A lady has a right to change her mind.
Pre-entered in both the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), and with earlier rumors of her connections leaning to the dirt race, 2015 Turf winner Found will defend her title instead.
The sensible route is by no means the easiest—Found, who won the Oct. 15 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) in her most recent start for trainer Aidan O'Brien, will face among her top rivals globe-trotting Flintshire , who looks to avenge a half-length loss to eventual dual champion Main Sequence in the 2014 Turf, and Ectot, the horse who handed Flinshire his first defeat of the season in the Oct. 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT).
A 4-year-old daughter of Galileo who races for Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, Found is trying to become just the third horse to repeat in the 1 1/2-mile Turf. She chases Conduit in 2008-'09 and fellow O'Brien trainee High Chaparral (IRE) in 2002 and 2003 (the latter a dead heat with Johar).
After winning last year's Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Found finished first or second in seven group I races this year, six of those races against males.
Globe-trotting Flintshire, who remained at home for trainer Chad Brown in New York thus far this season, will take a cross-country trip to California for another run at the Turf—one of the top races that has narrowly eluded him. Flintshire has finished first or second in his last eight starts.
Previously trained by Andre Fabre, the brilliant bay was edged in the Turf last time it was run at Santa Anita Park. After that 2014 Turf defeat, which came on the heels of an Arc second to Treve, he won the Longines Hong Kong Vase (HK-I). In 2015 Flintshire returned to France for another second in the Arc, this time to Golden Horn. He wound up his year with a runner-up finish attempting to defend his title in the Hong Kong Vase.
Moved to Brown by Juddmonte Farms, Flintshire had a much less adventuresome but far more winning 2016 campaign. He strung together three straight victories in top-level races, the longest streak of his career, winning the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT), the Bowling Green Stakes (gr. IIT), and a second consecutive edition of the Longines Sword Dancer (gr. IT).
His Oct. 1 Joe Hirsch defeat to front-running Ectot came over a soggy course at Belmont Park, and he will find California's firm turf conditions more to his liking Nov. 5.
"He's probably the smartest horse I've ever worked around," Brown said of the 6-year-old son of Dansili. "I think it's no coincidence that his talent goes hand-in-hand with that.
"He was already well-accomplished before he ever came to us, but he's so intelligent. He doesn't waste any energy doing things he shouldn't be doing. He's so focused—when you take him out there to train or to race—on what he's supposed to do."
Brown will also saddle Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Money Multiplier, fourth in the Joe Hirsch last out.
Among the European-based runners set to contest the Turf are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” victors Mondialiste, fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) last out after winning the Arlington Million (gr. IT), and Arc runner-up Highland Reel, who earned a trip to the World Championships by winning the QIPCO King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot.
While not abroad, Ectot's first grade I victory earned in his defeat of Flintshire was in a Breeders' Cup Challenge event as well. Todd Pletcher stepped the son of Hurricane Run (IRE) up to the highest level in North America after two Saratoga Race Course starts, and he responded with the win.
Ashleyluvssugar won the John Henry Turf Championship (gr. IIT) score at Santa Anita to stamp his ticket to the Breeders' Cup; the 5-year-old Game Plan gelding won the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in his prior start for trainer Peter Eurton and Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable, and Ciaglia Racing.
Completing the field are Flaxman Holdings' homebred group III winner Ulysses; blue-collar hero Da Big Hoss, who has won his last four starts; $2 million earner Twilight Eclipse, who was sixth, third, and eighth in the last editions of the Turf; Texas Ryano and Metaboss , who were second and fourth, respectively, in the John Henry; and Ralis, sixth in that event.
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, November 05, 2016, Race 9
- 1 1/2m
- 3 yo's & up
- 3:22 PM (local)
|1||1Ralis (CA)||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||30/1|
|2||2Da Big Hoss (KY)||Florent Geroux||126||Michael J. Maker||20/1|
|3||3Ectot (GB)||Jose L. Ortiz||126||Todd A. Pletcher||8/1|
|4||4Flintshire (GB)||Javier Castellano||126||Chad C. Brown||5/2|
|5||5Ashleyluvssugar (CA)||Gary L. Stevens||126||Peter Eurton||15/1|
|6||6Mondialiste (IRE)||Daniel Alexander Tudhope||126||David O'Meara||15/1|
|7||7Ulysses (IRE)||Lanfranco Dettori||122||Sir Michael R. Stoute||12/1|
|8||8Twilight Eclipse (KY)||Joel Rosario||126||Thomas Albertrani||30/1|
|9||9Money Multiplier (KY)||John R. Velazquez||126||Chad C. Brown||20/1|
|10||10Found (IRE)||Ryan L. Moore||123||Aidan P. O'Brien||3/1|
|11||11Texas Ryano (KY)||Flavien Prat||126||Carla Gaines||30/1|
|12||12Highland Reel (IRE)||Seamus Heffernan||126||Aidan P. O'Brien||3/1|
|13||13Metaboss (KY)||Rafael Bejarano||126||Philip D'Amato||30/1|