The Breeders Cup 2012 World Championships at Santa Anita is just over three weeks away. With the date closing in quickly, that means the Breeders Cup Challenge as part of the Win and You’re In series is coming to an end. Upon the conclusion of the next four days, we will have a complete list of winners who qualify for their respective races. Five races remain at three tracks in three different countries.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 11, 2012
Keeneland race course in Lexington, Kentucky will hold the $150,000 J.P. Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G3) for two year old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
A field of 12 with one on the also eligible includes three siblings from the popular sire Kitten’s Joy.
The most notable being the Michael Maker trained Always Kitten. In two starts, she’s finished 2nd in a maiden race at Saratoga, then came back to take the Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs on September 8. Graham Motion brings Kitten’s Point in this race after posting a maiden debut win at Presque Isles Downs on September 22.
Wesley Ward will saddle a pair with Sunset Time as his most legitimate chance. The chestnut filly by Johannesburg finally broke her maiden at Kentucky Downs on September 8 after coming close on four other occasions at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park and Saratoga. He won by 6 1/4 lengths after sitting back in 5th most of the race.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux hops off Sunset Time for the Wayne Catalano trained Oscar Party. After a 7th and 3rd in two starts at Saratoga, the Dixie Union filly won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes on September 15.
WINNER: Moonwalk, Trainer Dale Romans, Jockey Corey Lanerie
FRIDAY OCTOBER 13, 2012
Newcastle race course in the United Kingdom will hold the EMAAR Middle Park (G3) for two year old colts and geldings going 6 furlongs on the turf. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint.
The 12 horse field will feature the undefeated Reckless Abandon. The Clive Cox trained colt by Exchange Rate is a perfect 4 for 4 with Group wins in the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville, Prix Robert Papin (G2) at Maisons-Laffitte and Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Ascot.
His most notable challengers will be Blaine (GB), winner of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes (G2) and now sitting with 2 wins in 2 starts, the Aidan O’Brien trained George Vancouver who finished 2nd to Reckless Abandon in the Darley Prix Morny, Moohaajim (IRE) winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on September 22 and Master of War (GB) winner at Newbury in the Rose Bowl Stakes.
WINNER: Reckless Abandon, Trainer Clive Cox, Jockey Gerald Mosse
SUNDAY OCTOBER 14, 2012
It’s Super Sunday at Woodbine race track in Toronto, Ontario. $3,000,000 in purse money will be awarded to winners of the following three races.
$500,000 – NEARCTIC STAKES (G1)
The race is for three year olds and up going 6 furlongs on the turf. Winner gets an automatic bid into the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.
A field of 11 that is as wide open of a $500,000 race that we’ve seen in some time. Only two horses have won a graded race in 2012.
One is the local five year old Big Band Sound trained by Daniel Vella who won the seven furlongs Play the King Stakes (G2) at Woodbine on August 26 by 2 1/2 lengths. It was his first career graded win and snapped his streak of four straight runner-up performances. His latest race was 6th in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1). The return to sprint should get him back on the board.
The other graded winner this year is European filly Fire Lily (IRE). The David Wachman trained three year old by Dansili won the 6 furlongs Phoenix Sprint Stakes (G3) at Ascot over Gordon Lord Byron (IRE) who just won the Qatar Prix de la Foret (G1) at Longchamps last weekend. She also won the Ballyogan Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown going 6 furlongs.
Other notables in this race include six year old Super Chunky who hasn’t won this year but has finished 2nd and 3rd in races such as the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes and Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap. He normally runs 5 or 5 1/2 furlongs, but the additional 1/2 furlong shouldn’t be a negative.
Hammers Terror trained by Mike Stidham has won two stakes races this year, Charlie Barley Stakes at Woodbine and Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury.
Grand Adventure returns to the Nearctic where he finished 4th last year, then 10th in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. He missed almost 10 months before finishing 4th in the Play the King Stakes. He has trained well after his first race back and should be a factor.
WINNER: Next Question, Trainer Michael Trombetta, Jockey Ramon Dominguez
$1,000,000 – E.P. TAYLOR STAKES (G1)
This race is for fillies and mares, three year olds and up going 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Winner gets an automatic bid into the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
This field of 13 has a nice mixture of North American and European contenders. A nice preparation race for the Breeders Cup.
The Richard Fahey trained Barefoot Lady (IRE) had only one win in 13 tries in Europe but is 1 for 1 in North America. She won the Canadian Stakes (G2) at Woodbine on September 16.
Dream Peace (IRE) finished 3rd in this race last year for trainer Robert Collet. She went back to Europe and was given the Winter off. She returned to finish 4th and 8th in respective Group 1 and 3 races in France and Singapore. The now Chad Brown trained filly has raced twice in the US finishing 3rd in the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and 2nd in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park.
After a stretch of five races where she finished between 3rd and 5th against strong competition like Snow Fairy, Giofra and Solemia, Siyouma (IRE) finally broke through and captured the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) at Newmarket on September 29. This will be her first race in North America for trainer Francois Doumen.
The three year old filly Princess Highway is a two-time Group winner already and is coming 7th place finish in the Qatar Prix Vermeille (G1) on September 16 at Longchamps. She had a rough trip and was beaten by several multiple group winners such as winner Shareta, Galikova, Sagawara and recent Arc winner Solemia.
Ron McAnally will give All Star Heart her second consecutive start at Woodbine after posting a 2nd place effort in the Canadian Stakes. Prior to that she finished 2nd in the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) at del Mar in August.
Kapitale (GER) missed 10 months from last October in Rome and returned to action in August for the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park where she finished 4th. The four year old filly by Dubawi (IRE) and trained by Andreas Wohler finished 4th again in the Canadian Stakes.
WINNER: Siyouma (IRE), Trainer Francois Doumen, Jockey Gerald Mosse
$1,500,000 – PATTISON CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL (G1)
This race is for three year olds and up going 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Winner gets an automatic bid into the Breeders Cup Turf.
As with the E.P. Taylor Stakes, this race will feature a solid combination or European and North American contingents. Trainer Aidan O’Brien will saddle his three year old budding star Imperial Monarch (IRE). Son of the great sire Galileo (IRE) will make his first start across the water after posting 3 wins in 4 tries in Europe. He comes off a win in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (G1) at Longchamps on July 14. He also won the Bet365 Classic Trial (G3) at Sandown in April.
The five year old Mike Bell trained Wigmore Hall (IRE) had a terrible trip in his 7th place finish in the Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington Park in August, but came back with a solid effort in winning the Northern Dancer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine on September 16. That made it back to back years. In the last 13 months (11 races) those are his only two wins. In 9 other races at Ascot, Meydan, York, Chester and Longchamps, he’s only managed to finish in the top three once. That was 3rd in the BetFair Huxley Stakes (G3) at Chester in May. He does like Woodbine though.
The five year old Joshua Tree (IRE) trained by Marco Botto comes into this race off back to back solid performances. He won the Darley Prix Kergorlay (G2) at Deauville in August and finished 3rd beaten just one length to Meandre (FR) and Orfevre in the Qatar Prix Foy (G2) at Longchamps on September 16.
Air Support found the winner’s circle for the first time in 15 months when he won the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on September 8. He won the Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs on July 16, 2011. It doesn’t sound as bad as it seems as the four year old son of Smart Strike missed nearly nine months after the win at Colonial. Upon his return, the Shug McGaughey trainee finished 2nd in the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes and United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park.
The six year old Bill Mott trained Al Khali had a roller coaster ride all throughout 2011 and early 2012, but seems to have some consistency as of late. He doesn’t have any wins to show, but 3rd in the United Nations Stakes, 2nd in the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1) and Northern Dancer has him primed for a big run here.
Forte Dei Marmi (GB) is trained by local veteran trainer Roger Attfield. He won the Sky Dancer Stakes (G2) at Woodbine in August then 3rd beaten a length in the Northern Dancer. The six year old by Selkirk seems to be rounding back into form after missing several months over the Winter.
Scalo (GB) is an interesting horse here as he hasn’t won a race since winning three in a row in late 2010 and 2011 (one Group 1 and two Group 2 races) in Europe. He’s missed considerable time between 2010-2011, then again from late 2011-2012. He popped up in the Sky Dancer and finished 3rd, then came back to take 4th in the Northern Dancer. It will be his third race back off the layoff and has trained very well.
WINNER: Joshua Tree (IRE), Trainer Marco Botti, Jockey Lanfranco Dettori
Click here to view the complete list of winners from beginning to end for the Breeders Cup Challenge Series.