Of the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championship events, none came up with fewer pre-entered horses as the $3-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT).
The short field of nine (the Ladies Classic also has nine) is no doubt indicative of several of the top European horses opting for the more lucrative Classic (gr. I), which is run over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface and is thought to be an easy transition for turf-based runners. Raven's Pass
, who shipped in to win the 2008 Classic for trainer John Gosden, proved that theory at Santa Anita a year ago.
Though three of the European's top distance horses—Mastercraftsman, Rip Van Winkle, and Twice Over—are being pointed to either the Classic or Dirt Mile (gr. I), the Euros still hold the upper hand on the Americans for the Nov. 7 Turf. Not only does defending titleholder Conduit
return for the 1 1/2-mile race, but stablemate Spanish Moon
is also a major player, as will be multiple group I-winning filly Dar Re Mi
, if Gosden chooses the Turf over the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Ballymacoll Stud Farm’s Conduit has won one of four starts since winning last year’s BC Turf by 1 1/2 lengths, that victory coming in the July 25 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot two starts back. Last out, in the prestigious Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), Conduit turned in a solid fourth-place effort to Sea The Stars, as he was defeated by only 2 1/4 lengths after a wide trip. Ryan Moore is again expected to have the mount for Sir Michael Stoute.
Spanish Moon, also from the barn of Stoute, comes in with back-to-back victories in France, and was beaten only a nose three starts ago in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I). The 5-year-old El Prado horse scored in the group I Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud June 28 and group II Qatar Prix Foy last out Sept. 13.
Dar Re Mi, a 4-year-old daughter of Singspiel, was fifth in the Arc, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Prior to that, she notched two group I victories and would have won a third straight in the Sept. 13 Qatar Prim Vermeille (Fr-I) had she not been disqualified in controversial fashion. Dar Re Mi was also second in that event in 2008, losing by two lengths to Zarkava.
The top American threats appear to be Presious Passion
, a two-time grade I winner this year and the expected pacesetter; and Telling
, an improving 5-year-old A.P. Indy
horse who won the Sword Dancer (gr. IT) at 33-1 two starts ago at Saratoga.
$3 Million Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT, 2:57 p.m.) 3-Year-Olds and Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
Horse, Owner, Trainer
Allegre Eagle, Oak Ranch, Ron Brewer, Gregory Unruh, Wind River Stables, Brian J. Koriner
Conduit (IRE), Ballymacoll Stud Farm, Sir Michael R. Stoute
Dar Re Mi (GB), Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, John H.M. Gosden
Monzante, Jay Manoogian, Gretchen Manoogian, Scott Anastasi, Mike R. Mitchell
Presious Passion, Patricia Generazio, Mary E. Hartmann
Red Rocks (IRE), J. Paul Reddam, Brian Meehan
Spanish Moon, Juddmonte Farms, Sir Michael R. Stoute
Summer Bird, K.K. Jayaraman, M.D. , Vilasini D. Jayaraman, Tim A. Ice
Telling, Alex Lieblong; JoAnn Lieblong, Steve Hobby