Oct. 30 (UPI) -- American horse racing is virtually on pause a week out from the Breeders' Cup World Championships, but plenty of action exists around the globe with Almond Eye returning in Japan, Exultant in Hong Kong and the Melbourne Cup just days away in Australia.
The fields for the Breeders' Cup races will be announced Monday and year-end honors, including Horse of the Year, are very much hanging in the balance.
Meanwhile, don't miss the intervening action, to wit:
Almond Eye is back in action Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse, one of seven Grade 1 winners entered for the Tenno Sho (Autumn) or Emperor's Cup.
Almond Eye, a 5-year-old mare by Lord Kanaloa, is at the top of Japanese racing with seven top-level wins including last year's edition of this event as well as the 2018 Fillies Triple Crown and Japan Cup and the Group 1 Dubai Turf in 2019.
Her schedule was disrupted this year by the cancellation of the Dubai World Cup program. She returned to Japan to win the Grade 1 Victoria Mile (G1), then finished second in the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen (G1) June 7 and has not raced since then.
The fall edition of the 2,000-meter Emperor's Cup has a relatively light field -- by Japanese standards -- of 12, but the assemblage also does include such top-flight talent such as Fireement, Chrono Genesis, Danon Premium, Kiseki and Win Bright.
On Saturday at Kyoto, Admire Mars towers over 15 rivals in the Grade 2 Mainichi Broadcast.Swan Stakes. The 4-year-old Daiwa Major colt has three Grade 1 wins to his credit, including last year's NHK Mile Cup and the Longines Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin. He tossed in a clunker in the Yasuda Kinen in June, finishing sixth -- his worst-ever performance.
Four group 1 races Saturday at Flemington get things warmed up for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, the "Race that stops the nation." We'll have much more on the outlook for the Melbourne Cup in the weekend roundup.
Exultant tops a field including some of Hong Kong's biggest names for Sunday's Group 2 Sa Sa Ladies Purse at Sha Tin Racecourse. The 6-year-old Teofilo gelding, who has put the local stables on the map in staying races, makes his first start since winning the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup on May 24.
Chefano and Furore, second and third, respectively, in that race, return for Sunday's affair. At 1,800 meters, the race is a seasonal starting point for Exultant, whose somewhat longer-term goal is the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase in December, a race he won in two seasons back.
Racing returned to Dubai Thursday at Al Ain with a program featuring primarily Purebred Arabians. A single race for Thoroughbreds was a 1,000-meters handicap won by Miqyaas, a British-bred 5-year-old by Oasis Dream.
The action will peak March 27 with the Dubai World Cup program at Meydan, inshallah.
Meanwhile, in North America:
Only six signed on for Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Bold Ruler at 7 furlongs on the main track, and the oddsmaker couldn't find a lot to separate Phat Man, Majestic Dunhill and Share the Ride.
Phat Man, the nominal favorite, had a win and two seconds in graded stakes at Gulfstream Park during the winter. He hasn't raced in eight months but has been working steadily for the comeback. Share the Ride exits a third in the Grade I Vosburg.
Saturday's $250,000 (Canadian) Princess Elizabeth Stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies. Dreaming of Drew is a narrow favorite after finishing fourth in the Grade I Natalma, but Curlin's Catch and Il Maloccio deserve a look in a field of eight after recent wins. "Il Maloccio" means "evil eye" in Italian.
Sunday's $250,000 (Canadian) Coronation Futurity is for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds eyeing the 2021 Queen's Plate. Master Spy enters off a win in the Cup and Saucer. None of the other seven has beaten winners yet and two still are maidens.
Threefiftyseven and Giant Waters return from second- and third-place finishes in the Cup and Saucer. Double your money on this one by folding it over and putting it back in your pocket. Watch and learn.
Blue Gator waited briefly behind the early speed in Monday's $200,000 New York Breeders' Futurity for stated-bred 2-year-olds, quickly collared that one and rolled on through the final furlongs, winning by 4 1/2 lengths.
Our Man Mike was second with the favorite, Thin White Dude, third. Blue Gator, a Liam's Map colt trained by Mike Maker, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:12.62. Reylu Gutierrez had the mount. In his only previous start, Blue Gator won by 1 1/2 lengths with a similar trip at Belmont Park on Sept. 25.
Uphold stalked the pace in Wednesday's $100,000 Unreachable Stakes for Indiana-breds, came running late and posted the 33-1 upset victory by 1 length over Redskiesatnight.
Barefoot Bootlegger was third, also at long odds. Uphold, a 5-year-old Lentenor gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:45.30.
Fireball Baby opened a big lead in the stretch in Wednesday's $100,000 Lady Fog Horn Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths.
Unbridled Class was second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of the favorite, Expect Indy. Fireball Baby, a 4-year-old Noble's Promise filly, got the sloppy 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.76.
Dillsboro Devil dueled to the lead in Wednesday's $75,000 Crown Ambassador Stakes for Indiana-bred 2-year-olds, assumed command and won by a diminishing 1 1/2 lengths.
The Skylord colt improved his record to 2-for-2. In the $75,000 fillies companion, Hungarian Princess kicked away in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite. She is by Pataky Kid out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Help the Children.
Saturday's program features the "Best of Ohio" series for state-breds -- five races, each worth $100,000.