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.
Darley Stable's Bernardini turned in a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:02 2/5 at Belmont Park Wednesday, much to the satisfaction of trainer Tom Albertrani. His main rival for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Presented by Dodge (gr. I) will be Lava Man, whose trainer, Doug O'Neill, paid tribute to Bernardini.
A total of 121 Horses have been pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Pre-entries were due by noon Monday, and the Breeders' Cup racing directors/secretaries panel met yesterday to determine which horses would be allowed to run in the event a race was oversubscribed. The pre-entries were announced at 10 a.m. today.
The 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championships will have something for everyone, including an array of top-notch horses from both coasts and Europe.
There will be story lines aplenty in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). You want a battle of the royals? It's got it.
When you consider that European horses have won 12 (including High Chaparral's 2003 dead heat) of 22 runnings of the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), this year's contingent seems somewhat sketchy.
This year's 3-year-old crop can been dubbed the "Killer Bs" with the likes of Bernardini, Barbaro, Bluegrass Cat, and Brother Derek. After it is over, this year's cast for the Nov. 4 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) might be called the "Amazing As" with a fearsome foursome of the pre-entered Ad Valorem, Araafa, Aragorn, and Aussie Rules.
To Paul Saylor, this year's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) is a "pinch yourself situation on a daily, if not hourly, basis."
Only five editions of the Sprint have seen the post time favorite hit the wire first, although the connections of Henny Hughes can take solace that two of those winning favorites strutted their stuff at Churchill Downs, site of this year's event.
The 2006 Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) is shaping up to be an exciting event. The 1 3/8-mile race is expected to pit the older, globe-trotting, European superstar Ouija Board against up-and-coming 3-year-old sensation Wait a While, who has won stakes on both dirt and turf this season.
Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has started three horses in previous runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). This year alone he has three entrants in the race sponsored by Bessemer Trust, including the probable favorite. And with the year Pletcher has had, one unlike anyone before him, the 39-year-old conditioner is not entering many horses that don't fit.
The last four editions of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) were won by the favorite even though the races had an anything-can-happen look to them. That look is back this year, thanks in part to a new variable: the synthetic surface.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This week's issue of The Blood-Horse takes a trip down memory lane for a look at favorite Breeders' Cup moments. Here are mine.
Officials of Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Oct. 24 the race order, post times, and wagering menu for the 23rd Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be held Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
After much deliberation, owner Robert L. Lothenbach decided against pre-entering his prized 3-year-old turf filly Vacare in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
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