Breeders’ Cup Catch-Up: Who’s rising, and who’s out

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 26th, 2020

Who is on the rise heading into the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland? And who is out of the mix as the year-end event approaches?

Each week, we’ll review a handful of prominent contenders across multiple divisions and explore who’s hot and who’s not heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

On the rise

Channel Maker

A veteran 6-year-old gelding, Channel Maker has been on fire since he switched to frontrunning tactics in late summer, when he posted back-to-back victories in the Sword Dancer (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1).

Channel Maker loves soft ground, so possible autumn rainfall at Keeneland would be right up his alley. The Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) isn't coming up as tough as it could have (European standouts Ghaiyyath and Love are skipping the race), which presents an opportunity for Channel Maker to steal the show.

Essential Quality

His form lines received a big boost last weekend, when King Fury and Super Stock — who finished eighth and third behind Essential Quality in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1) — returned to run 1-2 in the Street Sense S. at Churchill Downs.

Essential Quality continues to train forwardly for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), which sets the stage for a big effort Nov. 6.

Monomoy Girl

Victorious in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Monomoy Girl is undefeated in three starts this year and well positioned to reclaim her Distaff title.

Several prominent rivals have withdrawn in recent weeks, including Grade 1 winners Hard Not to Love, Fighing Mad, and Vexatious. Another challenger, Preakness (G1) winner Swiss Skydiver, could land in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) instead.

With Monomoy Girl training as sharply as ever, the Distaff appears to be hers for the taking.

Out of the mix

Happy Saver

The undefeated Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner would have been an intriguing up-and-comer in the Classic, but the Daily Racing Form reports he’ll skip the Keeneland showcase to gear up for a 2021 campaign.


The winner of the San Pasqual (G2) in February, Midcourt was under consideration for the Classic or Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), after he placed third in both the Pacific Classic (G1) and Awesome Again (G1).

But plans have changed, and the 5-year-old gelding will now skip the Breeders’ Cup, which shrinks the prospective field for the Classic down to just 10 horses.

Mo Forza

A five-time graded stakes winner on the California circuit, Mo Forza ranked among the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), after impressive victories in the Del Mar Mile H. (G2) and City of Hope Mile (G2).

Unfortunately, an ill-timed training setback will force the son of Uncle Mo to miss the Breeders’ Cup, though he is expected to return to action in 2021.