Here & There – Breeders’ Cup 2020

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The team from This Is Horse Racing and The Saratoga Special stayed home for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships – Sean in Virginia, Joe in Maryland and Tom in New York – but they’re tuned in and ready for the two-day extravaganza at Keeneland Race Course.

And they’re able to churn out some content related to the Breeders’ Cup thanks to a five-person pool reporting team assembled by the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters and granted full access all week to the stable area and grandstand for morning training.

Following the lead from the Derby and Preakness pool reporters, the Breeders’ Cup pool team of Jennie Rees, Alicia Hughes, Nicole Russo, Frank Angst and Tim Wilkin started their mornings early and finished late, churning out written, video and audio content for the world to use.

We pulled together some of the best Worth Repeating quotes we could find and put together another stable of The Special – and past Breeders’ Cups – with another edition of Here & There. Enjoy.

By the Numbers

3: Breeders’ Cup winners who produced a Breeders’ Cup winner – Hollywood Wildcat (War Chant), Personal Ensign (My Flag), My Flag (Storm Flag Flying) and Shared Account (Sharing).

5: Broodmares who have produced multiple Breeders’ Cup winners – Leslie’s Lady (4), Hasili (2), Primal Force (2), Sweet Life (2) and Win Approval (2). Leslie’s Lady produced three-time winner Beholder and Mendelssohn.

6: Wins for Adena Springs and the late Allen Paulson as breeders, the most in Breeders’ Cup history and one more than the Wertheimer brothers.

7: Runners entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by trainer Wesley Ward, including four in the body of the race led by favorite Golden Pal.

7: Wins for offspring of More Than Ready at the Breeders’ Cup.

13 1/2: Largest winning margin in Breeders’ Cup history, by Hall of Famer Inside Information in the 1995 Distaff.

19: Career wins for Filly and Mare Turf entrant Starship Jubilee, most of any horse at the Breeders’ Cup and five more than Turf Sprint entrant Extravagant Kid and Sprint entrant Whitmore.

20: Breeders’ Cup victories for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who doesn’t have a starter this year.

23: Breeders’ Cup winners to sire a Breeders’ Cup winner. Unbridled’s Song leads with six – Unbridled Elaine, Midshipman, Unrivaled Belle, Liam’s Map, Arrogate and Forever Unbridled.

31: Win percentage of favorites at the Breeders’ Cup, 107-for-346.

221: Kentucky-bred winners of Breeders’ Cup races, far and away the leading state. Florida ranks second with 28.

3,805: Horses cataloged for the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, which starts two days after the Breeders’ Cup. Five Breeders’ Cup entrants – Crazy Beautiful (Juvenile Fillies/Hip 244F), Horologist (Distaff/Hip 29), Lady Prancealot (Filly and Mare Turf/Hip 48), Oleksandra (Turf Sprint/Hip 81) and Ollie’s Candy (Distaff/Hip 83) are cataloged.

12,736,287: Dollars in purses won at the Breeders’ Cup by leading international stallion Galileo, tops on the all-time list and more than $2 million more than Unbridled’s Song.

30,065,000: Dollars in purses earned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s runners at the Breeders’ Cup heading into the 2020 edition, more than $6 million more than runner-up Aidan O’Brien.

36,634606: Dollars in purses won by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith at the Breeders’ Cup. Smith sits the 2020 renewal out and stayed home at Del Mar.

Worth Repeating

“If I’m driving back to Louisville Saturday night without four trophies, I’ll be disappointed.
Trainer Dale Romans, who run Girl Daddy (Juvenile Fillies), Sittin On Go (Juvenile), Sally’s Curlin (Filly and Mare Sprint) and Mr Freeze (Dirt Mile)

“I didn’t come down here for the sights.”
Trainer Barclay Tagg, who sends out Belmont and Travers winner Tiz The Law in the Classic

“I think if Golden Pal shows up everybody could be running for second or third.”
Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners on the favorite for the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Eclipse and Gary Barber run Dirty Dangle in the race

“They’re all dicey. One thing I’ve learned about the Breeders’ Cup over the years, it’s the best horses, best jockeys, best trainers. You’ve got to be on your game.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on the strength of this year’s races

“We’ve got a lot fresher horse, last year he had a lot of starts under him and this year only three.”
Trainer Rusty Arnold on Turf Sprint contender Leinster, 3-for-4 at Keeneland and 2-for-3 with a second in 2020

“She’s better than when she was at Pimlico. Scary to say but she’s pulling more, a little more here. I don’t know if it’s the home track or what.”
Jockey Robby Albarado on Swiss Skydiver after her final breeze for the Distaff in 1:00 on the morning of Halloween

“She quickens like a grass horse. … She’s like a cat around there.”
Albarado on Swiss Skydiver

“I hate to speak for someone else, but with Gamine drawing the 2-hole they really feel they have to leave from the 2-hole and that hurts us as well because we’re outside of her. Being outside of Gamine as well as Gamine being as close to the rail as she is suggests that the pace is going to be set by those two horses, Serengeti Empress and Gamine. On paper at least, the draw, how it went favors someone who will close in the race. But Serengeti Empress, you can’t measure her just on paper, she’s got tremendous heart. There’s no secret to our game plan, we’re going to go.”
Tom Amoss on Filly and Mare Sprint contender Serengeti Empress

“I don’t know if I’m going to bet my money, but I like Tom’s d’Etat. Let the old man win it. He’d be the oldest horse to win the Classic if he did. I’ve been a fan, Al’s a friend and I’d love to see him win the big one again.”
Romans on the Breeders’ Cup Classic

“Last year we were fortunate enough to not only win the Classic, but we felt like coming in we had a big chance. Coming in with a different group this year. Some young horses that are doing really well but we don’t have that clear-cut standout.”
Todd Pletcher, looking to build on his 11 Breeders’ Cup wins with Mutasaabet in the Juvenile Turf, Union Gables in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Likeable in the Juvenile, Halladay in the Mile and Valiance in the Distaff

“It speaks to how deep the fields are at the Breeders’ Cup. It’s what makes it such a great gambling venue. You can have horses you really like and get a very fair mutuel price on them. Off the strength of his Fourstardave he might end up being a little shorter price than that but in a race like this, that’s so deep, the favorite might be 4 or 5-1.”
Pletcher on Halladay, 12-1 on the morning line for the Mile

“Valiance is just out of her mind right now for Todd Pletcher. He’s done wonders with her. … She’s really flourished. She’s thriving right now, just on an upward trajectory. There’s no telling how good she might be and she’s going to have to take up another notch or two against Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver.”
Wellman on Distaff contender and Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster winner Valiance

“She’s a horse of a lifetime and most likely a future Hall of Famer.”
Jockey Florent Geroux on Distaff favorite Monomoy Girl

“The Classic horses, they’re three pretty powerful horses. I’ve never been this strong before in the Classic. I’d be happy to have just one of them in the Classic but to have three is pretty amazing.
Baffert, who runs Improbable, Maximum Security and Authentic in the $6 million headliner

“It’s been a tough year. A lot of the stuff that happened were things that were really no intent made there to do anything wrong. We’re going to deal with it and get better. I’ve always run a tight ship, I have to run it tighter. Can’t run it like a barn, have to run it like a hospital. We’re going to do better. It’s embarrassing. I don’t like what I’ve been going through. It’s been tough on my family. At the end of the day, my owners and everybody, are behind me and we’ll get through it. … I love what I do, I love racing and I’m going to keep promoting it. … Sometimes those headlines are deceiving and people are getting the wrong story there.” 
Baffert, in the news in recent weeks over alleged positive drug tests to Filly and Mare Sprint favorite Gamine

“Keeneland has always been so special to me. It’s where my father first learned about horse racing, then to win that first Breeders’ Cup. Since that first Breeders’ Cup we’ve been fortunate to win three more, and a couple classic winners. It’s been a great ride, hopefully we can keep it going.”
Trainer Mark Casse, who won the Mile in 2015 with Tepin

“By My Standards, he’s my man. I love that horse. We’ve been having success over the year.
Jockey Gabriel Saez on his mount in the Classic

“I’d say we’re bringing them here because we think we have a chance to win. Nothing comes easy Breeders’ Cup Weekend. We’ve been fortunate to win 15 races but each one of them was far from a certainty when they go in the gate. I don’t think you go in expecting anything. … I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if we walk out of here with one Breeders’ Cup win I’ll feel fortunate. That’s how much I respect the Breeders’ Cup races and how difficult they are.”
Trainer Chad Brown, who entered 13 for the two days including four in the Filly and Mare Turf

“Horses get fevers all the time, you just hope that it doesn’t happen on the eve of one of the biggest moments of this horse’s career and mine, too. … We’re all disappointed. I’m disappointed for Randy Hill and Mike Gatsas, they’ve been in the game a long time. … As deflated as you could get, if you play this game for any amount of time you know these things happen all the time and you just have to let it go.”
Trainer George Weaver, forced to scratch Sprint contender Vekoma Wednesday

“To be honest with you I don’t think we’re running against any Mitole’s this year. … I think it’s a wide-open race.”
Trainer Vickie Foley on the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, where she’ll run Hog Creek Hustle

“He did appreciate the cut in the ground he got in both of those races. The fall of the year is always good for him because you get a little softer ground. Even if we don’t get rain all week at Keeneland there should be a little cut in the ground, which he’ll appreciate. He doesn’t need bottomless ground. He’s a horse that’s doing very well. He’s dappled out and seems to be proud of himself. The fact he won a couple races, I think they get their confidence up just like people get their confidence up.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott on Turf contender Channel Maker, winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in his last two starts

“It’s surreal. That’s a word I’ve used a lot.”
Trainer Ken McPeek on the ride with Swiss Skydiver

“It was funny when we pulled up, Colby, my little brother was on the other one and he goes ‘I’ve never seen a horse throw dirt up that high.’ That goes to show you well he worked. He just cruised along the whole way.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile contender Art Collector’s last work in company

“They’re extremely difficult races to win. You have to be doing well. You can’t take a horse into these races that are subpar or just not on the top of their game. These are the best horses in the world. You have to be on it and ready to go.”
Trainer Brad Cox, who sends out Monomoy Girl, Aunt Pearl and Essential Quality among his eight runners Friday and Saturday

“He’s very mature physically, mentally. Done everything thing right since he came into the barn. Proud that he started at Mom and Dad’s in Laretto, broke his maiden here at Churchill, three wins in New York, a good Saratoga, hasn’t missed a beat, shipped into Keeneland really well and has trained well there.”
Steve Asmussen on undefeated Juvenile favorite Jackie’s Warrior

“Right before the Travers was the best he’s ever been when I’ve been on him. Up here he worked great, I didn’t ask him to do anything. He cruised around out there, galloped out great, I had to reach up and pull him up to stop him. He came out of it great. … I’d say we’re in a good spot.”
Exercise rider Heather Smullen on Classic contender Tiz The Law

“He seems flawless that way. I’ve never seen him get tired. If you work, he might be hard to pull up for another half mile. He never seems to take anything out of him. Fortunate to have a horse that has that good of a constitution.”
Tagg on Tiz The Law