Led by this year’s Triple Crown race winners Tiz the Law, Authentic and Swiss Skydiver; multiple Grade 1 winners Improbable and Maximum Security; and Irish Champion Stakes (G1) winner Magical (IRE), 201 horses, including 39 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The 37th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious two-day global event, consisting of 14 races with purses and awards totaling more than $31 million, will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7. There will be five Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Saturday.
The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN. Coverage begins on Nov. 6 on NBCSN from 2-6 p.m. ET. Live coverage continues on Nov. 7 on NBCSN from 12 -2:30 p.m. ET, and on NBC from 2:30-6 p.m. ET.
The $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 ¼ miles with a first-place owner’s prize of $3.12 million. On 13 occasions, the winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic also has been named Horse of the Year, and this year’s Classic will once again have ramifications on the coveted year-end title.
The depth and quality of the Classic makes the favorite tough to decipher, but Sackatoga Stable’s 3-year-old Tiz the Law could emerge as a tepid public choice off his overall body of work, which includes dominant Grade 1 wins in the Belmont Stakes (G1) in June, and the Travers (G1) at Saratoga in August. The son of Constitution was second at odds-on in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Sept. 5 for trainer Barclay Tagg.
Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse.com, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing Stable’s Authentic upset Tiz the Law in the Derby, and is part of a three-pronged attack, with Improbable and Maximum Security, that will attempt to give trainer Bob Baffert his fourth Classic win. The son of Into Mischief earned a berth into the race when he won Monmouth Park’s “Win and You’re In” TVG.com Haskell (G1) in July and was second, beaten a neck, by Swiss Skydiver in the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1), also a “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Baffert’s Classic victories all have been by 3-year-olds, including 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who captured the race at Keeneland, along with Bayern in 2014 and Arrogate in 2016.
Peter Callahan’s 3-year-old filly Swiss Skydiver defeated Authentic by a head in the Preakness. Trained by Kenny McPeek, she has been pre-entered for both the Classic and for the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), into which the daughter of Daredevil earned an automatic bid by winning the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga in August. Swiss Skydiver, who has won five races in nine starts this year, finished second against males in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland in July. Should Swiss Skydiver run in the Classic, it would mark the first time that the race would feature three different Triple Crown race winners from the same year. Swiss Skydiver has a first preference for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). In 2009, Zenyatta became the only female to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
WinStar Farm, CHC Inc., and SF Racing’s Improbable leads an outstanding group of older horses. The 4-year-old son of City Zip was voted the No. 1 horse in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings this year, bolstered by two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race victories, taking Saratoga’s Whitney (G1) and the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 26. He began his climb to the top of the division with a victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita earlier in the year.
Gary and Mary West, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier’s Maximum Security earned a free berth into the Classic when he won Del Mar’s “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic (G1) in August. The 4-year-old son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day has won three of four starts this year, suffering his only defeat when finishing second to Improbable in the Awesome Again.
G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat, who captured the “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs in June, could also be a major factor in the Classic. The 7-year-old son of Smart Strike has not run since finishing third in the Whitney at even money, after having his chances severely compromised because of a disastrous start. Tom’s d’Etat, who also won the Oaklawn Mile in April, is trained by Al Stall Jr., who saddled Blame to win the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic over Zenyatta. Allied Racing Stable’s By My Standards has been consistent all year, finishing first or second in his six starts, which includes victories in the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds, the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and the Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4.
“We are delighted with the overall quality and depth of all the Breeders’ Cup fields and thank horsemen here in the U.S. and from around the world for pre-entering,” said Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “It’s a true testament to the interest and excitement of participating in the World Championships and the resiliency of the Thoroughbred industry. Equally important, despite a challenging year for everyone, we are pleased to keep our purse levels at $31 million, the same as last year. This would not be possible without the help and support of many, especially our breeders and nominators who we sincerely thank for their continued support.”
Monomoy Girl Goes for Her Second Longines Distaff
Should the connections of Swiss Skydiver opt for the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), she will face Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl, who won the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs in 2018. Run at 1 1/8 miles, a second Longines Distaff victory would be a remarkable comeback story for the 5-year-old daughter of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar, who missed her entire 4-year-old season after a bout of colic and a pulled muscle. Monomoy Girl, 12-for-14 lifetime, with six Grade 1 wins, is 3-for-3 this year, including Churchill’s La Troienne (G1) on Sept. 4. She is trained by Brad Cox.
Three “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifiers add to the depth of the Distaff. Alice Bamford and Michael Tabor’s Harvest Moon earned a Distaff berth when she won Santa Anita’s Zenyatta (G2) on Sept. 27 for trainer Simon Callaghan, while Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Martin Schwartz, and CHC Inc’s Valiance did the same in Keeneland’s Oct. 4 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) for trainer Todd Pletcher. Grade 1 winners Ce Ce and Ollie’s Candy also have been pre-entered.
One of the most memorable renewals of the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), came in 2018 at Churchill Downs when Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Magical (IRE) took on the mighty Enable (GB) in an epic battle to the wire, with the latter prevailing by three-quarters of a length. Magical is back this year and has had a brilliant career, highlighted by seven Group 1 wins among her 12 victories. This year, the 5-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE), trained by Aidan O’Brien, has won three Group 1 races, including the “Win and You’re In” Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. O’Brien, who has saddled six winners of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, also has pre-entered Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (G1) winner Mogul (GB).
John Gosden, who trained the recently retired Enable throughout her remarkable career, brings over Godolphin LLC’s 4-year-old Lord North (IRE), who captured the “Win and You’re In” Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. The Dermot Weld-trained 4-year-old Tarnawa (IRE) has won all three of her starts this year for HH Aga Khan Studs, including the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1).
Among the American leaders, LNJ Foxwoods’ 5-year-old gelding United finished second by a head to subsequent Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar in last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita. This year, United, trained by Richard Mandella, has won four of five starts, including the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2) on Sept. 26. From the East Coast comes Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Channel Maker, who has won two straight for trainer Bill Mott and earned an automatic berth into the race when he won Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (G1) in August. The 7-year-old son of 2007 Turf winner English Channel has been a divisional stalwart for the past several years, and has seemingly turned a corner of late, as he also won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park Oct. 3.
FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Brimming with Depth
The $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1) is shaping up to be arguably the deepest of any of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races, with Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables’ defending champion Uni (GB) leading the way. Trained by Chad Brown, Uni took the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland in her last start, which was her first win of the year in three starts. A top competitor from Canada is Blue Heaven Farm’s 7-year-old mare Starship Jubilee, a former claiming horse who has won five of six races this year. Trained by Kevin Attard, the Florida-bred daughter of Indy Wild earned a free starting position into the FanDuel Mile by winning the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) on Sept. 19. Stud RDI and Bonne Chance Farm’s 4-year-old Ivar (BRZ) won Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Oct. 3.
From Europe, Qatar Racing’s Kameko won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas (G1) in June and captured the Shadwell Joel Stakes (G2) at Newmarket on Sept. 26 for trainer Andrew Balding. Flaxman Holdings, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Circus Maximus (IRE), who earned a free berth into the Mile by taking the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot in June, finished fourth in the Mile last year for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s One Master (GB), who won the Prix de la Foret (G1) at ParisLongchamp, also has been pre-entered.
Brown Holds Two Aces in Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf
Brown may have a formidable hand in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), at 1 3/16 miles, in e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Rushing Fall, who is undefeated in three starts this year, and Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie (IRE), who won the race in 2018 en route to a divisional championship.
Rushing Fall, a 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar in 2017, has had a remarkable career, as she has won a Grade 1 race at 2, 3, 4 and 5-years-old, and is 11-for-14 lifetime. She has also shown a love for the Keeneland turf course, where she is 5-for-6 lifetime, including a repeat in the Jenny Wiley (G1) in July. Rushing Fall, who has not started since winning Saratoga’s Diana (G1) Aug. 23, will race beyond 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Sistercharlie, a 6-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie (IRE), was Champion Turf Female in 2018 after winning the Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs and was third in the race last year at Santa Anita.
Two other “Win and You’re In” qualifiers also pre-entered in Allen Stable’s homebred Civil Union, who has four straight wins for trainer Shug McGaughey, including the Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park Oct. 10, and George Krikorian’s homebred Mucho Unusual, who won the Rodeo Drive (G1) Sept. 26 at Santa Anita for trainer Tim Yakteen.
From Europe, Mrs. A.M. Swinburn’s 4-year-old Audarya (FR) won the Darley Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville in August, and was recently third in the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1), while the Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper (IRE), won the Moyglare Jewels Blandford Stakes (G2) at The Curragh on Sept. 13.
Sprint Marks Vekoma’s Long Awaited Return
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), at 6 furlongs, showcases some of the world’s fastest dirt horses, with R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma leading the way. The 4-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) is perfect in three starts this year for trainer George Weaver, including the “Win and You’re In” Carter (G1) at Belmont in June and “Win and You’re In” Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park in his last start, July 4. Vekoma earned a free berth into the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) with his Met Mile win, and has also been pre-entered in that race.
Four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series winners also have been pre-entered: Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider, and John Xitco’s Collusion Illusion, who won the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar in August for trainer Mark Glatt; Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s C Z Rocket, who is 5-for-5 since being claimed by trainer Peter Miller and won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) on Sept. 27; Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Diamond Oops, who won over the track and distance in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland on Oct. 2, and Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred Firenze Fire, who won Belmont’s Vosburgh (G2) on Sept. 26 for trainer Kelly Breen.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Frank’s Rockette, a 3-year-old filly, trained by Bill Mott, has won four straight, including the Gallant Bloom (G2) at Belmont Park in her last start by 7 ¼ lengths.
Two Kentucky-bred horses based in Japan — Jasper Prince and Pingxiang — have been pre-entered, and both are trained by Hideyuki Mori. The 5-year-old Jasper Prince won the Enif Stakes at Chukyo on Sept. 12, while Pingxiang has won two of four starts this year, including an allowance victory at Nagoya on Sept. 30.
Joel Politi’s $2 million earner Serengeti Empress secured her berth in the 7-furlong $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) with a gate-to-wire victory in the Ballerina (G1), a “Win and You’re In” series race at Saratoga Race Course in August. The five-time graded stakes winner trained by Tom Amoss will have a rematch with Lothenbach Stables’ homebred filly Bell’s the One, who beat her by a nose in the Derby City Distaff (G1) on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. All 11 of the fillies and mares pre-entered won at least one graded stake this year and four of them won Grade 1 races.
As usual, there is no shortage of contenders in the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), which drew 23 pre-entries. Two 3-year-olds, Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector, fourth in the Preakness (G1) after posting four straight wins, and Grupo Seven
C Stable’s Jesus’ Team, third in the Jim Dandy (G2) and the Preakness, figure to be challengers. Klaravich Stables’ Kelso Handicap (G2) winner Complexity, Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Mr Freeze, fresh from a win in the Fayette (G2), and Gary Barber’s 2019 Preakness Stakes winner War of Will are in this deep field. C Z Rocket, who captured the “Win and You’re In” Pat O’Brien, also has been pre-entered as a second choice in the Dirt Mile.
The three horses who earned starting positions in the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), were pre-entered into the race, which attracted 22 prospects for the 5 1/2-furlong race. Team Valor’s homebred Oleksandra (AUS), trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, won the Jaipur (G1) by a neck on June 20 at Belmont Park. Breeze Easy’s Imprimis, trained by Joe Orseno, won the Runhappy Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 12 by a neck over the dead-heated runners-up Front Run the Fed and Bombard, who also were pre-entered. Bearstone Stud homebred Glass Slippers (GB) received her free starting position into the Turf Sprint with a half-length victory in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (G1) on Sept. 13 at The Curragh. Glass Slippers, a 4-year-old filly trained by Kevin Ryan, won the 2019 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (G1) and was second by a neck as the 8-5 favorite in that race this year on Oct. 3.
Gary Barber’s 5-year-old mare Got Stormy, runner-up as the 3-1 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year, has won her last two starts, both in sprints on grass. Keeneland-loving Leinster, who is 3-1-0 in four turf starts at the track, won the Woodford (G2) over the course and distance on Oct. 3.
Jackie’s Warrior is one to catch in TVG Juvenile
The $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1), run at a 1 1/16 miles, headlines Future Stars Friday, in which all five Breeders’ Cup races on the program are for 2-year-olds.
Kirk and Judy Robison’s Jackie’s Warrior, unbeaten in four starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, earned an automatic starting berth into the race when he wired Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Champagne (G1) on Oct. 10. The son of Maclean’s Music also led throughout in the Saratoga Special (G2) in August and the Hopeful (G1) in September, and will go for a championship when he tries two turns for the first time.
Two undefeated “Win and You’re In” Challenge winners also would be in line for a championship. Godolphin’s homebred Essential Qualitymay hold an edge as he won over the track and 1 1/16-mile distance in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) on Oct. 3 for trainer Brad Cox, while Albaugh Family Stables’ Sittin On Go won the Sept. 5 Iroquois (G3) going a one-turn mile for trainer Dale Romans.
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), run at 1 1/16 miles, sports a quartet of undefeated runners, with Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing and Nehoc Stables’ Simply Ravishing getting a slight edge based on her 6 ¼-length track and distance victory in the “Win and You’re In” Alcibiades (G1) on Oct. 2 for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Zedan Racing Stable’s Princess Noor could be favored for trainer Bob Baffert, as the daughter of Not This Time is also 3-for-3, with easy wins in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) in September and Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” Chandelier (G1) on Sept. 26, while two other “Win and You’re In” Challenge winners have credentials to be top contenders, too. Siena Farm and trainer Tim Hamm’s Dayoutoftheoffice won Belmont’s Frizette (G1) on Oct. 10 to improve to 3-for-3, and Albaugh Family Stables’ Girl Daddy won the Pocahontas (G3) on Sept. 3 at Churchill for Romans to stay perfect in two starts. Vequist, who won Saratoga’s Spinaway (G1) in September for trainer Butch Reid, also has a strong resume.
Friday’s program featuring 2-year-olds has three turf races, which drew a total of 66 pre-entered horses, with 12 of them cross-entered in two races.
Trainer Wesley Ward will try for his second straight victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at 5 ½ furlongs.Ward, who won last year’s race with Four Wheel Drive, delivered 10 of the 24 pre-entries. Leading the five Ward horses with the Juvenile Turf Sprint as first preference is Golden Pal, the Ranlo Investments’ colt who was second by a neck in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot and won the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga.
Ward has four pre-entered in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America (G1) at 1 mile. His quartet is led by Breeze Easy’s Outadore, an unbeaten son of Outwork, who won the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs by 1 ¾ lengths on Sept. 12. Eclipse Thoroughbreds and Gary Barber’s Ontario-bred Gretzky the Great is part of a group of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners entered in the Juvenile Turf. Other “Win and You’re In” pre-entrants are Shadwell Stable’s Mutasaabeq and three Europeans: Alpha Racing 2020’s Cadillac (IRE), Marc Chan’s New Mandate (IRE), trained by Ralph Beckett, and Sealiway (FR), owned by Le Haras De La Gousserie & Guy Pariente and trained by Frederic Rossi.
Three U.S.-based fillies, Stonestreet Stable’s Campanelle and Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali, and Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber and the Elkstone Group’s Aunt Pearl (IRE) are likely to attract a lot of attention in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), also run at 1 mile. Campanelle, trained by Ward, won the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in June and the Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in August. Christophe Clement trains Plum Ali. The daughter of First Samurai debuted with a win at Saratoga, won the Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs and rolled to a 2 ¼-length win in the Miss Grillo (G2) at Belmont Park. Aunt Pearl, trained by Brad Cox, took the “Win and You’re In” JPMorgan Jessamine Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.***
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races with the exception of the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, which is limited to 12 starters. Breeders’ Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based on (i) Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners, (ii) a point system, and (iii) the judgment of an international panel of racing experts. The field selection system was implemented following the taking of pre-entries on Monday, Oct. 26, to officially rank the oversubscribed fields. The Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel (the “Panel”) ranked all the horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races as described above. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of Panel preference.
There will be up to four (4) also-eligible horses for each Championship race, except for the Dirt Mile which will have up to six (6). The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Panel’s order of preference for each Championship race that is oversubscribed at the time of pre-entry. Scratch time for Friday Championship races will be 8 a.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 6, and scratch time for Saturday’s Championship races will be at 8 a.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 7.***
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and features a total of $31 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.