The 38th Breeders’ Cup in the books, it’s time to start the final stretch before the holidays and turning the calendar over for another year.
Late fall racing might lack the star-power of late summer and early fall – with most of the best U.S. horses resting from their campaigns or eyeing spots early next year – but it fills a niche and often produces horses to watch down the road. The Aqueduct, Churchill and Del Mar meetings are just getting underway and the weekly primer has all that and more covered.
National Hunt is underway and we’re all about racing from Cheltenham and Punchestown, plus flat action from Lingfield.
Here’s The Saturday Special for November 13. Good luck.
Punchestown. Race 1. 7:00 a.m. Oh, it’s that time of year. Bob Olinger, winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, makes his chase debut for Rachael Blackmore. Nobody’s ducking the five-time winner as 13 opponents signed up.
Cheltenham. Race 1. 7:30. Juvenile Hurdlers continue their march to March and beyond. Paul Nicholls is off to a flyer this season, the champion trainer goes for two straight with French-bred Magistrato.
Punchestown. Race 2. 7:38. Cape Gentleman tries to make it three in a row in the Grade 2 Novice Chase.
Cheltenham. Race 2: 8:05. Some old friends get back to work in the amateurs’ handicap chase.
Punchestown. Race 3. 8:13. Irish dominated Cheltenham in March. Ready for the next fleet? Twelve juvenile hurdlers begin their quest.
Cheltenham. Race 3. 8:40. Third Time Lucki dominated his chase debut over the course in October. The Irish-bred steps into Grade 2 grade here.
Cheltenham. Race 4. 9:15. Lalor makes his debut for Paul Nicholls in the Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup. Twenty line up for a thriller.
Cheltenham. Race 5. 9:50. Good to see R. Johnson’s name on the form of Sporting John, again, reminding us of the changing of the guard. The five-time winner drops back to hurdles after failing to finish his most recent starts.
Lingfield. Race 7. 10:05. Good Effort rebounds after finishing fourth in the Vosburgh. The 6-year-old faces 11 rivals in the Golden Rose Stakes. The Last Lion returns from a five-year hiatus. Yes, five years. If you click on the Racing Post, you can read about him. “Tough & top-class 2yo, won Brocklesby and Middle Park, unraced at 3; speedy family.” Useful? Well, that was for his stallion career!
Cheltenham. Race 6. 10:25. Benson wins the handicap hurdle.
Lingfield. Race 8. 10:40. Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver returns to action in the Churchill Stakes.
Gulfstream Park. Race 3. 1:24. Simplification blasted state-bred maidens by 16 3/4 lengths last time and returns to open company for 6-furlong optional.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:18. R.I.P. English Channel. Word this week about the death of English Channel sent waves through the industry; a champion and finally appreciated sire gone too soon. English Breeze and Freedom Machine fly the flag for their late sire in two-turn state-bred turf allowance.
Laurel Park. Race 3. 1:36. Bust’em Kurt and Outkissed came close last time out and look to graduate in 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-olds.
Churchill Downs. Race 3. 2:00. Good field of five for 1-mile optional. Title Ready makes first start since the Dubai World Cup, Grade 2 winner Rushie exits fourth in Grade 3 Ack Ack, South Bend looks to add to Joel Rosario’s purse haul of 2021 and Sonneman bids to get back on track for Steve Asmussen.
Laurel Park. Race 4. 2:09. Princess Kokachin takes three-race win streak against six others in 5 1/2-furlong optional.
Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:14. Back to the grass for 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-olds. Godolphin’s homebred Hard Spun colt Urban Forest didn’t make the Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Bill Mott – he must have been at the harness track with Riley – but he looks well-meant in grass debut.
Woodbine. Race 4. 2:23. American Tap makes first start since July 2020 when seventh in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes in 5 1/2-furlong allowance that attracts 10 others.
Aqueduct. Race 7. 2:43. Breakfastatbonnies makes first start since improving to 2-for-3 in off-the-turf allowance at Saratoga. New York-bred daughter of Laoban takes on six in state-bred optional going 6 1/2 furlongs.
Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:53. Mark Casse talked about Noble Bird being one of the “20 Horses Who Got Me There” last summer on the way to his Hall of Fame induction. He runs the Noble Bird filly Strategic Bird here for loyal client Gary Barber in 5 1/2-furlong state-bred maiden.
Churchill. Race 5. 3:03. Icy Stare Down, a $425,000 OBS April graduate by Frosted, makes her debut for Brad Cox while Lady Arsinoe looks to improve off good third at Keeneland in debut for Tom Amoss.
Laurel. Race 6. 3:09. The $100,000 Smart Halo leads off the day’s stakes and it features field of eight led by Maryland Million Lassie winner Buff My Boots, Trade Secret, Intrepid Daydream and Luna Belle.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:14. Happy Medium blasted maiden field by 9 1/4 lengths in his second start and Runhappy gelding returns against six other winners in 6-furlong allowance.
Laurel. Race 7. 3:39. Local Motive and No Sabe Nada look tough from the outside against the 3-for-3 Run To Daylight from post two in $100,000 James F. Lewis III.
Aqueduct. Race 9. 3:43. Rinaldi, cooked in a speed duel in the West Point, takes another shot in the $100,000 Artie Schiller. A close fourth in 1-mile stakes last year, 5-year-old New York-bred Posse gelding takes on the likes of Tell Your Daddy, Flavius, Field Pass, March To The Arch, Breaking The Rules and En Wye Cee.
Woodbine. Race 7. 3:56. Ten strong for the co-featured Grade 3 Maple Leaf for fillies and mares at 10 furlongs. Mark Casse goes with a trio in Skygaze, Broadway Lady and Crystal Glacier against Marveilleux, who returns to the synthetic after four straight starts in graded company on the grass for Kevin Attard.
Churchill. Race 7. 4:06. Miss Mosaic found the water a bit deep in her last three, finishing third, fifth and sixth behind Bell’s The One in stakes – the latter two graded. She’s glad that one runs later on the card and not in this 5 1/2-furlong optional.
Laurel. Race 8. 4:09. Older fillies and mares take their turn in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go at 1 1/16 miles. Artful Splatter and Josie were close behind Dreamalildreamofu in the Twixt Stakes. That one isn’t here.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 4:23. Island Commish, entered for $25,000, makes first start on synthetic for Saffie Joseph Jr. in 5-furlong optional that also attracts synthetic winner Like What I See.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:26. Staying in the filly and mare division, the Grade 2 Bessarabian at 7 furlongs. Grade 1 winner Lady Speightspeare made winning return off nearly a year layoff last time out and returns to stakes company for Roger Attfield. Our Secret Agent deserves favorite’s role off victory in Grade 3 Hendrie while Graham Motion’s Tuned merits respect shipping in from Fair Hill.
Churchill. Race 6. 4:36. Field of 10 2-year-olds for 1-mile maiden, including firsters Hornbeam and Marquee Ride for Brad Cox and second time starters Mask Patrol for Brendan Walsh and Seven Flat for Ron Moquett.
Del Mar. Race 4. 5:00. John Sadler sends out two – Divine Armor and Impossible Task – against the first-time Californian Arham and Phantom Dance in 1-mile optional on the main track.
Churchill. Race 9. 5:06. How about these purses? Six-furlong allowance for 2-year-olds worth $127,000 draws Spinaway eighth Girl With A Dream, Alcibiades 11th Pipeline Girl and Saratoga turf debut winner Lady Danae.
Del Mar. Race 5. 5:30. Cal-bred fillies and mares go 1 mile in maiden on the grass.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:36. Bell’s The One and Sconsin both would have played a big role in last week’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint but opted to stay home for the $300,000 Dream Supreme, along with Club Car and Frank’s Rockette. That quartet line up alongside each other from post four out in 6-furlong stakes.
Del Mar. Race 6. 6:00. Races like this – 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-olds – often produce ones to watch down the road. Bob Baffert sends out three first-time starters in Air Combat (by Blame), Newgrange (by Violance) and Wesleyan (by Curlin).
Churchill. Race 11. 6:06. Tough to sort the 10 for the finale, second division of the 1-mile maiden for 2-year-olds.
Del Mar. Race 7. 6:30. Field of eight Cal-breds – plus a couple AEs – for 5-furlong optional on the grass.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 6:45. C’Mon Man, winner of his last two on the synthetic, takes the next step in $50,000 Golden Nugget Stakes for trainer Bill McLean. Sanford Bay features the most experience in the field, with five prior starts for Jonathan Wong.
Del Mar. Race. 8. 7:00. Eda, fifth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and winner of the Anoakia Stakes in late October at Santa Anita, takes on four including maiden stablemate Under The Stars in the $100,000 Desi Arnaz.
Charles Town Races. Race 7. 10:02. Still going strong? Hats off to you. Celebrate by picking the winner of the $75,000 My Sister Pearl for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares. Star Of Night and Stowe Angel played role in Jeff Runco’s big West Virginia Classics Day. He’s always a good place to start and also runs Power Forward and See Ya Manana.