Of 201 horses pre-entered to the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, 38 raced or trained at Keeneland in September or October.
House horse Wise Dan, the racing world’s two-time Horse of the Year, used the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) to set up his Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) campaign the past three seasons in a row. Although he is now sidelined, four of this year’s Shadwell contenders will attempt to take that route to the Mile.
Grand Arch - Rick Samuels
Grand Arch was second by a length to Wise Dan in the Oct. 4 Shadwell. He breezed four furlongs in :52 1/5 on Oct. 18 at Keeneland for trainer Brian Lynch.
Sayaad, third in the Shadwell for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and Kaigun, fourth for trainer Mark Casse, will go to the Mile along with Seek Again, who finished sixth in that event for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The Turf Sprint (gr. IT) is Kaigun’s second preference.
Also targeting the Mile is Tom Albertrani trainee Better Lucky, a 5-year-old mare who was second in the Oct. 4 First Lady Stakes (gr. IT). Her second preference is the Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I)
While no Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) contenders trained at Keeneland leading up to the big event, three runners will exit Keeneland runs to target the $2 million Distaff (gr. I).
Don't Tell Sophia won the 2014 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes - Anne M. Eberhardt
Oct. 5 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) winner Don’t Tell Sophia leads that group, with runner-up Ria Antonia and fourth-place Close Hatches Distaff-bound as well. Don’t Tell Sophia breezed four furlongs in :48 4/5 on Oct. 18 for trainer Phil Sims, while Ria Antonia went five furlongs in :59 4/5 on Oct. 17 for trainer Tom Amoss.
The female ranks are well-represented with runners who will head to California via Keeneland. First Lady (gr. IT) winner Dayatthespa heads to the Filly & Mare Turf while last year’s Filly & Mare Sprint runner-up Judy the Beauty has been training up to another run. Judy the Beauty went five furlongs in :57 4/5 for trainer Wesley Ward on Oct. 20. Dayatthespa’s second preference is the Mile.
Also targeting the DraftKings Filly & Mare Sprint are Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. II) winner Leigh Court, runner-up Southern Honey, and third-place finisher Stonetastic, along with Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) third-place finisher Thank You Marylou.
The Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) will have two contenders. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sends out Take Charge Brandi, who must recover from an eighth-place finish in the Oct. 3 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I), while Top Decile, runner-up by half a length in that spot to the now-sidelined Peace and War, will also contest the race.
A large group will head to the Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT), with Wesley Ward sending Del Mar Debutante (gr. IT) winner Sunset Glow to this spot. She worked five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 on the Keeneland turf Oct 20.
Rainha Da Bateria won the 2014 JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes - Keeneland Photo
JP Morgan Chase Jessamine (gr. IIIT) winner Rainha Da Bateria and runner-up Quality Rocks will also go in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Lukas has the impressive maiden winner Lady Zuzu, who took an Oct. 9 maiden special weight going a mile on the turf by 6 ¼ lengths, and trainer Dale Romans has Oct. 9 maiden winner Flying Tipat as well. Lady Zuzu’s second preference is the Juvenile Fillies.
The XpressBet Sprint (gr. I) will see Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (gr. III) winner Work All Week try for his first grade I, while grade II winner Bourbon Courage comes off an Oct. 3 optional claimer and worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 on Oct. 20 to secure his place. Bellarmine, fifth in an optional claimer on Oct. 18, was also pre-entered. Bourbon Courage’s second preference is the Dirt Mile (gr. I), which Golden Ticket will pursue. The latter, a Ken McPeek trainee, went five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on Oct. 18 to continue his preparations.
No Nay Never won the 2014 Woodford Stakes - Keeneland Photo
The Turf Sprint has Oct. 4 Woodford (gr. III) winner No Nay Never for Ward, along with Undrafted. No Nay Never worked five furlongs on the Keeneland lawn in 1:03 1/5 Oct. 20, while Undrafted went five on the dirt in :59 1/5 Oct. 19. Buffalo Trace Franklin County winner Free as a Bird and runner-up Ageless were also pre-entered, as was Woodford sixth-place finisher Marchman.
McPeek has Dixiana Bourbon (gr. IIIT) winner Lawn Ranger in the Juvenile Turf (gr. IT), and second-place finisher Danny Boy was also pre-entered by Romans. Danny Boy’s connections listed the Sentient Jet Juvenile (gr. I) as their second preference. Also going in the Juvenile Turf are Hootenanny, who went five furlongs on the turf in 1:01 2/5 on Oct. 20 for Ward, and Luck of the Kitten for the same trainer, who won the Oct. 5 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita. Majestico, fourth in the Bourbon for Lukas, is pre-entered as well.