With the completion of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win
and You’re In,” races for 2015, I thought I'd look at the four horses to
win more than one Challenge race this year, Beholder, who won three; and
two-time winners Big Blue Kitten, Honor Code, and Wild Dude.
Henny Hughes—Leslie’s Lady by Tricky Creek
2015 Challenge races
won: TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a “Win and You’re In” to the Classic
(gr. I); Clement L. Hirsch H. (gr. I) at Del Mar and Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) at
Santa Anita Park, both “Win and You’re In” races to the Distaff (gr. I)
Beholder Benoit Photo
Already one of the most successful horses in Breeders’ Cup
history, Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder could be in the argument with Zenyatta
at the top of that category should she pull off a victory in this year’s
Classic. Consider that a Classic win against males would give Beholder
victories in the 2012 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), the 2013 Distaff, and a win
against males in the 2015 Classic.
That record would rival Zenyatta’s victories in the 2008
Ladies Classic (Distaff) and 2009 Classic along with her narrow loss in the
Beholder’s three Challenge race wins this year were all
grade I stakes, giving her nine career victories at the very top level with at
least one grade I win each year in four consecutive seasons: 2012, 2013, 2014,
and 2015. If all goes as planned, the two-time champion who was bred in
Kentucky by Clarkland Farm will be one of two surefire future Racing Hall of
Famers, along with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, in this year’s
A Look at This Year's Breeders' Cup Challenge Race Winners
Honor Code, by
A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat
2015 Challenge races
won: Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, a “Win and You’re In”
to the Classic, and the NYRA.com Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park,
a “Win and You’re In” to the Dirt Mile
Honor Code Coglianese Photos
Owned by Lane’s End Racing and breeder Dell Ridge Farm,
Kentucky-bred Honor Code made some history of his own in 2015, reaching new heights in
his 4-year-old season by winning two of New York’s biggest races, the Whitney
and Met Mile.
From the final crop
of A.P. Indy, Honor Code is just the ninth horse to win the Met Mile and
the Whitney in the same season, joining Tizway, 2011; In Excess, 1991; Criminal
Type, 1990; Carry Back, 1962; Kelso, 1961; Tom Fool, 1953; Devil Diver, 1944;
and Equipoise, 1932. The first six horses to complete the sweep (Equipoise
through Criminal Type) are all in the Racing Hall of Fame.
Behind a pair of
horses from his final crop, A.P. Indy has a chance for a memorable Breeders’
Cup as Honor Code is being pointed to the Classic and Got Lucky is preparing
for the Distaff.
Leading Sires by 2015 Breeders' Cup Challenge Race Winners
Big Blue Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy—Spent Gold, by Unaccounted
2015 Challenge races won: United Nations S. (gr. IT) at Monmouth
Park and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic S. (gr. I) at Belmont Park, both “Win and You’re
In” races to the Turf (gr. IT)
Big Blue Kitten Coglianese Photos
Ken and Sarah
Ramsey homebred Big Blue Kitten won a pair of grade I stakes in a single season
for the second time in his career this year, after accomplishing the same in
2013. In between his Challenge wins, Big Blue Kitten finished second by a neck
to The Pizza Man in the Arlington Million S. (gr. IT).
Now 7, the Kentucky-bred
seven-time stakes winner will try to improve on his eighth-place finish in the
2013 Turf at Santa Anita Park.
How far has the son of Kitten's Joy come? Back in 2011 Big
Blue Kitten raced in two maiden-claiming races and a claiming race in the first
three starts of his career. Nobody picked him up and he’s gone on to earn
$2,636,830 for the Ramseys.
Wild Dude, by Wildcat Heir—Courtly Choice, by Doneraile Court
2015 Challenge races won: Bing Crosby S. (gr. I) at Del Mar and
Santa Anita Sprint Championship S. (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, both “Win and
You’re In” races to the TwinSpires Sprint (gr. I)
Wild Dude Benoit Photo
While Rock Fall, Runhappy, and Private Zone, if his connections ultimately opt for the Sprint over the Dirt Mile (gr. I), figure to get most of the
attention ahead of this year’s Sprint, Southern California-based Wild Dude
certainly could crash the party. Trained by Racing Hall of Famer Jerry
Hollendorfer, Wild Dude’s past three races have been his two Challenge wins
along with a close second in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar.
Campaigned by his
trainer and Green Smith, Wild Dude was bred in Florida by Versatile
Thoroughbreds, making him the only multiple Challenge winner this season bred
outside of Kentucky.
Breeders' Cup Challenge Winners by State, Province, or Country Bred