Three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races for automatic starting positions in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be contested around the world this weekend.
On Saturday, June 25 at the Curragh, Midday, Snow Fairy, and Misty For Me headline the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) at 1 1/4 miles for fillies and mares. It’s a “Win and You’re In” race for a berth into the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
The 5-year-old Midday, trained by Henry Cecil, won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and was second to Shared Account in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill. The 4-year-old Snow Fairy will be making her first start of the year. Snow Fairy closed out 2010 in impressive fashion in the Far East, winning the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Jap-I) and then defeated male rivals in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Gold Cup (Jap-I) at Sha Tin last December. The 3-year-old Misty For Me won this year’s Irish 1000 Guineas for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Sunday’s Takarazuka Kinen (Jap-I), for 3-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles, is the first-ever Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to be held in Japan. The race, which guarantees the winner a berth into the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), is led by the 5-year-old mare Buena Vista, the 2010 Japanese Horse of the Year and a winner of five career group I stakes races. She is one of 16 starters entered.
Sarafina leads the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) on Sunday for an automatic qualifying position into the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The 4-year-old filly won last time out in the Prix Corrida (Fr-II) on May 23 at Saint-Cloud for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, among her four career victories, which includes last year’s Prix de Diane (Fr-I). Among the challengers is expected to be the 4-year-old Silver Pond, winner of the Grand Prix de Chantilly.