Nov. 13 (UPI) -- With the Breeders' Cup World Championships in the books, horse racing attention turns this weekend to some potential stars of the future with 2-year-old races on offer from coast to coast.
Meanwhile, the current crop of stars continues to head for the potentially lucrative second career of the breeding shed with Breeders' Cup Classic and Kentucky Derby winner Authentic the latest -- and, for his fans, most disappointing retiree.
The Millions Preview card at Gulfstream Park West tops a full weekend of opportunity for state-bred horses around North America.
Internationally, Japan's autumn festival of Grade 1 racing continues with the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for fillies and mares.
Stay safe and healthy and read on ...
The exodus continues
We noted earlier this week that a rash of retirements is leaving a big void among older horses -- both for the remaining top U.S. races and for such as the 2021 Pegasus World Cup, the Emir's Trophy in Qatar, the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup.
Well, the hemorrhage continued in the last few days with Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Authentic and 2020 Saudi Cup winner Maximum Security both heading off to the breeding barn. Serengeti Empress, the 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner, also is done and headed for a date with Into Mischief.
It's hard to fault the decisions, given the economics. Authentic will stand for $75,000 at Spendthrift Farm. Maximum Security will command $20,000 at Coolmore's Ashford Stud.
Consider: The winner's share of the world's richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup, is $10 million and that gets divided among the owners, trainer, jockey, etc. Authentic can earn $10 million by covering 134 mares with infinitely less risk. The actual dollar calculations are not that straightforward but the principle is sound.
Still, it's tough to see really good ones vanish at their peak. Authentic is a lock to be named 2020 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old. As he delivered the colt to Spendthrift, trainer Bob Baffert said, "There he is. The best horse in America."
The hope now is that some of the horses winding up their 2-year-old seasons will turn out to be stars next year. And, fortunately, there are some meaningful 2-year-old races on this weekend's schedule. Let's take a look, shall we?
Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Bob Hope at Del Mar features one of those 2-year-olds the aforementioned Bob Baffert hopes will fill the star void.
Spielberg, a Union Rags colt, finished second in his career debut at Del Mar, second again in the Grade I Runhappy Del Mar Futurity and third in the Grade I American Pharoah at Santa Anita.
He finally got a win when the silver-haired one dropped him back into a maiden race two weeks ago, rallying from off the pace like a horse who might have figured things out.
Among the others in the Bob Hope, Weston won the Grade II Best Pal at Del Mar and finished third in the Del Mar Futurity and the other four need to kick things up a notch.
Dalton, a Kantharos colt trained by Jorge Duarte Jr., is the solid favorite among 20 in for Saturday's $100,000 James Lewis at Laurel Park. He is only 1-for-4, but he was second in his last start, the Smoke Glacken Stakes at Monmouth Park Sept. 27.
Six are entered for Saturday's $50,000 Golden Nugget at 6 furlongs on the Golden Gate Fields all-weather strip. Exhalting, a Chitu ridgling, is the even-money favorite as he goes to the post for the eighth time with three wins and two seconds for trainer Jonathan Wong.
The 2-year-old fillies
The twice aforementioned Bob Baffert sends out Private Mission as the morning-line favorite in a field of eight for Saturday's $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar. The Into Mischief filly won her only previous start at Santa Anita Oct. 18 by 1 3/4 lengths and Drayden Van Dyke takes the return call.
Astute, a Speightstown filly, and Queengol, a daughter of Flashback, also get some oddsmaker love in the Desi Arnaz. Astute, trained by Richard Mandella, also seeks her second win without loss while Queengol has a win and a second in her record for conditioner John Sadler.
At Laurel Park on Saturday, eight fillies are set to tackle the $100,000 Smart Halo at 6 furlongs. Out of Sorts, Prodigy Doll and Street Lute are bunched at the top of the morning line.
The state-bred juveniles
State-breds were on display in eight races in Wednesday's New Mexico Classic Cup at Zia Park. Champ Spirit, a Shame On Charlie gelding, led all the way to a 3 1/2-length victory in the $50,000 Juvenile, remaining undefeated after two starts.
Line Call, a daughter of Chipshot, rallied through the stretch to post a 2 1/4-length score in the Lassic. She now is 2-for-3.
Friday, the Oklahoma-breds take their turn at Remington Park.
Saturday, Gulfstream Park West (the old Calder) has Florida-bred 2-year-olds on the main track mixed in with the Sunshine Millions Preview races. Turf races for both 2-year-olds and Million hopefuls were postponed because Mother Nature continues to precipitate upon the peninsula.
Woodbine hosts Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies in Saturday's South Ocean Stake and Sunday's Frost King stakes is open to youngsters of any gender. Aqueduct reverses that pattern with an open race for New York-bred 2-year-olds on Saturday and the filly version on Sunday.
Elsewhere around North America:
A competitive field of seven 3-year-old fillies is set for Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Mrs. Revere, 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Stunning Sky, a Declaration of War filly trained by Mike Maker, is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, trailed by Hendy Woods from the Mark Casse barn and the Mike Stidham-trained Princess Grace, both posted at 3-1.
Stunning Sky exits a victory in the Grade III Pin Oak Valley View at Keeneland Oct. 16 and before that was four the in the Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs and second in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational.
Hendy Woods was second in the Grade II Edgewood at Churchill Downs two starts back. Princess Grace was last seen finishing second in the Valley View.
Therapist and Rinaldi caught the oddsmaker's eye in Saturday's $100,000 Artie Schiller Stakes at 1 mile on the turf. The race drew nine plus four more for "main track only. Therapist, a 4-year-old Freud gelding, has been among the top four in each of his last four starts.
Rinaldi, a 4-year-old Posse gelding out of the Dynaformer mare Dynamite Cocktail, won the West Point Stakes at Saratoga but was sixth in his last effort at Belmont Park.
Keep an eye on the "MTO" entries for the Artie Schiller. Showers and light rain are forecast for the Aqueduct area through Friday but the sun should be shining on race day.
Around the world, around the clock:
It's a bit of a generational battle in Sunday's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hanshin Racecourse with 5-year-old Lilacs and Lace and Normcor and 4-year-old Loves Only You taking on some promising 3-year-olds in the 2,200-meters test for fillies and mares.
All three above referenced older horses have something to prove after recent disappointments.
Loves Only You, was 4-for-4 after winning the Grade 1 Yushun Himba or Japanese Oaks in May of 2019 but since then is 0-for-4.
Lucky Lilac won last year's QE II, then finished second in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase. This year, she was well back of the winner in the Grade 1 Takarasuka Kinen and third in the Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen (G2). Normcor won the 2019 Victoria Mile, then faltered going that distance or shorter, but returned Aug. 23 to win the Sapporo Kinen at 2,000 meters.
The 3-year-olds nibbling at the heels of their elders include Win Marilyn and Win Mighty, the second- and third-place finishers in this year's Yushun Himba, and Soft Fruit, third in the Grade 1 Shuka in her last start.
England / Ireland
The All-Weather Championship program rolls right along with Ireland's sole Fast-Track Qualifier on Friday and two more "win and you're in" events set for Saturday at Lingfield Park back in jolly old.
Lingfield's races are the Betway Churchill Stakes at 10 furlongs, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the Betway Easter Classic over course and distance on Finals Day, April 2, and the Betway Golden Rose Stakes, a gateway to the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship on that Good Friday date.
Noteworthy in the Churchill Stakes is the presence of Dubai Warrior. The John Gosden trainee won the Group 3 Betway Winter Derby in February and was the favorite for this year's Easter Classic before the pandemic shut down racing in March. Judicial, trained by Julie Camacho, shoots for a repeat victory in the Golden Rose Stakes.
At Dundalk, a full field of 14 has been declared for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cooley Fillies & Mares Stakes with the winner guaranteed a start in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championship on Finals Day. Surrounding, winner of this race in 2018 and 2019, looks for the threepeat.