Six of the eight winners on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships card at Arlington Park Oct. 26 are expected to race in 2003, if all goes according to plans. Three winners--Orientate, Domedriver, and Starine--could run again this year.
Trainer Phil Johnson said Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi, a 4-year-old son of Cryptoclearance who rolled to a 6 1/2-length victory, would winter in New York and return for a 2003 campaign at age five.
Among other Classic starters, Bobby Frankel said there is a possibility Milwaukee Brew, third in the Classic, could run again this year. "He is a pretty fresh horse," Frankel said.
Frankel said Starine, the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner, could race one or two more times before she is retired. Frankel said he would consider the Dec. 1 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park if the turf is soft.
Orientate, the NAPA Sprint (gr. I) winner trained by D. Wayne Lukas, could compete in the Nov. 30 Cigar Mile (gr. I). There is a possibility Orientate will be retired to stud at Graham Beck's Gainesway Farm.
Trainer Bob Baffert said Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) winner Vindication will not race again this year, but will be pointed toward next year's Triple Crown.
"We were really high on this horse," Baffert said. "I think we saw a pretty fantastic horse. I think he is a good enough horse to fill (War Emblem's) shoes."
War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, was retired after his eighth-place finish in the Classic.
Azeri, who took a major step toward Horse of the Year honors with her impressive victory in the Distaff (gr. I), will also return to competition as a 5-year-old in 2003. Considering that all of the filly and mare races will be handicaps, trainer Laura de Seroux said the daughter of Jade Hunter could challenge males.
"We will have to consider it," the trainer said. "She is just coming to the peak of her strength and maturity."
Trainer Shug McGaughey said Long John Silver's Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Storm Flag Flying will spend the remainder of the year resting in Florida and may also take on males on the Triple Crown trail next year.
"We would like to win the (Kentucky) Derby, (and it) wouldn't matter whether it was with a filly or a colt, but she's going to have to tell us," McGaughey said.
An assistant to trainer Pascal Bary said NetJets Mile (gr. IT) winner Domedriver will be sent to Hong Kong for a December start in the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) and will remain in training next year. The Racing Post reported John Deere Turf (gr. IT) winner High Chaparral will race next year with trainer Aidan O'Brien.
One colt that missed the Breeders' Cup but is expected to return early next year is Sky Mesa, who was scratched by trainer John Ward the day before the Cup due to a sprained ankle.