Breeders' Cup roundup: Oct. 4, 2021
Last week produced the year’s busiest round of qualifiers for the Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.
Fourteen official prep races took across the U.S. and France and dazzled racing fans with magnificent performances.
Let’s dig in and recap all the action from the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
Medina Spirit, Corniche shine at Santa Anita
The majority of last week’s stateside “Win and You’re In” qualifiers took place at Santa Anita.
Here is how the key results unfolded:
- Medina Spirit was tons the best against a deep field of older rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Awesome Again S. (G1). The son of Protonico led all the way to score by five lengths and stamp his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
- Corniche was similarly impressive in the 1 1/16-mile American Pharoah S. (G1). He carved out the pace and kicked clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. He looks like one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
- Ain’t Easy didn’t run quite as fast as Corniche in the 1 1/16-mile Chandelier S. (G2), but the daughter of Into Mischief won by a larger margin. She tracked the early tempo and surged clear to dominate by 4 3/4 lengths. She earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
- Dr. Schivel kept his win streak alive with an easy win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2), where he led all the way to beat older rivals by 3 1/4 lengths. The talented three-year-old recorded his fifth straight victory and cemented his credentials as a Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) contender.
- Going to Vegas likewise employed frontrunning tactics to score a tenacious victory in the Rodeo Drive S. (G1) at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The wire came just in time for the improving Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) candidate, who dug deep to win by a head.
- Private Mission had no trouble with older rivals in the 1 1/16 miles Zenyatta S. (G2), when she pressed the early pace and edged away to win by 2 1/4 lengths. The once-beaten sophomore is a key contender for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
- One Timer is now undefeated in three starts, after a gutsy victory in the Speakeasy S., a five-furlong sprint on turf. A duel for the lead, through fractions of :21.01 and :43.48, failed to tire the son of Trappe Shot, who held on to win by three-quarters of a length. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) may be next.
Echo Zulu, Jack Christopher blaze home at Belmont Park
The results of two weekend qualifiers at Belmont Park were certainly eye-catching:
- In the Frizette S. (G1) for two-year-old fillies, Echo Zulu recorded her third blowout victory from as many starts. She led all the way, through fast fractions, then powered clear to dominate by 7 1/4 lengths. The daughter of Gun Runner reiterated her status as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies favorite.
- In the Champagne S. (G1) for two-year-olds, Jack Christopher tracked the early pace and seized a 5 1/2-length lead in the homestretch. The speedy son of Munnings ultimately won by 2 3/4 lengths and qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Torquator Tasso leads upset brigade in France
The final five international qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup took place Sunday at Longchamp, where a bevy of surprising results unfolded:
- Torquator Tosso stole the show in the 1 1/2-mile Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), a steppingstone toward the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Sent off at 72-1 in local betting, the German-bred longshot outkicked reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Tarnawa to score by three-quarters of a length.
- Zellie qualified to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with a rallying score in the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac (G1). While heavy favorite Fleur D’Iris weakened from a pacesetting position to finish seventh, Zellie roared away to score by 1 3/4 lengths.
- Angel Bleu sprung a mild upset in the seven-furlong Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1), where he got the better of longshot Noble Truth and favored Ancient Rome in a close finish to win by three-quarters of a length. The son of Dark Angel earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) starting gate.
- Rougir started at 22-1 in the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l’Opera (G1), but rallied gamely in deep stretch to beat Grand Glory by a nose and secure a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Defending Filly & Mare Turf winner Audarya finished fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, after she led past the furlong marker.
- A Case of You emulated Rougir with a flying finish in the five-furlong Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (G1), when he charged furiously to beat Air De Valse by a short head. The 10-1 winner qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Reigning Turf Sprint winner Glass Slippers finished third, five lengths behind the top pair.
Knicks Go, Art Collector wrap up Classic preparations
In addition to the week’s "Win and You’re In" qualifiers, a pair of non-official Breeders’ Cup Classic prep races took place Saturday:
- In the 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs, reigning Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Knicks Go led all the way to score by four effortless lengths. A multiple Grade 1 winner this season, Knicks Go will attempt to stretch his abundant speed over 1 1/4 miles in the Classic.
- In the 1 1/8-mile Woodward S. (G1), Art Collector shook loose on an easy lead and turned back a challenge from heavy favorite Maxfield to score by 1 1/2 lengths. The son of Bernardini picked up his first Grade 1 win to cement his credentials as a Classic contender.
Upcoming 'Win and You’re In' qualifiers
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues this week, with 11 more stateside qualifiers at Belmont Park and Keeneland.
The dates, race names, and qualifying divisions are as follows:
- Oct. 8: Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
- Oct. 8: Phoenix S. (G2) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Sprint
- Oct. 9: Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Mile
- Oct. 9: Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
- Oct. 9: First Lady S. (G1) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
- Oct. 9: Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
- Oct. 9: Vosburgh S. (G2) at Belmont — Breeders’ Cup Sprint
- Oct. 10: Indian Summer S. at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
- Oct. 10: Bourbon S. (G2) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
- Oct. 10: Spinster S. (G1) at Keeneland — Breeders’ Cup Distaff
- Oct. 10: Futurity S. (G2) at Belmont — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Belmont will also host the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) on Saturday and the Beldame S. (G2) on Sunday, which respectively serve as non-official steppingstones toward the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Distaff.
Stay tuned to TwinSpires Edge for more coverage and analysis, as the road to the Breeders’ Cup continues!