While horses like Kona Gold and Banks Hill seek to repeat past Breeders' Cup glory Saturday at Arlington Park, many owners are hoping to make encore trips to the winner's circle on racing's biggest day.
Not surprisingly, the entry box features multiple charges from the partnership of Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, while will send five horses to the post on Breeders' Cup Day. Magnier and Tabor captured their first Breeders' Cup win a year ago when Johannesburg won the Juvenile at Belmont Park. They have fallen short on 13 other occasions, the closest being Giant's Causeway's heart-stopping loss to Tiznow two years ago. This time around, Magnier and Tabor have Reach for the Moon in the Juvenile Fillies, Landseer in the Mile, Hold That Tiger, Ontario, Tomahawk, Van Nistelrooy (in partnership with Stonerside), and possibly Marino Marini in the Juvenile, and High Chaparral in the Turf. In addition, Magnier races Hawk Wing in either the Mile or the Classic, and sends forth Rock of Gibraltar (co-owned with Alex Ferguson) in one of those two contests as well. Tabor's Zavata goes in the Juvenile.
Just months after the passing of Prince Ahmed Salman, his The Thoroughbred Corp. will race three candidates, looking to build on the success of Anees in the 1999 Juvenile, Spain in the 2000 Distaff, and Jewel Princess, who Salman co-owned, in the 1996 Distaff. The Bob Baffert-trained Atlantic Ocean will carry Salman's green and white silks in the Juvenile Fillies, while Kafwain tries the Juvenile, and Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem seeks to end his career on a victorious note in the Classic.
Godolphin Racing is light on quantity, but boasts some quality in its three entrants. Imperial Gesture should show speed in the Distaff, while Kazzia contests the Filly & Mare Turf and E Dubai tries the Classic. Godolphin took two races last year when Fantastic Light won the Turf and Tempera the Juvenile Fillies. Daylami scored in the 1999 Turf as well.
Allen Paulson had phenomenal success in the Breeders' Cup with winners Ajina, Cigar, Eliza, Escena, Opening Verse, and Theatrical. Now, his Living Trust sends forth likely favorite Azeri in the Distaff and the talented Del Mar Show in the Mile.
Flaxman Holdings, which won the Mile in 1997 with Spinning World, has two runners in that event, Aldebaran and Good Journey, in addition to starting Denon in the Turf. Any one of those three could pop up big.
Ogden Mills Phipps will seek his third Breeders' Cup victory with the Juvenile Filly Storm Flag Flying, whose dam and grandam won Breeders' Cup events for Phipps' father. The younger Phipps has hit the winner's circle with Inside Information in the 1995 Distaff and Rhythm in the 1989 Juvenile.
Juddmonte Farms, which won its first Breeders' Cup race last year with Banks Hill in the Filly & Mare Turf, sends that one out again, along with Beat Hollow in the Mile and Zenda in either the Filly & Mare Turf or the Mile.
Stronach Stables, winners with Awesome Again in the 1998 Classic, Macho Uno in the 2000 Juvenile, and Perfect Sting in the 2000 Filly & Mare Turf, will start Macho Uno and Milwaukee Brew in the Classic, and co-owns Juvenile Filly Buffythecenterfold and Sprint contender Carson Hollow.
Owners taking several cracks at winning their first Breeders' Cup race include financier Gary Tanaka, whose Golden Apples will be among the favorites in the Filly & Mare Turf. Tanaka will also send out Falcon Flight in the Turf.
Bob and Beverly Lewis, for all their success in the business, are still looking for their first Breeders' Cup win as majority owners. They had a piece of Timber Country, who took the 1994 Juvenile, but have come painfully close on several other occasions with their own stock without winning. Serena's Song was a heartbreak second to Flanders in the 1994 Juvenile Fillies; Silver Charm was runner-up in the 1998 Classic; and Hennessy was second in the 1995 Juvenile. This time, the Lewises have Composure and Santa Catarina, both Baffert-trained and both in the Juvenile Fillies, and Orientate, the likely Sprint favorite.
New blood among owners this year comes from Richard Englander, who could start Boston Common and My Cousin Matt. Tom Durant has a live duo with Most Feared in the Juvenile and Touch Tone in the Sprint. And Jimmy and Dennis Richard, who run an auto repair shop in Louisiana, have the gutsy Bonapaw going in the Sprint.