Kentucky Derby Alumni Update: Breeders' Cup week 2021
With Breeders' Cup on the horizon, there are plenty of Kentucky Derby and Oaks alumni to check in with this weekend. But, several also hit the track in the last week, making it the right time to look back and then look forward!
- Two Kentucky Derby alumni from different years both turned up in the Fayette (G2), the closing day feature at Keeneland on October 30. Code of Honor (2nd, 2019 Kentucky Derby), sent off the second favorite, sat closer to the lead than usual. He stalked in close range of Independence Hall, though down the lane he could not keep the pacesetter in his sights. He kept on clear of the others, but crossed the wire seven and a quarter lengths behind Independence Hall. Major Fed (10th, 2020 Kentucky Derby) snapped his win streak in his return to stakes company, chasing a few lengths off the early pace before flattening out to seventh in the field of eight.
- Like the King (12th, 2021 Kentucky Derby) turned in another strong effort on the lawn October 30 at Keeneland in the one-mile Bryan Station. Midfield early, he rallied into the lane, improved to second midstretch, and chased after Camp Hope with continued interest for the place, 2 3/4 lengths behind.
- Ny Traffic (8th, 2020 Kentucky Derby) went off the 0.95-1 favorite in the six-and-a-half-furlong Hudson Handicap on October 30 at Belmont. He did not disappoint his backers: stalking in range from the beginning, he took complete command in upper stretch and drew off to win by 8 3/4 lengths.
- Rock Your World (17th, 2021 Kentucky Derby) returned to the grass for the first time since wins in January and February, in the Twilight Derby. The public bet him down to 1.3-1 favoritism. Through the early stages he showed his customary speed. However, he was headed by eventual winner Subconscious at the quarter and weakened down the rail in the lane, finishing ninth, four and a half lengths behind the winner.
- Moraz (11th, 2021 Kentucky Oaks) shot to the lead in a second-level allowance optional claiming race on November 3, going a mile on the Del Mar grass. She opened up midstretch and kept on going well to hold off even-money favorite Nazuma and win by a length.
- As always, the second day of the Breeders' Cup features a host of runners familiar from the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Alumni include:
- Gamine (disqualified, 2020 Kentucky Oaks), a convincing winner of all four starts this year, will be a heavy favorite in the Filly and Mare Turf (G1). She drew gate 5 in a field of six, though Estilo Talentoso is expected to scratch.
- Firenze Fire (11th, 2018 Kentucky Derby) drew post 6 in a nine-horse Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). He has been second in his last two starts, after some interesting antics in both: biting Yaupon in the Forego (G2), then breaking through the gate in the Vosburgh (G2).
- A pair of Kentucky Oaks winners headline the alumni in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1). Shedaresthedevil (1st, 2020 Kentucky Oaks), drawn in post 8 of 11, gets her rubber match with divisional leader Letruska after they've split their season series. Malathaat (1st, 2021 Kentucky Oaks) has been the star of the three-year-old fillies' division, and breaks from post 3 for her first race against older horses. Clairiere (4th, 2021 Kentucky Oaks), fresh off her victory in the Cotillion (G1), also makes her first start against older mares. Clairiere drew post 5.
- Three of the nine entrants in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) are Kentucky Derby alumni. Max Player (5th, 2020 Kentucky Derby), winner of two straight Win and You're In preps for the Classic, breaks from gate 9, the outermost. Two of the first three horses across the wire in this year's Run for the Roses join him for the Classic. Medina Spirit (1st across the wire, 2021 Kentucky Derby), from post 8, makes his first start since winning the Awesome Again (G1). Hot Rod Charlie (3rd, 2021 Kentucky Derby), drawn in the 3 gate, returns after his long-awaited G1 win in the Pennsylvania Derby.
- Necker Island (9th, 2020 Kentucky Derby) won an allowance-level dirt sprint at Churchill Downs on October 3, and returns to that surface for the six-furlong Bet on Sunshine Stakes on November 6. He drew the rail in a field of eight.