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.
Michael Moran's McDynamo, winner of the last three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Grand National Steeplechase (NSA-I), takes aim at history when he faces six others in the race's 2006 edition Saturday at the Far Hills Races in Far Hills, N.J.
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).
The crowded list of contenders for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) picked up another member on Monday when trainer Ralph Nicks pre-entered James Spence's homebred Lilly Carson in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.
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).
Robert Baker and William Mack's Pegasus Wind, third in Belmont Park's Champagne (gr. I) in his most recent outing, continued to train strongly toward a scheduled run in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) as he worked a mile on Monday at Churchill Downs.
OK, so Bernardini supposedly is a lock in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And if he doesn't win, how can you look past Lava Man and Invasor? And Sun King, Brother Derek, and Europeans George Washington and David Junior also will get support. After that, good luck. But let's get bold and try to ferret out an early longshot.
Although Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) winner Point Ashley was not among them, Zayat Stables pre-entered three horses Monday for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Wolrd Championships at Churchill Downs.
Working 14 horses in one morning is a major load for any trainer, but Todd Pletcher took that to another level Sunday when he put 14 Breeders' Cup horses through their paces with most of them turning in almost identical drills with machine-like precision.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, runner-up in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, breezed a strong five furlongs Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which will be run at the Louisville track on Nov. 4.
Whenever a top European-based runner invades North America for a crack at the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), one of the obvious questions is how well the horse will adapt to dirt. Whether Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) winner David Junior successfully makes the adjustment may depend on whether he takes more after his sire or after his dam.
Rebecca Maker, trainer of Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) winner It's No Joke, has indicated that the connections will take a pass on the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
The Tin Man, who has compiled the best seasonal record of his career with two grade I wins at the age of eight in 2006, will miss what would have been his third effort in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
A decision on whether Shirocco will attempt to defend his title in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) has been delayed "until the last possible moment," according to Paul Harley, racing manager to the 5-year-old's owner breeder Baron von Ullmann.
How hard is it to handicap the Breeders' Cup? Well, it's hard. In fact, we've determined exactly how difficult each division is, using comparative analysis.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, winner of the Super Derby (gr. II) in his last start, will skip the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. II) and will point for the Gulfstream Park meeting, with his main goal being the Donn Handicap (gr. I), trainer John Ward said Thursday.
George Krikorian's millionaire Hollywood Story, getting ready for her next start in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, worked six furlongs in 1:14 over Santa Anita's fast main track on Thursday.
Grade I-winning filly Shining Energy will be pre-entered for the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), trainer Julio Canani reported Oct. 18, rather than the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Multiple graded stakes winner Badge of Silver, in training with Bobby Frankel, is to make his next start in the Breeders' Cup NetJets Mile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, according to owner Ken Ramsey.
After shipping into Kentucky Oct. 10, the California-based Lava Man is adjusting well to his new surroundings at Keeneland Race Course as he preps for the $5- million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. According to trainer Doug O'Neill, the 5-year-old gelding settled in without a problem and is galloping daily over Keeneland's new Polytrack synthetic surface.
The stars will be shining down on Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, but many of the brightest ones will not even show up until the middle of Breeders' Cup week. As a result, several New York-based journalists, and one Jerseyite, have changed plans and will inhabit the Big Apple until the big guns complete their serious training.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Ltd. have confirmed that the 4-year-old Invasor, a top contender for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), has been nominated to the Breeders' Cup program as a horse of racing age.
Summerly, front-running winner of the 131st Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), will be consigned by Eaton Sales to the Fasig-Tipton November Selected Mixed Sale Nov. 5 in Lexington.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien said Sunday that George Washington, Europe's leading miler, will be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) instead of the NetJets Mile (gr. IT).
Scat Daddy gave trainer Todd Pletcher his record 93rd stakes victory in 2006 with a smart win over favored Nobiz Like Shobiz in the 135th running of the $400,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Martin Schwartz's odds-on favorite Gorella continued to impress with a gutsy effort in Saturday's $400,000 First Lady (gr. II) to win a nose decision over a resolute Karen's Caper on the Keeneland turf course.
Cecil Peacock's dual grade I winner Brother Derek is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) following his runner-up finish to Lava Man in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), trainer Dan Hendricks revealed.
Deeds speak louder than words. In racing, sometimes it pays to take heed of what people do, not just what horses have done. So let's get right down to business and say that Nobiz Like Shobiz is going to win the Champage Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Ballydoyle-trained stars Dylan Thomas and Alexandrova will not compete in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, trainer Aidan O'Brien told the Racing Post Oct. 12. In another development, Ouija Board will pass the Champion Stakes (Eng-I) Oct. 14 and point for the Emirates Airline Breeders'Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
With all the talk about Bernardini and Lava Man following their final preps for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the name Invasor suddenly has become a mere whisper among the shouting. But for the people of Uruguay, it is their hero who is still the rightful king of Thoroughbred racing.
The Barclay Tagg-trained Nobiz Like Shobiz is readying for his close up in the Oct. 14 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The one-mile race will mark the son of Albert the Great's debut in stakes company.
Perfect Drift is the result of a union between a sire who has earned his way into the top ranks through sheer merit and a female family that, until he came along, had enjoyed no more than modest success in many years.
Garrett Gomez, who rode two Breeders' Cup World Championship winners last year at Belmont Park, has been named to ride Perfect Drift in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), trainer Murray Johnson said Tuesday.
It is safe to say there has never been more major stakes run and more major stars performing around the country than there were this past weekend. In the end, most of the Breeders' Cup World Championship races were clearly defined, but there was something missing in the aftermath of one of the races.
California-based Lava Man is scheduled to leave Tuesday for Keeneland Racecourse to prepare for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 and a possible showdown for Horse of the Year honors against likely favorite Bernardini.
Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Showing Up, who finished a solid third the Sept. 9 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) , will make his next start in Saturday's $200,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, and likely will skip the Breeders' Cup World Championships, trainer Barclay Tagg said Monday.
In the wake of Dylan Thomas' disappointing effort in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), it now possible that Coolmore and trainer Aidan O'Brien will shift gears and point for the Breeders' Cup Classic Presented by Dodge (gr. I) with their star miler George Washington.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux returned to Santa Anita Park Sunday to guide William Currin's 11-1 shot Stormello to victory in the $247,000 Norfolk Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 2-year-olds.
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