first career defeat.
“I was disappointed in Cave Rock,” Baffert said. “I don’t think he brought his A game. I’m disappointed in him. He’s so much better than that. I was excited about Arabian Knight. We knew he was a superstar in the making. They’re all nice horses. We’ll just regroup.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill reported that all three of his Breeders’ Cup entrants Saturday came back in good form. O’Neill’s top-placed horse from Saturday’s card was Slow Down Andy, who finished third in the Dirt Mile with Mario Gutierrez up. A start in the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita could be next for the 3-year-old son of Nyquist, but O’Neill reported that no final decisions have been made.
Hot Rod Charlie finished sixth in Saturday’s head turning Longines Classic. There is no reported decision for the colt’s next move at this time.
O’Neill said that Slow Down Andy will ship to California today, and he was unsure about the rest of his Breeders’ Cup contenders.
According to her connections, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Goodnight Olive has exited her race well. The Chad Brown-trained daughter of 2004 Classic winner Ghostzapper will get a rest and point to a 2023 campaign that could include a stretch out in distance, with races such as the Madison (G1), Ogden Phipps (G1) and a defense of the Ballerina (G1) squarely on her radar.
Trainer Kevin Attard headed home to Canada, leaving his Breeders’ Cup fillies, Moira and Last Call, at Margaux Farm in Midway, Ky., for a freshening. Both are scheduled to return to the races in 2023.
Moira, the 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, finished fifth under Frankie Detorri in the Filly & Mare Turf. They started from the outside post in the field of 12 and ended up six lengths behind the winner Tuesday.
“She was a little further back than I anticipated,” Attard said. She does not customarily run that far off the pace, but she made a mild close and ran on to be fifth. Her performance was good. I thought that we had a better race in her. Maybe with a better trip we could have hit the board.”
Moira looks to be a lock to win Canada’s post-season Sovereign Awards as 3-year-old filly champ and Horse of the Year. She was 3-for-3 before the Breeders’ Cup and completed the double of beating fillies in the Woodbine Oaks and males in the Queen’s Plate. Attard said it was possible she could make her return to racing next year in Florida.
“There’s nothing really set in stone with where we're going to make her first start back,” he said. “We will get her ready and see when she's ready.”
Last Call finished sixth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She earned her trip to the Breeders’ Cup with a victory as a maiden in Natalma (G1) on Sept. 17 at Woodbine.
“She's doing well,” Attard said. “She came out of the race in good order. She's another horse that didn't get the best of trips, a little traffic trouble down the back side, kind of in tight down the stretch a bit. She is probably another horse that maybe could have had a better placing with a better trip.”
Trainer Wayne Catalano said defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Aloha West has exited his disappointing last-place effort in good shape, while Phoenix (G2)-winning stablemate Manny Wah – fourth and closing well – has done the same.
“Both came back great,” Catalano said. “Next plans, I don’t know.”
Aloha West is scheduled to join the stallion ranks at Mill Ridge Farm at the conclusion of his career.
C Z Rocket
Sprint runner-up C Z Rocket exited his race well, according to trainer Peter Miller. The soon-to-be 9-year-old gelding will be given a rest and pointed to Oaklawn Park’s sprint series and possibly the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). The son of City Zip was also second in the 2020 edition of the Sprint at Keeneland and seventh in 2021 at Del Mar.
Trainer Brendan Walsh confirmed that his Saturday Breeders’ Cup runners, Family Way (10th, Filly & Mare Turf) and Cazadero (11th, Turf Sprint), have exited well. Family Way is scheduled to be sold at Keeneland, and Cazadero, a recent sale purchase-turned-Grade 2 winner, possibly will point to slightly longer turf sprints than the 5 1//2 furlongs he traversed on Saturday, namely the 1351 Turf Sprint (about 6.75 furlongs) on Saudi Cup day and the Al Quoz Sprint (six furlongs) on Dubai World Cup day.
Trainer Roger Attfield hit the board in large fields with both of his Breeders’ Cup entrants on Saturday’s card. The duo managed to hold their own on the Keeneland turf, which was largely dominated by the European contingent this weekend. Attfield’s assistant Ally Walker reported “all good” Sunday for third-place finisher in the Filly & Mare Turf Lady Speightspeare and second-place finisher in the Mile Shirl’s Speight.
The decision to wheel Caravel back in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint off her win in the Franklin Stakes (G3) at Keeneland less than three weeks ago paid off as she now heads to the Keeneland November sale (Hip 224) as the biggest long-shot winner of the two-day event. She beat a talented field, including last year’s winner Golden Pal, by a half-length at odds of 42-1.
She is the ninth Breeders’ Cup winner for trainer Brad Cox, who now has won at least one Breeders’ Cup race every year since 2018.
Cox and his two juvenile runners returned to their base at Churchill Downs in Louisville, but two other of his Breeders’ Cup starters stayed in Lexington. Cyberknife, second in the Dirt Mile, went to Spendthrift Farm to be shown as a stallion prospect. Lady Rocket, eighth in the Filly & Mare Sprint, is entered in Sunday’s Fasig-Tipton sale. She is Hip 195.
A super Saturday for the international runners as a weekend result of six wins in seven Breeders’ Cup races on the turf is the final score. The only exception came with Caravel's narrow success in the Turf Sprint denying Emaraaty Ana.
All international horses seem to have come out of their races very well. Aidan O’Brien will consider Hong Kong for a handful of his runners.
Godolphin horses fly home this evening from Louisville. The rest go home Monday evening from Rickenbacker airport in Ohio.
A few notable runners will not return back to the U.K. Monday include Dreamloper (Mile) who will go under the hammer at Keeneland sales.
Another filly who will be up for auction is Lady Hollywood (Juvenile Turf Sprint) as she heads to Fasig-Tipton sales.
Manhattan Jungle (Juvenile Fillies Turf) will stay in training in America with Michael McCarthy.
Mise En Scene (Filly & Mare Turf), will head to Hunter Valley Stud for a rest and is likely to stay in training in America.
Go Bears Go (Turf Sprint) will go to Archie St George at Brookstown Farm.