After finishing second in Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) two years ago, Balletto returns to the Breeders' Cup, this time in the Emirates Airline Distaff (gr.I).
Two days before the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Doug O'Neill, trainer of Lava Man, Sharp Lisa, and Great Hunter; and Tom Albertrani, trainer of Bernardini and Balletto, discussed the chances of their stars leading up to their respective races.
Once again, trainer Aidan O'Brien has brought a strong contingent of horses from across the pond to compete in the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. As always, the European invaders are most feared in the turf events, and O'Brien will saddle Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)and Scorpion in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
If there were a prize to be given for the most royal pedigree in the Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered By Dodge (gr. I), Suave would be right up there among the contenders.
Giacomo is a different kettle of fish from the best-known runners from the Plaudit line, who gained their reputation on the basis of raw brilliance.
Some might question why Flower Alley is even being considered for the Breeders' Cup Classic–Powered By Dodge (gr. I). If he can return to the form that carried him to a second-place finish behind Horse of the Year Saint Liam in last year's Classic, however, he will not be a horse to overlook.
By the late 1990s, it seemed almost certain that the male line of Hall of Famer Alydar would not survive. Before he died in 1990, however, Alydar sired one last runner of some note.
Lawyer Ron proved himself one of the most consistent 3-year-old colts of 2006 heading into the Kentucky Derby, carrying a six-race win streak into the big race.
George Washington is a unique conundrum. Bred by Roy and Gretchen Jackson – also the breeders and owners of Kentucky Derby (gr, I) winner Barbaro – he has a name as American as baseball and apple pie, yet is largely European in background and performance.
If Lava Man's pedigree is blue-collar and Invasor's is foreign nobility, Bernardini's represents the American aristocracy.
Owners Clinton and Susan Atkins had hoped to watch their 3-year-old filly Baghdaria race under Churchill Downs' famed twin spires on the first Friday in May. The filly didn't compete in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but they have a second chance to compete at Churchill with a berth in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships actually being just that has taken hold with at least one trainer. Ed Dunlop, who conditions Ouija Board, has planned three campaigns for the filly, each designed with the Breeders' Cup in mind.
The great Laffit Pincay Jr., now retired but still the world's all-time leading jockey (and winner of eight Breeders' Cup races), is at Churchill Downs to introduce the nominees for the Race Track Chaplaincy's White Horse Award.
Looking at the post positions for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), one can expect plenty of action up front, with several jockeys having to make a split decision whether or not to commit their horse to the lead, or at least to be a major pace factor. But is it possible a horse can get a clear lead...and actually hold it?
In the words of ESPN senior vice president Len DeLuca, the network is "bullish" on its opportunity to broadcast the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the first time Nov. 4.
Entered in this year's Breeders' Cup Championships is a horse who has not let the increasing years of his life affect his racing career. Perfect Drift, still going strong at age 7, has aged like fine wine, continuing to post impressive efforts as Nov. 4 rapidly approaches.
For the first time since 2000, the Breeders' Cup World Championships returns to Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The historic track has held the event five times in the past, and the six-year gap between hosting duties is the longest it has faced.
Right before the draw of the Breeders' Cup races takes place on the fourth floor of the clubhouse at Churchill Downs, Lisa Underwood surveys the scene. She's not eating breakfast from the buffet, but that's not to say she doesn't have a lot on her plate.
Breeders' Cup and some of the top racetracks in the country have repackaged major stakes for 2007 in the hope of promoting the World Championships. The scheme includes guaranteed berths in the Breeders' Cup for horses that win stakes on six big-event days in the summer and early fall.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors has made no decision on limiting the racetracks that could be considered as future host sites for the World Championships, but during an Oct. 31 luncheon in Louisville, Ky., officials couldn't say enough about having the event at Churchill Downs.
Things were quiet at Barn 17 on the Churchill Downs backstretch the morning of Oct. 31. But Norman Casse knows that is about to change. And, he's glad.
Bernardini had his final workout at Belmont Park Oct. 31 and is ready for his start in the biggest race of the year.
Rev. Ed Donally is standing outside Barn 36 with an armful of new halters, watching as Lava Man cools out from his morning gallop. Donally, with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, is in from California to coordinate the White Horse Award Luncheon.
With an overall record of two wins, a second and a third from 12 starts in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, it's clear longtime trainer Mel Stute rarely heads to the big event without a legitimate candidate.
The turf at Churchill Downs on Breeders' Cup day should be firm--that is, if the long-range forecast holds up.
With the horses of racing age program implemented this year, owners had a different option for landing their non-nominated horses in the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championships, and a few took full advantage.
The key to any Thoroughbred trainer's success is the quality of people around them. Trainer Todd Pletcher learned that from his mentor, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, is working with the same model. Holding down the Churchill Downs barn is assistant Mike McCarthy.
Following Sunday's deluge of Todd Pletcher works, and a pair by Kiaran McLaughlin's two stars, there still was enough activity at Belmont Park on a glorious fall morning Oct. 30 to keep one entertained.
Following an active workout day Sunday, there were only four Breeders' Cup World Championship contenders working at Churchill Downs on a warm, sunny Monday morning, Oct. 30.
Academy Award-winning actor Joe Pesci is the guest of honor at the Breeders' Cup Luncheon, but he's not here to talk about his movies.
Along with Classic contenders Sun King and Flower Alley putting in their final drills for Saturday's World Championships at Churchill Downs, several other runners stretched their legs under the Twin Spires.
A bronze statue of Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day, his arms raised in triumph, was unveiled during a noon ceremony Sunday at Churchill Downs. The sculpture, created by Louisville artist Raymond Graf, was inspired by Day's victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Lil E. Tee.
A pair of contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), along with some of their stablemates in other World Championship races, took a tour of Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Martin Schwartz's Gorella worked in the company with a stablemate and got five furlongs in :58 over the Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course Sunday in preparation for the Nov. 4 World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs. She wasn't alone as several horses with Breeders' Cup aspirations got their final works in on the morning.
A bronze statue of Pat Day is unveiled in the garden near the paddock at Churchill Downs. John Asher cracks a joke that it will allow Day to live out his dream of being five feet tall since the statue is just slightly larger than life.
It's not Ali/Frazier but the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 4 in Louisville, Ky., the hometown of former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, is being billed as a showdown between Bernardini and Lava Man.
With nonstop rain pelting Churchill Downs on Friday morning, trainer Mark Casse called an audible and opted to leave Charles Laloggia's Skip Code in the barn rather than work in preparation for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Some bits of Breeders' Cup XXIII trivia to throw in the conversation while you debate this year's fields.
STD Racing and Jason Wood's Lava Man, gearing up for a showdown with Bernardini in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, worked six furlongs in 1:15 over Keeneland's Polytrack on Friday, Oct. 27.
Breeders' Cup officials hoping the Nov. 4 World Championships at Churchill Downs will produce a record crowd for the event should be pleased with the long-range forecast.
A few minutes after King of the Roxy broke his maiden in his second start July 2 at Hollywood Park, Barry Irwin was on the phone speaking with his Team Valor partner, Jeff Siegel. Now they have a contender for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Talk about beginner's luck. The very first horse that Ronald Borgese owned is taking him to the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The horse's name is Nightmare Affair, but he's been a dream come true for his New York-based owner.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Oct. 26 that a John Deere X304 riding mower tractor with a retail value of $3,499 will be given away at the November 4 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.
One area where there are certainly no guarantees is the weather. But, should the 10-day forecast hold true, it will be a nice Breeders' Cup day Nov. 4 in Louisville, Ky.
In its first year of televising the Breeders' Cup World Championships, ESPN will air seven hours of coverage from Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Breeders' Cup coverage begins Nov. 4 at noon and continues to 7 p.m., and will be telecast in high definition.
Although a steady rain fell throughout the early morning, the main track at Churchill Downs was labeled fast Oct. 26 when James B. Tafel's Street Sense breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in preparation for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
ReRun, the non-profit adoption organization, announced Oct. 25 that a select group of its signature "Moneigh" paintings created by past and present Breeder's Cup winners and contenders are available on eBay.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien spoke out about the chances of his star 3-year-old George Washington in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), calling him "possibly the best horse we've ever, ever had."
Trainer Aidan O'Brien pre-entered five horses for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Based at Ballydoyle in Ireland, O'Brien holds a strong pair for the NetJets Mile (gr. IT) despite the fact one of Europe's top milers, George Washington, has been entered to run in the $5-million Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at 10 furlongs.
Considering Churchill Downs' success as host of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, track and event officials are anticipating the possibility of a record crowd when the eight races with record purses of $20 million are held at the Louisville track Nov. 4.
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