Europeans head out in three waves

The first of three flights carrying most of the European Breeders' Cup team of two dozen horses left Santa Anita Sunday morning for LAX International Airport, according to Alastair Donald, managing director of the International Racing Bureau, the first contingent with Ireland's Coolmore team of eight runners trained by Aidan O'Brien.

The Coolmore team left Santa Anita at approximately 8 a.m. (PST) and were to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam before the final leg home to Ballydoyle. Those on board included George Vancouver, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and seventh-placer Lines of Battle; St Nicholas Abbey and Treasure Beach, the respective third and 10th in the Turf; Excelebration (fourth, Mile); Fame and Glory (13th, Marathon); Infanta Branca (10th, Juvenile Fillies Turf); and Starspangledbanner (10th, Turf Sprint).

One Coolmore runner, three-year-old filly Up, finished seventh in the Filly & Mare Turf and has been retired to be bred next spring in Kentucky at Coolmore's Ashford Stud.

St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Turf at Churchill Downs last year, ran well again Saturday to be third behind Little Mike in his title defense and has an invitation to run in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on December 9, although no decision has been made for that trip as yet.

A second European shipment Sunday was set to leave Santa Anita near noon for LAX on a CargoLux flight with English-trained runners bound for Stanstead Airport near London, arriving Monday morning, London time. That flight included Ceiling Kitty (fifth, Juvenile Sprint), The Gold Cheongsam (fifth, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Waterway Run (sixth, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Sky Lantern (eighth, Juvenile Fillies Turf), The Fugue (third, Filly & Mare Turf), I'm a Dreamer (sixth, Filly & Mare Turf), Nahrain (10th, Filly & Mare Turf), Dundonnell (fourth, Juvenile Turf), Artigiano (sixth, Juvenile Turf) and Fantastic Moon (10th, Juvenile Turf).

A third and final flight of the European Breeders' Cup team departs Santa Anita Monday on a KLM flight to Amsterdam carrying the French-trained team, led by Flotilla, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday for trainer Mikel Delzangles. Also in the French contingent were Ridasiyna (fourth, Filly & Mare Turf), Shareta (fifth, Turf) and Moonlight Cloud (eighth, Mile).

One other European runner that will not be returning is the five-year-old mare Sense of Purpose, 12th in the Marathon for Irish trainer Dermot Weld. The Moyglare Stud runner will go to Moyglare's American trainer Christophe Clement at Payson Park in Florida.

IRB also reports that Japan's Trailblazer, who ran a strong fourth in the Turf behind Little Mike for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, will return home to Japan on a flight scheduled for Wednesday with his future at this point unknown.

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