Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious global event, the Breeders' Cup consists of 15 races worth a total of more than $25 million and hosted by Santa Anita for the sixth time with six races on Friday and nine on Saturday to be televised on NBC Sports Network and NBC. For the first time, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be televised live and in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. (ET).
Seventeen Breeders' Cup horses arrived at Santa Anita Park at 9:12 a.m. (PDT) Monday after a cross-country Tex Sutton flight that originated at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York.
Trainer Dale Romans has confirmed that Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner Dullahan and Grade 1 Arlington Million winner Little Mike will both start in the Turf. Dullahan had been pre-entered for the Classic, while Little Mike had been considered for the Mile.
Groupie Doll blasted three furlongs in :34 2/5 Monday morning at Santa Anita with regular exercise rider Jada Schlenk aboard in preparation for Saturday's Filly & Mare Sprint. The work was the co-fastest of 19 at the distance.
Some of horse racing's biggest stars are stepping up to the plate to support New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program by pledging a percentage of their purse earnings from the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Ryehill Dreamer, who had been sidelined by injury since capturing the Grade 2 American Handicap in May 2011, tracked Red Sun through fractions of :23 4/5 and :47 1/5 on the firm turf. Rounding the far turn, Ryehill Dreamer went after the pacesetter in earnest. He drew alongside through six furlongs in 1:10 3/5, and appeared ready to go by at the top of the stretch, but Red Sun refused to yield.
Garrett Gomez is no stranger to winning Breeders' Cup races, especially at Santa Anita. The 40-year-old Tucson, Arizona, native has 12 such victories overall on his growing and glowing resume, including four in 2008 and one in 2009 when the World Championship events were held at The Great Race Place.
Multiple Grade 1 star Game On Dude shored up his early favoritism for the Breeders' Cup Classic with a strong seven-furlong drill in 1:25 over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning.
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred Sign made a couple of rookie mistakes in her stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 2, $168,150 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs, but the 4-5 favorite easily overcame them to win as much the best.
John C. Oxley's Uncaptured could not be caught in the Grade 3, $114,800 Iroquois at Churchill on Sunday. The Ontario-bred two-year-old colt was an impressive winner by 5 1/2 lengths in his first race away from Woodbine.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey looks to have a strong hand in Aqueduct's early turf stakes, with Boisterous aiming to defend his title in the Grade 2, 1 3/8-mile Red Smith Handicap on opening Saturday and Hit It Rich looking to repeat in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap a week later.
Eishin Flash swept under the wire to capture Sunday's Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo, a much awaited victory after going winless for two years and five months since his Grade 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) triumph in 2010.
Mercedes Stable's homebred Lady Ten surged to the lead off the far turn and held the fast-closing Customer Base safe late to win Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita. The three-year-old filly was sent postward as the 2-1 favorite for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano, who figure to be a popular combination again next weekend in the two-day Breeders' Cup.
Trainer Todd Pletcher's brigade of unbeaten juveniles was also out in force.
Keeneland concluded its 2012 fall race meeting Saturday with strong gains in all-sources handle and a fall meet attendance record while featuring outstanding Thoroughbred racing.
Dullahan worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's conventional dirt track Saturday morning under Tammy Fox in 1:00, after which trainer Dale Romans said a decision on whether the Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner would run in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic or the $3 million Turf at Santa Anita next Saturday would likely not be rendered before Monday's deadline.
Newsdad rallies in Fayette
The Laurel fall meet has proven to be a big one for Robert Gerczak's Action Andy. Three weeks after taking the Maryland Million Sprint by 2 3/4 lengths, the five-year-old gelding delivered a thrilling photo-finish score in Saturday's $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, the centerpiece of Laurel's six-stakes Fall Festival of Racing.
Godolphin Racing's Buffum quickly moved to the front at the start of Belmont Park's Grade 3, $150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap on Saturday and held to score by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Eddie Castro.
Exactly one week before her half-brother and stablemate Shackleford lines up in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Afleeting Lady broke through with her first graded victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont Park. Owned by Alpha Delta Stables and Richard Santulli, the Dale Romans trainee stalked, pounced, and drew off with authority by 3 1/2 lengths.
Grade 2 hero Willcox Inn, pre-entered in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, worked at Keeneland on Saturday for the second time since his runner-up finish to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on October 6. With assistant Hilary Pridham aboard for trainer Mike Stidham, the colt worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 in company with Every Way, a two-year-old City Zip filly who was third in the Grade 3 Mazarine at Woodbine on October 6.
Sum of the Parts, winner of the Grade 3 Phoenix on October 5 at Keeneland, capped his major preparations for a start in next Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders Cup Sprint by working a half-mile in :47 3/5 under jockey Julien Leparoux on Saturday morning at the Lexington, Kentucky, track.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had Godolphin's Breeders' Cup foursome working a half-mile over the all-weather Tapeta at Greentree Training Center on Friday.
BREEDERS' CUP FEATURE
Bob Baffert, who has been headquartered at Santa Anita for more than two decades, can fall out of bed and be at the Breeders' Cup when it's run next Friday and Saturday. Ditto for his horses, who are only a furlong away from their barn to the starting gate, but that doesn't necessarily provide an edge over those who have to ship in from all parts of the globe.
Trainer Mark Casse had planned to work his two juvenile fillies pointing to the Breeders' Cup on Friday and the boys would work Saturday. The threat of rainy conditions Friday and Saturday caused Casse to call an audible and all five of his Breeders' Cup hopefuls breezed over the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Friday morning.
Animal Kingdom completed his major training for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile by working five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 around the dogs on a firm turf course Friday morning at Keeneland.
With the clock inexorably ticking ever closer to the 29th Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita nine days hence, event participants went through their daily regimen without a hitch on a clear, crisp, sun-filled Thursday morning with the scenic San Gabriel Mountains providing their ever-present picturesque background.
Approximately nine hours after working five furlongs over a sloppy track in :59 4/5 on Thursday, Pinnacle Racing Stables Inc. and Bill Kaplan's champion female sprinter Musical Romance departed Calder aboard a Brookledge van bound for Kentucky, the first-leg of a two-tiered journey to California where the mare will seek a title defense in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 3 in what is expected to be her final start.
The Breeders' Cup, joined by Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Chairman Keith Brackpool, Breeders' Cup Ambassador Bo Derek and Hall of Fame jockeys Laffit Pincay Jr. and Gary Stevens, on Thursday unveiled "BCin3D" at a press conference at L.A. LIVE welcoming the Breeders' Cup back to Southern California.
Champion Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, is one of five horses pre-entered in next week's Breeders' Cup scheduled to work on the turf Friday morning at Keeneland.
Churchill Downs' 21-day meet begins Sunday with the first of two "Stars of Tomorrow" programs devoted exclusively to races for two-year-olds, including the Grade 2 $150,000 Pocahontas Stakes for fillies and the Grade 3, $100,000 Iroquois Stakes. Both stakes will be held at a one-turn mile.
The Breeders' Cup, which takes place November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park, has become the culmination of the U.S. Thoroughbred-racing season, and attracts some of the best horses, trainers and owners from across the globe. This year, Breeders' Cup and Grey Goose Vodka will showcase a celebration of global cuisine to go along with the Thoroughbred action when hosting "A Taste of the World."
Starlight Racing's undefeated Algorithms will enter stud at Claiborne Farm for 2013, according to farm representative Bernie Sams. The son of leading sire Bernardini will be syndicated and stand for a $7,500 fee.
Eight celebrity racing fans and owners are being honored as Breeders' Cup Ambassadors in the inaugural year of a program launched by the organization. The honor comes with rewards which allow the Ambassadors to enjoy horse racing all over the world, including concierge service, tickets and more. Additionally, they will serve as spokespersons for the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships and help promote the prestigious international event.
BREEDERS' CUP FEATURE
Closing weekend at Belmont Park is highlighted by a pair of Grade 3 races, with both the $150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap and the $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares set for Saturday, the penultimate day of racing.
Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap hero Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect), runner-up in the Grade 1 Awesome Again (formerly Goodwood) and Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, clocked a bullet five furlongs in :59 4/5 over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on Wednesday. The dark bay sophomore has been pre-entered to both the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and Classic, with a first preference to the Dirt Mile.
BREEDERS' CUP PRE-ENTRIES 2012
SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK
Led by multiple Grade 1 winner Game On Dude, defending Ladies' Classic champion Royal Delta, dominating turf stars Wise Dan and Point of Entry, and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, 180 horses, including eight defending or former Breeders' Cup Champions, have been pre-entered for the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships.
A $1.1 million, six-stakes bonanza awaits fans and bettors at Laurel's Fall Festival of Racing on Saturday, highlighted by the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash for older horses over six furlongs.
Hoping to add his name to an honor roll of three-year-old winners of the Grade 2, $150,000 Fayette that includes Blame and Arch, Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy makes his return to the races Saturday in the closing day feature at Keeneland. The Pat Byrne trainee is the only sophomore in a field of 11 that will negotiate nine furlongs on Polytrack.
The Breeders' Cup has announced the final race order for the Breeders' Cup World Championships, November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park. While all of the Friday races will remain in the same order when announced earlier this month, there were three changes made to the Saturday program.
A gray son of Speightstown provided some late fireworks near the conclusion of Tuesday's second session of Fasig-Tipton's October Yearling Sale at Newtown Paddocks near Lexington, Kentucky. Whipser Hill Farm was the winning bidder at $440,000 for the February 2 Kentucky-bred, who was offered as Hip No. 820 from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
Esteemed turf writers Jay Hovdey and the late Whitney Tower have been chosen as the National Museum of Racing's Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor recipients for 2012. The Roll of Honor was initiated by the Museum in 2010 in memory of Hirsch, a distinguished turf writer who died the previous year.
Canadian champion Musketier has been retired to Adena Springs Canada for the 2013 breeding season.