Two Churchill Downs-based horses were confirmed as being part of the cast for the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Nov. 4 as Jay-Em-Ess Stable's Suave was pre-entered on Monday to run in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I) and Phoebe Mueller's Rush Bay was pre-entered in the $3 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Trainer Paul J. McGee said that co-owner Samantha Siegel of Jay-Em-Ess had decided in favor of a second consecutive Classic bid for Suave. The 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy finished fifth to Saint Liam in last year's Classic at Belmont Park and counts the Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park among his two wins in three starts this season.
Suave finished a disappointing 10th followed a rough journey in his most recent start in the Woodward (gr. I) at Saratoga on Sept. 2, but McGee likes what he has seen from his veteran since his return to Churchill Downs.
"I feel like he's on top of his game," said McGee. "I think he's doing really good."
Suave is doing so well that McGee said he might not need another work before the 1 ¼-mile Classic. He said an easy half-mile or a three-furlong blowout is "possible" around the middle of Breeders' Cup Week.
Rush Bay, a homebred son of Cozzene trained by Tom Amoss, will have a home court advantage as he steps up take on some of the best turf horses in the world in the 1 ½-mile John Deere Turf. He is a "horse for the course" as his record over Churchill Downs' Matt Winn Turf Course stands 3-1-0 in four races. That victory total includes a win at three in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) and a victory earlier this year in the Opening Verse Handicap.
Rush Bay finished second to Revved Up in Keeneland's Sycamore Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) in his most recent start. He won the Nijinsky at Woodbine, a Canadian Grade II event, prior to that.
Rush Bay is scheduled to work over the grass course on Tues., Oct. 24, which will be the first day of grass works for the Breeders' Cup and Churchill Downs' Oct. 29-Nov. 25 Fall Meet. Turf works are scheduled to begin around 9:45 a.m.The deadline for pre-entries was Monday, with the complete list to be released at 10 a.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. The list and accompanying articles about the pre-entries will be posted at bloodhorse.com at 10 a.m.