Days after the Washington Nationals captured their first World Series in franchise history, a number of owners and trainers will be seeking world titles of their own this weekend when Santa Anita Park in Southern California hosts the latest edition of the Breeders Cup World Championships on both turf and dirt.
Friday’s card will focus primarily on the top two-year-olds in sprints and routes on both turf and dirt, while Saturday will offer the more traditional array of events primarily for older runners on both turf and dirt. Numerous division titles will certainly be decided on both days as Eclipse Award voters will certainly be watching intently throughout both days.
In the first Breeders Cup race on the Saturday card, the Grade I Filly-Mare Sprint, sophomore star Covfefe will tangle with proven older commodities Come Dancing and Spiced Perfection, who owns a Grade I win over the strip, and fellow soph Bellafina who cuts back in distance. Covfefe looms the likely favorite despite her age and having drawn the rail, while Come Dancing arrives off two graded stakes scores in New York for trainer Carlos Martin.
Two races later in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, sophomores Improbable, Mr. Money and Omaha Beach, all of which can still make a case for division honors in a suspect group of three-year-old males, will tackle proven miler Coal Front in one of the more intriguing races on the day. Omaha Beach would have been the favorite in the Kentucky Derby but scratched belatedly and Improbable ended up assuming the favorite’s role.
One race later in the Breeders Cup Filly-Mare Turf, American star Sistercharlie arrives having won six straight Grade I races for trainer Chad Brown and fellow Patriot Mrs Sippy based at Fair Hill for trainer Graham Motion, will tackle a stellar cast of European invaders iridessa, Fleeting, Bellisbon Brrok, Castle Lady, Villa Marina and Fanny Logan. Sistercharlie looms the solid favorite in this spot, but the Euros have done well in this event and any of them may be preferable on Saturday.
Then one race later in the contentious Breeders Cup Sprint, Mitole should garner the favorite’s role having already scored in the Forego, the Met Mile and the Churchill Downs, but Imperial Hint will get ample support off his latest Grade I score as will Catalina Cruiser and Shancelot. Firenze Fire was second to Imperial Hint in the Vosburgh last month at Belmont Park and is a tempting play at his 12-1 morning line price here.
Two races later in the Breeders Cup Distaff, Midnight Bisou will easily assume the favorite’s role ans will be difficult to overtake in this spot, but Paradise Woods, Serengeti Empress, Dunbar Road and Blue Prize all merit upset chances. Elate, who is in the chase for divisional honors with Midnight Bisou, opted to tackle male rivals later on the card in the Classic.
Speaking of the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic, one race after American turf star Bricks And Mortar faces off with Euros Anthony Van Dyck and Old Persian in the Turf, a moderately talented group that includes Yoshida, Elate, Higher Power, McKinzie, Mongolian Groom, Vino Rosso and Code Of Honor will meet in the second day feature with division honors and potentially horse of the year on the line.
An upset score by Elate would certainly vault her past Midnight Bisou for champion older female and possibly horse of the year, while Code OF Honor could garner champion three-year-old male and horse of the year with a victory in this affair. The others will look to stake their claim to divisional honors among older boys and possibly horse of the year on a superb Saturday card that will run well past sunset on the east coast.