Nov. 3 (UPI) — The 40th annual Breeders’ Cup World Championship will rightfully claim its name this weekend at Santa Anita, featuring many of the world’s best teams.
Despite the usual late-season retirements and untimely injuries, the field featured impressive players from Japan, England, Ireland, and Europe, competing against the best teams North America has to offer on dirt and turf. We will compete.
Friday’s program includes five Breeders’ Cup races, all for 2-year-old horses. On Saturday, nine championship events will be held, bringing together a wealth of talent. All are Grade I races.
The overall quality is evident in Saturday’s $6 million I Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, a featured race at the American Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.
The Classic lost three Belmont Stakes favorites, Travers Stakes G1 winner Arcangelo, Haskell Stakes G1 winner Joe Rocket Ride, and Kentucky Derby winner Mage, all to injury.
Still, there are this year’s Group 1 Dubai World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro, Group 2 UAE Derby winner Dharma Sotogake (both from Japan), and five American G1 winners.
The morning’s favorite horse was Arabian Night, a light stallion trained by Bob Baffert who sold for $2.3 million as a yearling. He won three of the four races and, ironically, finished third behind Joe Rocket Ride and Mage in the remaining races. He has the advantage of having a stable at Santa Anita, and he had his final practice for the Classic at Santa Anita on Monday.
“He’s healthy. He’s working well,” Baffert said. “He’s ready. We know it’s going to be a tough race, but if he brings an A match, I don’t really care who plays us. That’s why I’m focused on him.” It’s about guessing.”
Immediately behind Arabian Night on the morning line are Ushubate Soro and White Avario, who won the G1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga in his last outing.
Ushba Tesoro had an issue during gate training on Monday, and trainer Takagi said he would make adjustments. White Avario has been steadily improving, and assistant trainer Chip Dutlow said his connection is “as good as it seems. … We’re just going to keep moving forward.”
In the remaining fields, there is a good chance of hitting long odds on horses that would normally be strong favorites.
Christophe Lemaire’s Dharma outside jockey is 20-1 in the morning line, while Frankie Dettori’s Zandon is 12-1 after winning the Grade I Woodward Stakes in his previous outing. Jockeys Lemaire and Dettori are among the best jockeys in the world.
The $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff is open to fillies and mares, and only two fillies ran in this year’s Kentucky Oaks. That includes Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous, who is on the morning line for Saturday’s race at 8-1.
The favorite, Idiomatic, is a 4-year-old horse with developmental delays and has won four in a row and seven out of his last eight races. She has Grade I wins at Saratoga and Keeneland in her last two starts.
Also at the top of the morning line are Clairiere, who has finished 4th and 3rd in Distaff’s past two races, and Adair Manor, who is also trained by Baffert and has won five straight races.
Another multi-million dollar dirt race, the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint, is unusually light with just nine speedsters. Last year’s winner Elite Power will defend his crown but will be up against the horse Gunite, who beat him in his last outing.
These two are among Baffert’s three favorites, along with Speedboat Beach, Baffert’s other horse.
Also on what American horse racing calls the “main track” are the Big Ass Fun Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, each worth $1 million. . Defending champions Cody’s Wish and Goodnight Olive each return, and both are morning line favorites.
International teams will make their presence felt in Saturday’s turf race.
The $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 1/2 miles appears to be focused on invaders.
Horses to watch this morning include British and Irish Derby winner Auguste Rodin out of Ireland’s Coolmore Connection. King of Steel, the runner-up in the British Derby and recent G1 Kipco Champion Stakes winner. Group 1 Juddmonte International winner Mostadav. And Shahryar, the 2021 Japanese Derby winner who travels around the world.
The $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mare Turf will feature two international types at the top of the morning line. Inspiral, a five-time G1 winner, and Warm Heart, a progressive 3-year-old who won two G1 races in a row.
Among the local mares and mares, Italian-trained Chad Brown looks poised to lead the field as far as possible, but condition-wise, he doesn’t have the necessary lead to win this race. Maybe a little short of 1 1/4 miles.
The Euros, especially the Godolphin entries Mausi and Master of the Seas, would have been all the rage in the $2 million Grade I FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile if it weren’t for the presence of Japan’s Song Line (a 5-2 morning line). right. favorite.
The 5-year-old filly is a multiple G1 winner locally and won the Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia in 2022. She seems to be in great shape.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is set for 12 horses over five furlongs and is completely open.
The 9-2 favorite is the enchanting Live in the Dream, a 4-year-old who came out of nowhere to win York’s G1 Nunthorpe Stakes and finish second in Keeneland’s Grade II Woodford. He is a gelding.
His owners, trainers and jockeys are all beside themselves with excitement as they enter the top echelons of horse racing for the first time.
Friday’s 2-year-old race opens the door to future stardom. The winners of the $2 million Juvenile and $2 million Juvenile Fillies will be the de facto favorites for next year’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks, respectively.
Juvenile races are likely to be very competitive, but Tamara is the daughter of Beholder, who won the 2013 and 2016 Distaff at Santa Anita, the latter of which won by a narrow margin. He is one of the few odds favorites. Beyond her Songbird, an all-time classic.