John Yuen’s 6-year-old gelding Good Ba Ba solidified his reputation as the top miler in the Far East Sunday by capturing the HK$1-million Champions Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin and becomes the first horse to qualify for the 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships through the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge series.
Trained by Andreas Schutz and ridden Olivier Doleuze, Good Ba Ba easily passed rivals down the stretch to Armada by a length. Bullish Luck two lengths back in third. Good Ba Ba was sent off the 8-15 favorite in the 10-horse field, winning his fourth consecutive group I race while covering the mile in 1:33.50.
With the victory, Good Ba Ba earned an automatic starting position into the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), which will be run at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 25 at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a series of 53 races, held in the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe, whose winners earn automatic starting positions into a corresponding Breeders’ Cup World Championships race. The series debuted in 2007 with 24 races in the U.S. and the Champions Mile in Hong Kong.
Schutz would not commit to future plans for Good Ba Ba, a Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan, who is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program and whose connections would pay $50,000 in entry fees to start in the Mile.
"We'll not make any hasty decisions but I'll discuss plans with my owner John Yuen sometime soon, maybe tomorrow after we celebrate tonight,” Schutz said. "We've always tried to keep something in the tank with this horse and not do too much with him. He’s best when he's fresh, and I think he's getting better and better. Halfway down the stretch he was still on the bridle and I was worried he'd get there too soon, but then in a couple of strides he was two lengths clear, and it was all over."
Good Ba Ba has now won 13 of 26 career starts. He came into the Champions Mile following consecutive victories in the the Hong Kong Mile, Stewards Cup, and Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge resumes in the U.S. July 5 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., with the Salvator Mile (gr. III) and the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT). (Link to full series schedule) http://www.breederscup.com/schedule.aspx