Breeders' Cup Bound

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Sorry for the lack of Maiden Watch updates for the past days, I have been preoccupied with the Breeders' Cup. Hopefully, things will return to normal next week. Speaking of the Breeders' Cup, in this blog I'll take a look at the Maiden Watch horses in the Breeders' Cup and include some photos of them on the track at Churchill Downs. A good showing by Bernardini's offspring in the next two days will propel him to the top of the freshman sire standings.

Breeders' Cup Entries

Friday, November 5

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. II)

Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat - Abba Gold by Devil's Bag) is our hope for the mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. II), and our only entrant not by Bernardini. Post time is 4:50 PM ET. She finished 8th in her debut, a 4.5 furlong contest on the dirt at Churchill Downs. Switched to the turf for her second start, she won nicely at a mile at Ellis Park on July 17. She then ran in the 1 1/16 mile P. G. Johnson Stakes on the Saratoga turf on September 1, finishing 2nd. Most recently, she rolled to victory in the 1 1/16 mile JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes on the turf at Keeneland Watch the Replay. She really looked nice taking that one. Kathmanblu most recently worked on the Keeneland turf, going 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 in company with Turf Sprint contender Bridgetown. Kathmanblu has been galloping strongly at Churchill Downs, according to reports. Kathmanblu is out of stakes-placed Abba Gold, who was a winner at 2. Abba Gold earned $179,732, and has produced additional winner Draaz. Abba Gold is a half sister to 6 winners, including grade I winner Friendly Michelle.

Kathmanblu - Photo by Mathea Kelley

The favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf is Winter Memories (El Prado (IRE) - Memories of Silver by Silver Hawk), who is a perfect 2 for 2, and who won the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. III) at a mile and a sixteenth on yielding turf at Belmont on October 3. The Europeans should be respected as well, including group III winner Together (IRE) (Galileo (IRE) - Shadow Song (IRE) by Pennekamp), who has already defeated Maiden Watch filly Theyskens' Theory. Another interesting entrant is Wyomia (Vindication - Beyond the Sun by Kingmambo), winner of the Mazarine Stakes (Can-III) on the Woodbine Polytrack on October 9. She was 5th in her only start on turf. I like Kathmanblu's chances in here, because she has been improving with every start, and showed nice turn of foot over firm ground at Keeneland. Read more about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf here.

Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)

Bernardini fillies Theyskens' Theory (Bernardini - Heat Lightning by Summer Squall) and A Z Warrior (Bernardini - Carson Jen by Carson City) meet in the 1 1/16 mile Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Indian Gracy has been scratched, leaving a field of 12. Post time is 6:50 PM ET. After finishing 9th in her debut on July 9 at Newmarket, Theyskens' Theory broke her maiden on July 31 at that track by an impressive 5 lengths. In her next start, she won the group III Chichester Observer Prestige Stakes at 7 furlongs at Goodwood on July 31. Most recently, she finished third in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile (Eng-I) at Ascot on September 25. This is her first try on dirt, a surface she is bred to excel on. Theyskens' Theory sold for $250,000 as a yearling, and is a half sister to 7 winners, including champion Stevie Wonderboy. A Z Warrior was the first winner for Bernardini, when she won her debut at 5.5 furlongs on July 15 at Hollywood Park. She then finished a promising second in the Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar on August 6. She looked flat, however, in the Darley Debutante (gr. I) at that track, finishing 5th. Switched to the dirt for her next start, she looked good winning the Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont Park on October 9. A Z Warrior last worked on October 31 at Hollywood Park, going 4 furlongs in :49.00. On TVG's The Works, Tom Amoss labeled this the work of the week. A Z Warrior is out of stakes-placed Carson Jen, who earned $137,425 in 17 starts. Carson Jen has produced 5 winners from 5 to run, including stakes winner J Z Warrior and grade III winner E Z Warrior. E Z Warrior won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) at 2.

A Z Warrior - Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt

Theyskens' Theory - Photo by Mathea Kelley

The Juvenile fillies division has lost a few of its major players due to injury, most notably grade I winners Wickedly Perfect and Rigoletta, leaving A Z Warrior as the favorite in this one. She certainly improved when switching to dirt, and may continue to move forward. However, the same sort of dirt improvement for Theyskens' Theory, could bring her the victory. Some fancy Spinaway (gr. I) winner R Heat Lightning (Trippi - Yellow Heat by Gold Fever), who was gaining on A Z Warrior in the Frizette after traffic troubles. A Z Warrior was geared down late in that contest, however, which made the final margin deceiving. Tell a Kelly (Tapit - Evrobi by Tabasco Cat) was a smart winner of the Darley Debutante, a race in which A Z Warrior was 5th. She then finished 2nd in the Oak Leaf on October 3. She has not been impressive training at Churchill Downs these past weeks. Read more about the Juvenile Fillies here.

Saturday, November 6

Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. 1)

In the 1 1/16 mile Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. 1), Bernardini colts Biondetti (Bernardini - Lyphard's Delta by Lyphard) and Stay Thirsty (Bernardini - Marozia by Storm Bird) do battle. Biondetti, who is undefeated in three starts, most recently won the group I mile Gran Criterium in Italy. This is the same race in which last year's Juvenile winner, Vale of York finished second before taking the Breeders' Cup. Like Theyskens' Theory, Biondetti should take to the dirt. Biondetti sold for $350,000 as a yearling, and is out of group II winner Lyphard's Delta, who earned $151,642. Lyphard's Delta has produced 8 other winners, including grade III winner Delta Princess and grade I winner Indy Five Hundred. Both of these are by A. P. Indy, sire of Bernardini. Stay Thirsty broke his maiden in his second start, running 6 furlongs at Sarartoga on August 14. He then finished 2nd behind Boys At Tosconova in the 7 furlong Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga on September 6. His most recently worked on October 31 at Churchill Downs in company with stablemate Uncle Mo, as they went 4 furlongs in :50.60. Stay Thirsty sold for $160,000 as a yearling, and for $500,000 as a 2-year-old. He is out of the winning mare Marozia. Marozia has produced 7 winners from 7 to run, including stakes winner Superfly and grade III winner Andromeda's Hero.

Biondetti - Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt

Stay Thirsty (right) - Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt

The Juvenile is supposed to be a showdown between Hopeful (gr. I) winner Boys At Tosconova (Officer - Little Bonnet by Coronado's Quest) and Champagne (gr. I) winner Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie - Playa Maya by Arch). Both have been impressive in their brief careers, but neither is really bred for distance and things can change quickly amongst 2-year-olds. Interestingly, Uncle Mo is a stablemate of Stay Thirsty, and both have the same owner. One wonders why run Stay Thirsty if Uncle Mo is a lock. Jaycito (Victory Gallop - Night Edition by Ascot Knight) coming in from the West coast is one that has a win at the distance, and should like the change to dirt. Another one changing surfaces is Rogue Romance (Smarty Jones - Lovington by Afleet), who did his previous running on the turf. He also have a win at the distance, which the two favorites do not. The wildcard might by Murjan (Officer - Miss Jeanne Cat by Tabasco Cat), who has done his previous running in Peru. Undefeated in three starts, he most recently won the Peruvian Two Thousand Guineas while facing three-year-olds. Read more about the Juvenile here.


Other Breeders' Cup Notes

I had a dream that Zenyatta finished 5th in the Classic. Now, before commenting, please note that this is not a prediction or a wish, but a dream. I have had prophetic dreams before in horse racing. Most famously, I dreamed before the 2008 Belmont that Big Brown stopped in the stretch and finished last. I boxed the rest of the field in the exacta, and made a little money. Of the horses that I have seen preparing for the Breeders' Cup (primarily on television), the most visually impressive has been Dirt Mile contender Vineyard Haven. However, he always gives a good impression, so not sure that has much value. The horse that I will personally be rooting for the hardest is Al Khali, who was part of the Maiden Watch crop of 2008. I would also love to see Havre de Grace do well to continue the legacy of Saint Liam.

Al Khali - Photo by Mathea Kelley

Other Stakes Entries

November 6

Bernardini's stakes entrants for the weekend are not limited to the Breeders' Cup, as To Honor and Serve (Bernardini - Pilfer by Deputy Minister) runs in the mile Nashua Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. Post time is 3:08 PM ET. To Honor and Serve finished 2nd in his debut at 7 furlongs at Saratoga on September 4, and then won a 1 1/16 mile contest at Belmont Park on October 2. Since then, he has been working at Belmont, including 4 furlongs in :48.42 on November 1. To Honor and Serve sold for $250,000 as a weanling, and for $575,000 as a yearling. He is the second foal out of stakes winner Pilfer, who was a winner at 2. Pilfer is a half sister to 3 winners, including grade II winner India.

Stakes-placed Wealthy Aviator (colt; Henny Hughes - Jera by Jeblar) runs in the 1 1/16 mile Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park. Post time is 7:45 PM ET. Wealthy Aviator won his debut at 6 furlongs at Golden Gate Fields on August 29, and then finished 3rd in the 6.5 furlongs Barretts Juvenile Stakes at Fairplex on September 19. He's worked several times since then, including 7 furlongs in 1:28.60 at Hollywood Park on October 31. winner Jera, dam of Wealthy Aviator, won 2 races at 2. She has produced 3 other winners, including grade II winner Jeranimo.

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