Despite the absence of several marquee names that include two notable defending champs – or perhaps because of those very defections – pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships were as strong as ever for North American racing’s signature event next week at Santa Anita Park.
A record 201 pre-entries were taken for the 13 races to be run Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park, breaking the previous mark of 194 set in 2011 when the Breeders’ Cup consisted of 15 races. Four races attracted 20 or more pre-entries – the Juvenile Turf, Turf Sprint, Sprint and Mile – and nine were oversubscribed.
The $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the races that oversubscribed with 15 pre-entries, relatively surprising considering the vast amount of defections from the division over the last few months.
Seven of the 14 runners in the body of the Classic field are 3-year-olds, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, last year’s champion 2-year-old male and the undefeated Shared Belief and Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Tonalist.
The Classic brings the Breeders’ Cup card to a close Saturday, Nov. 1 with its 8:35 p.m. ET post time and the race that immediately precedes it at 7:40 p.m. proved extremely popular with 25 pre-entries. The Breeders’ Cup Mile undoubtedly was so attractive because of last week’s defection of two-time winner and two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan.
Nearly all of the Breeders’ Cup races will be shown on the NBC Sports Network on cable Friday (5-8 p.m. ET) and Saturday (3:30-8 p.m. ET), with the Classic broadcast on NBC from 8-9 p.m. ET. The races will also be broadcast on HRTV and on the radio through the Horse Racing Radio Network from 5-8 p.m. Friday and 3-9 p.m. Saturday.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Half of the 14 runners selected into the body of the suddenly wide-open Mile field are based in Europe, including Woodbine Mile winner Trade Storm, French Group 1-winning mare Fiesolana and the Japanese-bred, French-based classic winner Karakontie.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint is the lone main track race with more than 20 pre-entries, significantly more than the dozen that contested last year’s edition. The group of 21 features defending champion Secret Circle, Grade 1 winners Palace, Private Zone, Big Macher and Rich Tapestry from Hong Kong
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Magician is one of five 2013 winners back in search of another title and he is one of 16 pre-entered in the $3-million Breeders’ Cup Turf for Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien. The son of Galileo is also one of seven European-based runners in the field, along with Just The Judge, Brown Panther, Chicquita, Flintshire, Secret Gesture and Telescope.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint attracted a record 29 pre-entries with more on the also-eligible list (15) than in the body of the race.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
– Past performances for the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
– Past performances for the Draft Kings Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Breeders’ Cup Friday
The Breeders’ Cup kicks off Friday, Oct. 31 with four races led by the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The Distaff, with a post time of 7:35 p.m. ET, could carry Horse of the Year implications depending on the outcomes of several other races Saturday.
Untapable will attempt to win for the sixth time in seven starts this season and a win would give her Grade 1 victories in the Distaff, Kentucky Oaks, Mother Goose and Cotillion. Close Hatches will try and rebound from a clunker in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster last time out and will need a good performance to maintain her grip on the older male title over Belle Gallantey or others. A victory would also give her a solid case for Horse of the Year honors, again depending on what plays out Saturday.
– Past performances for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
– Past performances for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
– All past performances courtesy of Equibase.