A Breeders' Cup studded with remarkable upsets and capped by Gun Runner's likely "Horse of the Year" triumph in the Classic also points the way toward future drama on tracks around the world.
Gun Runner's people have hinted about a run in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in January but were too intent on partying after Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic win at Del Mar to discuss it further.
If they go, they might meet Distaff winner Forever Unbridled, whose connections also may be game enough to take on the boys for a $16 million pot. "We're definitely going to be considering it," said owner Charles Fipke. "She was considered even last year."
The owners of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Roy H are urging trainer Peter Miller to take him to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint Dec. 10. Miller said he is trying to remind his patrons the 5-year-old More Than Ready gelding "is not a machine."
World Approval defeated the Europeans on home ground in the Breeders' Cup Mile and his sporting owner, Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation said she wouldn't be against the idea of taking them on again in their back yard at Royal Ascot next June. "There's never a never," she said and trainer Mark Casse mused, "It's something to think about."
Many of the other winners and almost-winners from the 13 championship races also will be back to mix it up again.
Talismanic, winner of the $4 million Turf could return as the victory "opens up a lot of international options," Godolphin exec Joe Osborne said.
Another of Godolphin's string, Wuheida, captured the Filly & Mare Turf over the firm ground at Del Mar after running well on deep going in France, indicating tremendous versatility. Her trainer, Charlie Appleby, said the 3-year-old "can only get better as she gets older ... I'd love to train her as a 4-year-old."
And, of course, the winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies -- Good Magic and Caledonia Road -- are the default early picks for the 2018 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Asked about Good Magic's likely favorite status for the Derby, Barbara Banke of owner Stonestreet Farm said, "Yahoo." Caledonia Road's trainer, Ralph Nicks, said, "I don't know what the ceiling is. We'll just hope everything keeps going okay."
The exploits of a remarkable Breeders' Cup on two perfect days at Del Mar have been detailed previously. Here's the rest of the story from the weekend's Thoroughbred racing:
On Saturday's undercard at Del Mar:
Kitten's Roar was last-filly-out for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and showed she would not have been out of place in that heat by taking the $200,000 Grade II Goldikova by 2 1/4 lengths with a nice late move for jockey John Velazquez. The Kitten's Joy filly, trained by Mike Maker, saved ground down the backstretch racing behind the leading pack, came around the pacesetter turning for home and drew off. Thundering Sky was up for second at long odds and On Leave finished third. Kitten's Roar finished the 1 mile on firm going in 1:35.18. She has won at distances from 1 mile to the 1 5/16 miles of the Ramsey Farm Stakes at the key Kentucky Downs meeting this summer.
Declarationofpeace led a parade of four European runners across the line at the end of the $200,000 Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint. The Aidan O'Brien trainee, with Ryan Moore up, dawdled at the back of the field through the early furlongs, found a way through a crowd in the stretch and was just along to nip Sound and Silence by a head. Out Of the Flames was third with Corinthia Knight fourth. Declarationofpeace, a Kentucky-bred War Front colt owned by the Coolmore partners in Ireland, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 57.23 seconds, scoring his third lifetime win. "He was having fun out there today," Moore said. "When he made the turn, he got going and we got there."
Bookies Luck led from the early jumps and held off Smokem in the late going to take the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile for California-bred 2-year-olds by a desperate nose. Lucky Romano was third. Bookies Luck, a Lucky Pulpit colt, ran 7 furlongs in 1:24.00 with Kent Desormeaux up for trainer Jeff Bonde. He improved his record to three wins from six starts.
In Friday's undercard at Del Mar:
Destin was never out of contention throughout the $200,000 Grade II Marathon Stakes, a 1 3/4-miles slog which was dropped from the Breeder's Cup program years ago. As the field turned for home, the 4-year-old Giant's Causeway colt rolled to the front and showed stamina not seen earlier in his career, including a sixth-place finish in the 1 1/4-miles Kentucky Derby in 2016. At the wire, he was holding off Argentine-bred Infobedad by 1 1/4 lengths. Hard Aces made a bold move around the turn from well back but could not sustain the bid and settled for show money. Destin, with John Velazquez up for trainer Todd Pletcher, finished in 2:57.77, missing the track record set in 1949 by just 0.37 second.
Americanize battled for the lead in the $200,000 Damascus Stakes, turned back his early challenger and then easily held off a late run by the favorite, Mr. Hinx, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. Loose On the Town was along for third and Kobe's Back finished fourth. Americanize, a 4-year-old Concord Point gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.73. Winning rider Rafael Bejarano said Americanize was ready to run. "He broke so clean, so fresh from the gate. I fought him for as long as I could, got to the top of the stretch and let him go. He gave me a big kick."
Belvoir Bay used a nice inside opening to take the lead in the lane in the $150,000 Grade III Sen. Ken Maddy Stakes for fillies and mares and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Vigor. Instant Reflex was up for third. Belvoir Bay, a 4-year-old British-bred filly by Equiano, ran 5 furlongs on a fast track in 56.63 seconds for jockey Flavien Prat.
One Fast Broad was among the slowest to start in the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies for state-breds. But when jockey Corey Nakatani turned her loose turning for home, she lived right up to her name, blitzing by Spiced Perfection to win by 1 length. Show It N Moe It was third. One Fast Broad, a Decarchy filly, scored her second win from four starts for owner/trainer Mick Ruis.
Arles went straight to the lead in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Long Island Handicap for fillies and mares. One and one-half miles later, the 5-year-old Monsun mare was still in front at the wire, winning by 1 3/4 lengths from Galileo's Song. Texting was another 1 length back in third. Arles, with Nik Juarez riding for trainer Graham Motion, finished in 2:28.65 over firm turf. It was her fourth run in the United States after racing earlier in Germany. All three previous U.S. starts resulted in second-place finishes, all in graded stakes. I talked to Graham this morning and he was saying she was fresh off a layoff and hopefully she would show her class," Juarez said. "Today, she did just that. It was a perfect trip."
Avery Island kicked away from five rivals in the stretch run of Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Nashua Stakes for 2-year-olds, winning by 4 3/4 lengths over Super Sermon. The favorite, Aveenu Malcainu, settled for third. Avery Island, a Street Sense colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Kinda Spicy, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.58 with Joe Bravo up. He broke his maiden on the second try at Belmont Park Sept. 30. "It was a great race for only his third start," said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Joe Bravo did a great job. He was pressured early and then he kind of drew off late. We're tickled to death. He's nice horse. We'll look at the Remsen back in four weeks." That would put Avery Island on the early squares of the Triple Crown trail.
Raucous started last of 11 in Saturday's $100,000 Chelsea Flower Stakes for 2-year-olds, saved all the ground into the turn and got through on the rail was a strong stretch run to win by 2 1/2 lengths. The favorite, Brattata, was second, 1 1/4 lengths to the good of Night Time Lady. Raucous, a Speightstown filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.87 with Eric Cancel in the irons, posting her second straight win for trainer Christophe Clement. Assistant trainer Miguel Clement commented, " "It was nice to see her [Raucous] making her fourth start without Lasix today and picking up her second consecutive win. She's undefeated on the turf."
Daisy got the early lead in Friday's $150,000 Grade III Tempted Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, gave it up briefly but then came again to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Oldfashioned Style, the early challenger, held second, 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Sweet Candy Dance. The favorite, Navajo, was another 2 lengths back in fourth with dull effort. Daisy, a Pennsylvania-bred Blame filly, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.13 with Kendrick Carmouche up. "She responded real good when I asked her at the top of the lane," Carmouche said, thanking owner Rick Porter and trainer John Servis. "It looks like they have a good one."
Lucy N Ethel led all the way to a 2 1/4-lengths victory in Sunday's $100,000 Pumpkin Pie Stakes for fillies and mares. The favorite, Indulgent, was second, 1 length behind Bustin Out. Lucy N Ethel, a 4-year-old filly by During, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.38 with John Velazquez up.
Farrell tracked the pace halfway down the backstretch in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Chilukki Stakes for fillies and mares, took over when give a cue by jockey Channing Hill and went on to win by 1 length over the favorite, Money'soncharlotte. Motown Lady was another 1/2 length back in third. Farrell, a 3-year-old Malibu Moon filly, finished the one-turn mile in 1:35.90. She swept the Fair Grounds 3-year-old filly series this past winter and spring, but then finished last in the Kentucky Oaks. She finished fifth in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs in September after four-month break. "She's a hyper filly so when we brought her back off the layoff we knew she may get worked up," said winning trainer Wayne Catalano. "That's exactly what happened. She did us so well today and ran great. The real Farrell is back."
Aheadbyacentury was along in the stretch run to win Sunday's $225,000 (Canadian) Coronation Futurity for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds by 2 lengths over Neepawa. The even-money favorite, Kitten's Boy, lost place money in the final jumps, finishing third by a nose. Aheadbyacentury, an Ontario-bred colt by Midnight Lute out of the Touch Gold mare Sinful, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:51.02 with Rafael Hernandez up for trainer John Ross. After some learning experiences in his first two starts, the colt now has won two in a row. "This is his game, going long," Ross said. "We've always dreamed of having a 2-year-old finish up the year like this so we're going to put him away for the year and send him to Florida to give him a great winter and certainly look after him well."
Gamble's Ghost, the favorite, rallied from last of five to win Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Grade III Maple Leaf Stakes for fillies and mares by 3/4 length from Ice Festival. The early leader, Involuntary, finished third. Gamble's Ghost, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly, ran 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track in 2:04.70 with Eurico Da Silva riding.
Tower of Texas came from last of four to take Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Labeeb Stakes by 1/2 length over Glenville Gardens. Shakhimat and Field of Courage completed the order of finish. Tower of Texas, a 6-year-old Street Sense gelding, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:38.87 with Jesse Campbell steering.
Into the Mystic came from last of nine and outfinished Boreale, Stella Rose and Midnight Crossing in a tight finish in Friday's $100,000 (Canadian) River Memories Stakes for fillies and mares. The race came off the turf and was run on the all-weather track with Into the Mystic finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.82 under jockey Patrick Husbands. The favorite, Perdona, led through the early furlongs before fading to get home seventh.
Redatory led from the start in Friday's $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes for 2-year-olds and extended the margin in the final furlong, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. Bode's Maker was second, a neck in front of the favorite, Flat Lucky. Redatory, a Texas-bred gelding by Oratory, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.56 with David Cabrera riding.
Gulfstream Park West
Fast and Accurate shadowed pacesetting Kroy through the early furlongs in Saturday's $75,000 Showing Up Stakes for 3-year-olds, took over and won by 3/4 length over that rival. General McGooby was a close third. Fast and Accurate, a Hansen colt, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:38.04 with Jose Batista in the irons. Fast and Accurate won the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in the spring and was supplemented to the Kentucky Derby by his owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, where he finished 17th. Saturday's win was his first since the Spiral.
Desert Duchess was off a step slow in Saturday's $75,000 Cellars Shiraz Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, worked her way forward and dueled for the lead before finally prevailing by 3 3/4 lengths. Spanish Harlem was second and Ellery Lane finished third. Desert Duchess, a daughter of Hard Spun, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.57 with Batista riding.
Goneghost won a three-way scramble for the lead in Saturday's $50,000 Buck's Boy Handicap for Illinois-breds, then kicked away to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Devileye and In the Chamber filled the trifecta slots. Gone Ghost, a 4-year-old gelding by Cherokee Rap, ran 1 1/16 miles on the sloppy main track in 1:45.35 with Victor Santiago up for trainer Scott Becker. The race came off the turf with four scratches.
Prado's Sweet Ride had one of those in Saturday's off-the-turf $50,000 Illini Princess for state-bred fillies and mares. With Jose Lopez riding, the 5-year-old Fort Prado mare tracked the early pace, then took over and won off by 13 1/4 lengths. One Liz was best of the rest, 3 lengths to the good of Ima Little Kitten. Prado's Sweet Ride ran the sloppy 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.79.
Bound to Windsor was along in the final yards of Saturday's $50,000 West Virginia Futurity for state-bred 2-year-olds, beating pacesetting odds-on favorite William and Mary by 1/2 length. It was 9 1/4 lengths back to Our Biz in third. Bound to Windsor, a Windsor Castle filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:26.44 with Luis Batista in the irons.
Punch Your Brother dominated the companion event, leading all the way to a 1 3/4-lengths victory over True Heir. Binn Goode was third. Punch Your Brother, a Brother Derek colt, ran 7 furlongs in 1:28.31 with Katie Davis in the irons.
Leona's Reward drew off at the end to win Saturday's $75,000 Ohio Debutante for state-bred fillies and mares by 4 1/4 lengths from Shes My Girl. True Cinder was a neck back of that one in third. Leona's Reward, a 4-year-old filly by Parents' Reward, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.74 for jockey Pablo Morales.
Mo Dont No set a pressured pace in Saturday's $75,000 Cardinal Handicap for Ohio-bred, then gradually eased away from the competition to win by 2 lengths. Altissimo was second, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Rivers Run Deep. Mo Dont No, a 4-year-old Uncle Mo gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.29 with Ricardo Feliciano up.
Direct Dial dueled with Kats Second Silver through most of Saturday's $65,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes for state-bred 2-year-olds, then eased clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths over that one. Silver Luke Silver was third, 5 1/2 lengths farther in arrears. Direct Dial, a Too Much Bling colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.59 with Jareth Loveberry up.
In the filly division, Howboutthiscowgirl led from gate to wire, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Shes Our Fastest. Red Dress finished third. Howboutthiscowgirl, a daughter of My Golden Song, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.63 with Iram Diego in the irons.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE racing season started its long journey to the World Cup Friday afternoon at Jebel Ali, where the featured handicap, at 1,000 meters, went to Kasb. Kasb, owned by Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, missed the whole of last season, returning to pick up his first UAE win and his first on dirt. "He is a very fast horse, as we saw there, and the boss told me to just let him jump and stride on," said winning rider Paolo Sirigu. He did that, turning back a bid by Riflescope halfway through and running onto win by 3/4 length.
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor returned to Jebel Ali after many years' absence and saddled Perfect Sense to a third-place finish in the penultimate race on the card.
Dylan Mouth and Western Hymn are among the likely ones in Monday's 32Red Floodlit Stakes at Kempton Park over 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack. Western Hymn, trained by John Gosden, won last year's edition. Dylan Mouth is trained by Marco Botti, who also handled Grendisar, who won in 2014 and went on to be named All-Weather Horse of the Year. Botti said Dylan Mouth could continue on toward the All-Weather Championship finals on Good Friday next spring or detour to the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar Nov. 24.
The race is not a Fast-Track Qualifer for the finals but is not to be ignored, its former winners including not only Grendisar but also Prince Bishop, Mastery, Spanish Moon and Pether's Moon.
Tuesday is Melbourne Cup -- "The Race That Stops a Nation". As its nickname indicates, the race long has been part of the fabric of the island continent. Recently, with the expanded interational reach of the world's Thoroughbred conglomerates, it has become the target of an increasing number of foreign-based horses. This year is no exception with six Irish horses in the field as well as three from the UK and one each from France and Germany. Jockey Frankie Dettori makes the long jump from the Breeders' Cup in California to Australia for this event.
Tune back in for the results. Meantime:
Ace High, the solid favorite, overcame some early traffic trouble and went on to win Saturday's Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby at Flemington, defeating Sully by 2 lengths and encouraging his trainer, David Payne, to think about next year's Melbourne Cup. With Tye Angland up, the High Chaparral colt ran 2,500 meters in 2:37.55. Payne said he bought Ace High for Summertime Thoroughbreds with an eye on the Derby but now is dreaming bigger dreams -- the 2018 Melbourne Cup. "Why not?" he asked. "We can't die wondering."
The race was the star among four top-level events on the card. Merchant Navy, a Fastnet Rock colt, won the 1,200-meter Coolmore Stud Stakes for 3-year-olds. Shoals, also by Fastnet Rock, edged Eckstein in the 1,600-meter Meyer Classic for fillies and mares. And Shillelagh thumped 13 rivals in the Kennedy Mile. She is a 6-year-old, New Zealand-bred mare by Savabeel.
Nassa, a lightly raced and promising runner from Tony Millard's stable was the narrow winner, but in course-record time, in Sunday's Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies' Purse Handicap at 1,800 meters at Sha Tin. The accomplishment, notable in itself, could be more significant as Millard has the Longines Hong Kong International Races on the radar for Nassa.
"It's very special to do it with Nassa of all horses," Millard said. "I bought him as a yearling in South Africa and he can be anything. We've always known that he is very good and today he showed it. I really think he's something special."
Millard said Nassa is entered for both the Mile and the 2,000-meters Cup on HKIR day Dec. 10. "But I think he'll be in the Hong Kong Cup. He's more a 2000-meter horse. I'll have to speak to the owner and we'll discuss what exactly we're going to do. But at last we've seen what we always thought we had. It's just been a long wait getting here. He's got a bright future."
South Africa, hampered in international equine matters by draconian quarantine regulations, has a vibrant breeding industry. Nassa is by Dynasty, one of South Africa's most important stallions, out of a Chilean-bred mare, Cosima Liszt.