Breeders' Cup is Rapidly Approaching
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are right around the corner, and everyone is anticipating the season’s grand finale to be run at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4-5. It’s a fun time of year for us since a lot of the West Point Partners gather for a chance to see the best horses in the sport, both in actual competition and during morning training in the final days leading up to the big event.
The Breeders’ Cup is every racing fan’s dream - a barrage of phenomenal talent. The top owners, trainers, and jockeys come into town to take a shot at two days of high-stakes competition. European runners ship in from overseas. North America’s top Thoroughbreds converge. Everywhere you turn, there are horses you’ve followed and come to respect all season.
With 15 races between Friday and Saturday, there’s something for everyone at the Breeders’ Cup. Turf, dirt, long, short, young, old - you name it, they’ve got it. Some races will draw more attention than others due to their impact on Eclipse Award honors, because we’ll see the winners competing in key races next year, or because great stars lead the lineup.
That’s definitely the case with three specific races - the Classic, the Mile, and the Juvenile. The Classic will determine Horse of the Year, the Mile features the reappearance of two turf stars, and the Juvenile could produce next year’s Kentucky Derby winner.
Let’s face it, Havre de Grace is no Zenyatta. But the drama provided by “Girl takes on the Boys” is something we love to see in racing, and it takes a sportsman to step up to the plate and run a filly against the game’s top males. After her domination over the boys in the Woodward, it’s a cinch that Havre de Grace would romp in the Ladies’ Classic, especially after the defection of horses like Blind Luck and Zazu. Putting her into the Classic is a bold move that indicates the confidence her connections have in her ability - and the racing world gets to benefit from a great show when she takes on the likes of Uncle Mo, Flat Out (a talented son of Flatter), Tizway, and Stay Thirsty.
If it weren’t for a couple of precocious females, Gio Ponti would have two Breeders’ Cup victories on his record. Think about it: second by one length to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, second by 1 ¾ lengths to Goldikova in the 2010 edition of the Mile. But what’s great about this old-timer is that he hasn’t lost it - he won his second edition of the Shadwell Turf Mile last time out - and he’s sure to provide a thrilling challenge when the champion European turf mare makes a bid for an unprecedented fourth Breeders’ Cup Mile in a row.
Esther Marr of The Blood-Horse wrote a nice piece about the Seabiscuit-like beginnings of Union Rags, a son of Dixie Union who is the likely favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This is a fascinating story about how even the smallest of breeders can have a chance at stardom, and along with all the pomp and circumstance, that’s definitely part of what the Breeders’ Cup is all about.
Goldikova winning 2010 Mile: