TORONTO, November 5, 2018 – Canadian connections at the 35th edition of the Breeders’ Cup at historic Churchill Downs was strong as several familiar faces graced the international stage on horse racing’s championship days. A total of 112,672 were in attendance, proving that the Sport of Kings is very much alive.
Let’s take a look back at this star-studded weekend, shall we?
Three-year-old filly Shamrock Rose would score one for the local contingent, taking the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint on Saturday for Conrad Farms and Team Mark Casse. Handled with patience by Irad Ortiz Jr., the daughter of First Dude went from last to first to take the race by a head at 25-1 odds going extremely wide. In September, she notched a win in the La Lorgnette Stakes locally.
Roger Attfield trainee My Gal Betty would compete Friday in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf for William K. Werner. The runner-up in September’s Grade 1 ‘Win and You’re In’ Natalma Stakes, arrived with Sovereign Award-winning groom Alfredo Ramos. The Point of Entry filly encountered a nine-wide trip placing ninth under Javier Castellano in the race, which was won by Chad Brown-trained Newspaperofrecord (IRE). Natalma winner La Pelosa was right behind My Gal Betty in 10th, while third runner-up in that race, Pivottina, had scratched.
Bred by Anderson Farms, Ontario-bred Sergei Prokofiev was a $1.1 million purchase for Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith at the 2017 September Yearling Sale at Keeneland. He has gone on to be a Group stakes winner in England for conditioner John Gosden and placed eighth under Ryan Moore behind winner Bullet in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
War of Will encountered a four-wide trip to finish a game fifth under Joel Rosario in the $2 million Juvenile Turf. The War Front colt trained by Mark Casse and owned by Gary Barber, made his first two starts at Woodbine including a close second in the Grade 1 ‘Win and You’re In’ Summer Stakes in September.
Bob Baffert has himself another Kentucky Derby contender and this was solidified by Game Winner’s hard-trying victory under Joel Rosario in the $2 million Juvenile. The Candy Ride colt went off at even odds, overcoming bumps at the start and in the stretch to win the race, remaining undefeated for Gary and Mary West.
Former Woodbine star Conquest Tsunami, bred by Yvonne Schwabe, has found great success south of the border since transferring to the barn of Peter Miller, taking the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita this past February. After racing four-wide in the Turf Sprint, he faded to 11th behind Stormy Liberal.
Top local Woodbine rider Luis Contreras also made his way to the Breeders’ Cup festivities, picking up a couple assignments from Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. One mount was Preakness runner-up Bravazo, who would perform well to finish third in the Dirt Mile to City of Light.
Reigning Queen’s Plate champion Wonder Gadot faced a re-match with three-year-old filly division leaders Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl after having squared off in the Kentucky Oaks this past May and also the Cotillion Stakes at Parx in October. She set the pace in the Distaff on Saturday under Irad Ortiz Jr. only to fade to ninth with Monomoy Girl winning confidently.
The 2017 Breeders’ Stakes winner, Channel Maker, has gone on to compete at the highest as a four-year-old including victories in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park in September and Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga back in July. The Bill Mott representative owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, placed 11th in the $4 million Turf Classic on Saturday. The race was won by Juddmonte Farms’ superfilly Enable, who has won back-to-back editions of the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She made history to become the first ever horse to win both that race and a Breeders’ Cup race in a year, under Frankie Dettori.
Accelerate would would take top honours, clearing the field by a length under Joel Rosario in the $6 million Classic for trainer John Sadler and Hronis Racing LLC. The five-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky went off as the post time favourite at 2-1 odds.
The 36th edition of the Breeders’ Cup is set to take place at Santa Anita Park between November 1 & 2. Learn more about it at breederscup.com.