ARCADIA, Calif. (October 26 2016) – Led by North America’s all-time leading money earner CALIFORNIA CHROME, two-time Breeders’ Cup champion mare BEHOLDER, Travers Stakes winner ARROGATE, defending champions TEPIN and FOUND (IRE) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner NYQUIST, an all-star international cast of 185 of the world’s best Thoroughbreds, including 38 from overseas, have been pre-entered for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious two-day global event, consisting of 13 Grade 1 races with purses and awards totaling $28 million, will be held for a record ninth time at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5. There will be four Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Saturday.
The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live on Saturday, November 5 at 5:35 p.m. PT/8:35 p.m. ET on NBC (8-9 p.m. ET).
Among the statistical highlights in this year’s pre-entries are that a total of seven races are oversubscribed with more than 14 horses. There are 45 horses who have qualified for automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series that are pre-entered. Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered 13 horses, the most among trainers, and the Coolmore partnerships lead all owners with 14 horses pre-entered.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup features 11 returning or former champions: Songbird, Beholder, Found, Catch a Glimpse, Mongolian Saturday, Lady Eli, Tepin, Hit it a Bomb, Runhappy, Wavell Avenue and Nyquist
The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, whose purse was increased by $1 million from last year, is the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 ¼ miles with a first-place owner’s prize of $3.3 million, with purse payouts now down to eighth place. The $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf has been raised by $1 million.
A field of 14 horses has been pre-entered, led by 5-year-old California Chrome. Trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome is undefeated in 2016, winning all six of his races in dominant fashion, including the Dubai World Cup (G1), the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar (G1) in August and the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park in his final prep on October 1. In the process, he has become the greatest North American money earner with a career total of $13.4 million. This season’s accomplishments already add to a glorious career in which he won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and the Horse of the Year title. Californian Chrome finished third in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
A formidable challenger to California Chrome should come from Juddmonte Farm’s late- developing 3-year-old ARROGATE, winner of the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is seeking an unprecedented third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Classic, having saddled the winners of the last two editions with Bayern at Santa Anita in 2014 and last year’s with Triple Crown and Grand Slam winner American Pharoah at Keeneland. After breaking his maiden in his second try in June, and then netting a pair of allowance race wins at Santa Anita and Del Mar, respectively, Baffert sent Arrogate, a son of Unbridled’s Song, to Saratoga, and under Mike Smith, the leading Breeders’ Cup jockey with 22 all-time wins, Arrogate turned in one of the year’s top performances, setting a track record and winning by a widening 13 1/2 lengths.
Baffert also has pre-entered Mike Pregram, Karl Watson’s and Paul Weitman’s HOPPERTUNITY, winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. (G1)
Godolphin’s FROSTED rates as the East Coast’s leading Classic contender, as he earned a berth into the race with his win in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Whitney (GI) in August for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The 4-year-old son of Tapit also earned a berth into the Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with his win in Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Metropolitan Handicap (GI) in June. Frosted is 6-for-18 lifetime and will need to rebound from an odds-on loss in Saratoga’s Woodward (GI) September 3.
Together, California Chrome and Frosted won three of the eight automatic qualifiers for the Classic, and they’ll meet Tarabilla Farm’s MELATONIN, who earned a berth into the race with his “Win and You’re In” Gold Cup at Santa Anita (GI) in his last start, which came June 25. The speedy 5-year-old son of Kodiak Kowboy has battled foot issues in the past for trainer David Hofmans. Melatonin is 5-for-13 lifetime, which like the Gold Cup, includes a win at the distance in the Santa Anita Handicap (GI) in March.
Last year, Tri-bone Stables EFFINEX was a surprising second to American Pharoah in the Classic. This year, Effinex, who won the Suburban Handicap (G2) in July, is back for trainer Jim Jerkens, who also has another Classic pre-entrant in Stronach Stables’ SHAMAN’S GHOST, who upset Frosted in the Woodward. Donegal Racing’s KEEN ICE, who defeated American Pharoah in last year’s Travers, but is winless this year, also has been pre-entered. Reddam Racing’s NYQUIST won the Kentucky Derby in May, but lost consecutive starts in the Preakness and Haskell Invitational (G1) and the Pennsylvania Derby (G2).
Adding international intrigue to the Classic is that Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 4-year-old filly FOUND, one of the world’s most talented and resilient racehorses, has been pre-entered. Last year’s winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf added the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) to her list of career accomplishments, scoring a two-length win at Chantilly for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The Arc win broke a five-race streak of second -place finishes in Group 1 races against Europe’s best in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Prince of Wales’s, Coronation Stakes, Darley Yorkshire Oaks, and the Qipco Irish Champions Stakes. After the Arc, she came back two weeks later and finished second in the British Champion Stakes at Ascot. The same connections also pre-entered HIGLAND REEL (IRE) in the Classic, but who has been a first preference in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
“We are once again privileged to host the all stars of Thoroughbred racing and are very pleased with the overall international participation from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. It is a tribute to the Breeders’ Cup and we are looking forward to watching stars like California Chrome, Found, Tepin, Songbird, and Beholder,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO.
Depth and quality is the order of the day in Friday’s $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up, in which three Eclipse Award winners from 2015 – Beholder, Songbird and Stellar Wind – have been pre-entered.
Fox Hill Farm’s Songbird has proven nothing short of extraordinary in her career for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, as she’s not only undefeated in 11 starts, but has won them by a combined 60 ½ lengths. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro will tackle older fillies and mares for the first time in the Distaff, but her stunning performances this year, including a trio of recent lopsided Grade 1 wins in Saratoga’s Coaching Club American Oaks in July and Alabama in August and Parx Racing’s Cotillion September 24, say she should have no problem bridging the gap. Songbird streaked to her championship last year when she easily won the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.
Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind has forged to the lead in the filly and mare division in her last two starts for trainer John Sadler, as she defeated Beholder in two “Win and You’re In” races – Del Mar’s Clement L. Hirsch (GI) in August and Santa Anita’s Zenyatta (GI) October 1. A 4-year-old daughter of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin, Stellar Wind finished second in last year’s Distaff at Keeneland. Voted last year’s champion 3-year-old filly, Stellar Wind, 7-for-11 lifetime, likely would earn another championship with a Distaff win.
Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder may enter with a three-race losing streak, but she hasn’t ducked a challenge this year for trainer Richard Mandella, as she’s sandwiched her second-place runs to Stellar Wind with a second to California Chrome in the “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic (GI) at Del Mar in August. The 6-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in 2012 and the Distaff there the next year to cap off a pair of championship campaigns, and she won another divisional title last year. Beholder, 17–of-25 lifetime, was scratched two days prior to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic due to a fever.
Grayson Farm’s I’M A CHATTERBOX earned a berth into the Distaff with her win in Keeneland’s Juddmonte Spinster (GI), for trainer Larry Jones. The 4-year-old daughter of Munnings has been a consistent stakes performer all year, which includes a win in the Delaware Handicap (GI) at Delaware Park in July, and is 8-for-16 lifetime. Among the other challengers are FOREVER UNBRIDLED, who won Belmont’s Beldame (GI) October 1 for trainer Dallas Stewart, and CURALINA, who won Churchill’s La Troienne (GI) in May, and South American filly CORONA DEL INCA (ARG), who won the Gran Premio Criadores (G1) at Palermo in Argentina on May 1.
At total of 17 horses have been pre-entered for the 1 ½ mile, $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Juddmonte Farm’s FLINTSHIRE, trained by Chad Brown, had been the top American representative, but will need to rebound from a rare loss, when he was defeated as much by the yielding turf as by ECTOT (GB) in Belmont Park’s “Win and You’re In” Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI) October 1. The 6-year-old old son of Dansili (GB) had secured an automatic berth in Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (GI) in August, and also won Belmont’s Manhattan (GI) in June and Saratoga’s Bowling Green (GII) in July. Flintshire, who was second in the Turf at Santa Anita in 2014 when trained by Andre Fabre, has won 8-of-23 career starts in a globe-trotting career that has seen him earn more than $8.9 million.
Al Shaqab Racing and Normand Augustin’s Ectot was the main beneficiary of the yielding ground in the Joe Hirsch, when he led every step of the way to secure a Turf bid for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 5-year-old son of Hurricane Run (IRE) has won seven of 14 career starts, and was a Group 1 winner in Europe in 2013 for trainer Elle Lellouche.
Also formidable is the Aidan O’Brien trained HIGHLAND REEL (IRE), a Group 1 winner on three continents, who this summer, captured the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and gained a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Turf.
ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR, trained by Peter Eurton, has become the West Coast’s top grass horse during the second half of 2016. Owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC, Ashleyluvssugar, a 5-year-old gelding by Game Plan, has won the 1 3/8-mile Del Mar Handicap (G2) in August and then the John Henry Turf Championship (G1) at Santa Anita in his last start on October 2.
Robert Masterson’s 5-year-old mare TEPIN, has won more than $4 million in purses from 13 wins in 22 career starts. The bay daughter of Bernstein won last year’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile by 2 ½ lengths at Keeneland for trainer Mark Casse. This year, she won her first five starts, including the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs, before being sent to England for the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, and over a soft course, prevailed by a half-length against male rivals. Tepin returned to the races on September 16, defeating males again in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) at Woodbine. But her eight-race winning streak, which began with a win in the 2015 First Lady Stakes (G1) ended in this year’s First Lady on October 8 when she could not catch Teresa Viola Stables’ 5-year-old mare PHOTO CALL (IRE), who led all the way for a 2 ¾-length victory.
Tepin’s biggest challenge could come from The Club Racing, Allen Rosenblum and Sagamore Farm’s MISS TEMPLE CITY, who also scored major successes against males for trainer Graham Motion, winning the Shadwell Turf Mile (GI) at Keeneland in her last start, and also capturing Keeneland’s Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) in April.
The West Coast contingent will be led by Venneri Racing and Little Red Feather Racing’s MIDNIGHT STORM, who earned an automatic berth into the Mile with his win in the “Win and You’re In” Shoemaker Mile (GI) in June for trainer Phil D’Amato. The 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile has won three straight, including the Eddie Read (G1) in July and the Del Mar Mile (GII) in his last start on August 21.
Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s MONDIALISTE (IRE), who finished second to Tepin in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, returned to the U.S. in August and captured the Arlington Million (G1) by a neck for trainer David O’Meara. The 6-year-old son of Galileo was recently fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile. Other formidable challenges from Europe could come from Derrrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 3-year-old filly ALICE SPRINGS (IRE), who has scored back-to-back Group 1 triumphs in the Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 10, and in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 1 for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The chestnut daughter of Galileo was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Paul Jacobs’s LIMATO (IRE) won two Group 1 races in four starts this year, capturing the Darley July Cup at Newmarket in July and the recently the 7 furlong Qatar Prix de la Foret at Chantilly by three lengths. Mrs. Evelyn Stockwell’s 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner HIT IT A BOMB also has been pre-entered in the Mile.
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 ¼ miles is headlined by Sheep Pond Partners’ 4-year-old LADY ELI, the winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, who made a remarkable recovery from a life-threatening battle with laminitis last year. Trained by Chad Brown, Lady Eli was second in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga on August 27, her first start in 13 months, but followed up that performance by winning the “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont on Park on October 8. Ramona Bass’s 4-year-old AVENGE, trained by Richard Mandella, has won three straight races, including the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar, and recently, a front-running victory in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm’s Catch a Glimpse won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for trainer Mark Casse. The 3-year-old daughter of City Zip won six consecutive races this year until finishing second in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga and seventh-in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Keeneland.
Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s SEVENTH HEAVEN (IRE) won the Darley Irish Oaks (G1) at The Curragh in July and followed that performance with a 2½-length win in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) for an automatic berth into the Filly & Mare Turf for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
KITCAT (CHI) won five straight races in Chile this year, highlighted by the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) on May 22, which earned her a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Mile. However, owners Stud Vedaval have designated the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy for a first preference in the Filly & Mare Turf. She finished second in her U.S. debut, the one mile Swingtime Stakes at Santa Anita on October 8.
NUOVO RECORD (JPN), trained by Makoto Saito, second in last December’s Hong Kong Gold Cup, and fourth in the Sapporo Kiren (G2) in August, also has been pre-entered.
The $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint at 6 furlongs could shape up as battle between the Bob Baffert-trained LORD NELSON and the top sprinter from the East in A.P. INDIAN. Owned by Spendthrift Farm, the 4-year-old Lord Nelson has reeled off four straight wins, including consecutive Grade 1 tallies in the Triple Bend, Bing Crosby and recently a 2½ -length win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Not to be outdone, Green Lantern Stables’ A.P. INDIAN has won six straight races this year, including Grade 1 back to back performances at Saratoga in the Alfred Vanderbilt and the Forego. The 6-year-old gelded son of Indian Charlie, trained by Arnaud Delacour, came on strong in his final prep, taking the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G1) by a nose on October 7.
Baffert also has pre-entered Baoma Corporation’s 3-year-old DREFONG, who has won four in row, including the King’s Bishop at Saratoga. Owner and trainer Charlton Baker will look to spring the upset with his 7-year-old gelding JOKING, a come from behind winner of the Vosburgh (G1) over a muddy track at Belmont Park last time out.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs has 17 pre-entered horses three of them automatic qualifiers led by Gary Barber and Sequel Racing’s HAVEYOUGONEAWAY, winner of the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga for trainer Tom Morley; Sea Jay Racing’s SPELLING AGAIN, who took the Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream Park in July, and IRISH JASPER, who came from behind to win the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. Jay Em Ess Stable’s BY THE MOON, trained by Michelle Nevin, was second by a half-length to Haveyougoneaway in the Ballerina, also won the Bed o’Roses at Belmont in June. Defending Filly & Mare Sprint winner, the 5-year-old mare WAVELL AVENUE, for owners Michael Dubb, Head of the Plains Partners, et al, and trained by Chad Brown, was recently third in the Gallant Bloom (G2) at Belmont Park behind Vincent Scuderi’s PAULASILVERLING.
Kaleem Shah’s DORTMUND has been chasing California Chrome for the past three races, finishing just a half-length behind in the 1 1/16-mile San Diego Handicap (G2), third the Pacific Classic, and second in the Awesome Again (G1) this month. Seeking a shorter distance, the chestnut son of Big Brown has been pre-entered in the $1 million Las Vegas Dirt Mile on Championship Friday for trainer Bob Baffert. The 3-year-old TOM’S READY, who won the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park in June and the Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs last out on October 1 for GMB Racing and trainer Dallas Stewart, also has been pre-entered, as has last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner RUNHAPPY for owner James McIngvale.
The 1 1/16-mile $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will offer the usual confrontations for the best of California, New York and Kentucky.
For the Juvenile, the owner and trainer combination of two-time Breeders’ Cup champion Zenyatta – owners Anne and Jerry Moss and trainer John Shirreffs – have pre-entered GORMLEY, a three-length winner of Santa Anita’s “Win and You’re In” FrontRunner (G1) on October 1, where he defeated Kaleem Shah’s 3-10 favored KLIMT, who won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the Best Pal (G2) over the summer. From Kentucky, trainer Mark Casse brings in John Oxley’s unbeaten CLASSIC EMPIRE, a Pioneerof the Nile colt who won the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill in June and was a three-length winner in the recent “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. Klaravich Stables’ and William Lawrence’s PRACTICAL JOKE and Eric Fein, Christopher McKenna, Harris Fein et al’s SYNDERGAARD staged a terrific battle to the wire in the “Win and You’re In” Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on October 8, with Practical Joke, trained by Chad Brown, prevailing by a nose. The New York-bred Syndergaard, trained by Todd Pletcher, suffered his first defeat in three starts.
In the Juvenile Fillies, the Baffert-trained NOTED AND QUOTED was a half-length winner over LNJ Foxwoods’ WITH HONORS in the “Win and You’re In” Chandelier Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. YELLOW AGATE, owned by China Horse Club, took Belmont’s “Win and You’re In” Frizette Stakes (G1) by head in her second career start. From Kentucky, Chadds Ford Stable’s DANCING RAGS, trained by Graham Motion, defeated Normandy Farm’s DADDYS LIL DARLING by a length in Keeneland’s “Win and You’re In” Darley Alcibiades (G1). Daddy’s Lil Darling came into the Alcibiades after gaining a “Win and You’re In” qualifying berth in the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs.
In the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at one mile, two Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners, China Horse Club’s GOOD SAMARITAN, winner of the Summer Stakes (G2) at Woodbine for trainer Bill Mott, and Gary Barber’s KEEP QUIET (FR), who was victorious in the Bourbon Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, have been pre-entered.
A father-son training battle looms between Aidan O’Brien and the younger Joseph O’Brien in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Mrs. C.C Regalado-Gonzalez’s INTRICATELY (IRE), trained by Joseph, defeated Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s HYDRANGEA (IRE), trained by Aidan, in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) at The Curragh on September 11. Hydrangea finished second in the recent Dubai Fillies Mile at Newmarket.
In the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs, MONGOLIAN SATURDAY had lost four consecutive starts in Hong Kong and England after winning last year’s Turf Sprint at 15-1. But the 6-year-old gelded son of Any Given Saturday, trained by Enebish Ganbat, got to the winner’s circle again at Keeneland on October 8, winning the Woodford Stakes (G3) by a half-length. The Aidan O’Brien-trained WASHINGTON DC (IRE), second by three quarters of a length in the Prix de l’Abbaye (G1), also has been pre-entered.
A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races with the exception of the Dirt Mile, which is limited to 12 starters. Breeders’ Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based on (i) Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners, (ii) a point system, and (iii) the judgment of a panel of racing experts. The combination of Challenge winners and point earners totals to seven to establish the automatic qualifiers. The field selection system was implemented following the taking of pre-entries on Monday, October 24, to officially rank the oversubscribed fields. The Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel (the “Panel”) ranked all horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races. After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference. Entry for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be Monday, October 31 by 10 a.m. (PT). At the time of entry, a maximum of 14 horses (or 12) will be accepted for each race based on the order of preference established at pre-entry.
There will be up to two (2) also-eligible horses for each Championship race. The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel’s order of preference for each Championship race that is oversubscribed at the time of entry of entry. Scratch time for all Championships races to be contested on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday will be 8 a.m. PT, Friday, November 4.