Found to be cross-entered to Breeders’ Cup Classic
Given Coolmore’s penchant for trying the dirt, however, I should have seen it coming: sure, the “lads” might keep Found out of Highland Reel’s way…but possibly by pitching her into the Classic (G1)!
Such was the bombshell dropped by Aidan O’Brien on Sunday. His interview with Matt Chapman of At the Races was transcribed by Britain’s Press Association:
I’m not sure she'll be entered in the Filly & Mare, she might be entered in the Turf and she might be entered in the Classic. The lads will decide when the dust settles, see how she is and how everything is, I think.
She’s a great mare, she travels strongly and she stays well. She is gutsy and determined and she’s brave.
Obviously it (the Classic) is totally into the unknown, but the lads will talk about that and see what they want to do. But she is a great mare, really.
She might retire after this year anyway, so it’s getting to the end of her runs, but we’ll see how she is during the week, she seems to be in good form.
O’Brien likewise told Racing Post’s Tony O’Hehir that the options are open:
We’ve decided to put Found in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and she will be entered for the race in the morning. Whether or not she runs in the Classic hasn't been decided.
She’s also in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, which she won last year, and we’ll wait a bit longer before deciding which race she will go for and what other horses we’ll be taking to Santa Anita.
As a filly, Found is a different case from O’Brien’s past Breeders’ Cup Classic hopefuls, who were males with much more incentive to roll the dice from a stud value perspective. Many were turf types without a compelling reason to go well on dirt, which goes some way toward explaining O’Brien’s 0-14 record in the Classic.
His two near-missers – Giant’s Causeway (second in 2000) and Declaration of War (third in 2013) – were exceptions as 10-furlong aficionados bred for the dirt. Henrythenavigator (2008), the only other O’Brien runner to place in the Classic, competed on Santa Anita’s old synthetic Pro-Ride. Unfortunately, the synthetic didn’t help Duke of Marmalade (ninth in 2008) and Rip Van Winkle (10th in 2009).
The others were all unplaced on dirt, a list comprising Found’s own sire, Galileo (sixth in 2001); Black Minnaloushe (10th in 2001); Hawk Wing (seventh in 2002); Hold That Tiger (fifth in 2003); Oratorio (11th in 2005); George Washington (sixth in 2006 and a tragic fatality in 2007); So You Think (sixth in 2011); and Gleneagles (last of eight in 2015).
On pedigree, Found doesn’t offer a lot of hope to improve O’Brien’s statistics in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but we’ll save that discussion until it’s necessary.
Here’s the tentative Ballydoyle BC brigade, according to @aobrienfansite:
Juvenile (G1) or Juvenile Turf (G1): Intelligence Cross, Lancaster Bomber
Juvenile Fillies (G1): Brave Anna, Roly Poly
Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1): Brave Anna, Hydrangea, Roly Poly
Turf Sprint (G1): Washington DC
Filly & Mare Turf (G1): Seventh Heaven
Mile (G1): Alice Springs
Turf (G1): Found, Highland Reel
Classic (G1): Found
Found photo by Frank Sorge/Horsephotos.com