A tidbit to start today's blog: The three sires currently or formerly based in the U.S. to already have two different horses win Breeders' Cup Challenge races this year all boast victories in the King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) as Tale of the Cat won the seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds at Saratoga in 1997 (when it was grade II), Hard Spun won the race 10 years later, and Henny Hughes won the previous year in 2006.
Leading Sires by 2015 Breeders' Cup Challenge Winners
Let's look at the first five sires to have multiple challenge winners this year.
Dubawi: The 13-year-old son of Dubai Millennium stood this season for £125,000 at Darley's Kildangan Stud. He boasts 10 group/grade I winners this season and ranked second on Europe's leading sire list through Sept. 2. He does not yet have a Breeders' Cup winner.
His two Challenge race winners are Arabian Queen, who upset males including previously undefeated classic winner Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International (Eng-I) to earn a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I); and Postponed, who secured a spot in the Longines Turf (gr. IT) with his win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I). Neither horse has previously started in the U.S.
Hard Spun: The versatile grade I winner and classic-placed 11-year-old son of Danzig stood the 2015 season for $35,000 at Darley Kentucky. Through Sept. 2, he ranked 10th on the 2015 general sire list. The runner-up from the 2007 Classic is looking for his first Breeders' Cup winner as a sire.
Hard Spun - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo
His two 2015 Challenge race winners are Gold Cup at Santa Anita (gr. I) victor Hard Aces, who qualified to the Classic with that win; and Big John B, who earned a spot in the Longines Turf with his Del Mar Handicap (gr. II) win. Last year Big John B finished ninth in the Turf.
Henny Hughes: The two-time grade I winner who finished second in the 2005 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), a 12-year-old son of Hennessy, formerly stood in Kentucky and stood this season for ¥3,000,000 at Yushon Stallion Station in Japan. He ranks 39th on the general sire list.
Henny Hughes - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo
Henny Hughes leads all sires in Breeders' Cup Challenge race wins as one of his two winners, Beholder, boasts victories in the TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) and the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. I). The Pacific Classic win lands her a spot in the Classic and the Clement L. Hirsh carries a Longines Distaff (gr. I) bid. Beholder already has won two Breeders' Cup races, taking the 2013 Distaff and the 2012 Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
His other winner this year is Merry Meadow, winner of the Princess Rooney Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, which earns her a spot in the Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
Automatic Bids Earned Through Breeders' Cup Challenge Wins
Tale of the Cat: The 21-year-old son of Storm Cat stood the 2015 season for $30,000 at Ashford Stud and ranks 28th on the general sire list. While Tale of a Cat is looking for his first Breeders' Cup winner, his multiple champion Gio Ponti finished second to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic and second in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). His champion 2-year-old filly of 2013, She's a Tiger, actually finished first in that year's Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) but was disqualified to second.
Tale of the Cat - Ashford Stud Photo
Hoping to break through this year are Challenge winners Appealing Tale, who secured a spot in the Dirt Mile (gr. I) with his victory in the Pat O'Brien Stakes (gr. I); and Favorite Tale, who is ensured a spot in the Sprint (gr. I) off his Smile Sprint Stakes (gr. II) victory.
Automatic Bids by State, Province, or Country
Teofilo: The 11-year-old son of Galileo stood the Northern Hemisphere season this year at Darley's Kildangan Stud, where he commanded a fee of €50,000. Through Sept. 2 he ranked sixth on Europe's sire list for flat racing. The two-time group I winner didn't race in the U.S. and he's looking for his first Breeders' Cup winner.
The two Challenge race winners for Teofilo this year are Irish classic winner Pleascach, who punched her Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) ticket with a win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I); and New Zealand-bred Kermadec who secured a spot in the Mile with his victory in the Doncaster Mile (Aus-I).