By Emily Shields
Pre-entries for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup taking place at Santa Anita on November 1 and 2 were announced Wednesday, with the number of 188 down 15% from last year’s event at Churchill Downs. However, it is up from the last time the event was held at Santa Anita (although there was one less race then).
Leading three-year-old Code of Honor will take on older horses such as McKinzie, Higher Power, and Mongolian Groom, with the mare Elate adding extra interest in the $6 million Classic. Only 11 horses were pre-entered, including Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, Santa Anita grade 1 winner Vino Rosso, and upset Pennsylvania Derby hero Math Wizard. Seeking the Soul, Yoshida, and Owendale round out the field.
Both Anthony Van Dyck and the filly Magical, who was second last year, could run in this event from the Aidan O’Brien outfit. Magical has second preference in the Filly and Mare Turf, where she would be second choice behind Sistercharlie. O’Brien also has Mount Everest for this. They all have to take on the streaking Bricks and Mortar from Chad Brown, as well as this year’s California standout Acclimate. Arklow from the Brad Cox barn has done well this year, and Old Persian won the Northern Dancer (G1) at Woodbine.
All eyes will be on Midnight Bisou as she tries to cap a perfect year. Trying to upset her are Dunbar Road, Blue Prize, and Paradise Woods, who is already a multiple grade 1 winner at Santa Anita. Serengeti Empress, this year’s Kentucky Oaks winner, and the popular Street Band are three-year-olds facing older. 12 were pre-entered, with Elate having first preference in the Classic.
22 horses were pre-entered, with four having first preference elsewhere. French-bred Lord Glitters and last year’s Juvenile Turf winner Line of Duty are just two of the several Europeans involved, with Uni and Got Stormy strong female leads from America. Bolo was a grade 1 winner here earlier this year. El Tormenta won the Woodbine Mile.
Arguably the best race on the card is the $2 million Sprint, which drew a field of 11. Catalina Cruiser will take on Shancelot and Mitole, both of whom have been training very well over the track. Popular Imperial Hint and late running Whitmore and Hog Creek Hustle could pick up the pieces if any of the top three should disappoint.
Filly and Mare Turf
Streaking Sistercharlie is the defending champion in a race that drew 13. Two of the 13 have first preference elsewhere, Magical in the Turf and Iridessa in the Mile. Santa Anita grade 1 winner Mirth will try for the lead, and Vasilika has multiple wins over the track this year. Aidan O’Brien, who has never won this race, has three chances this year.
15 horses were pre-entered in the $1 million Mile; 12 can start. But of the 15, six have first preference elsewhere, so all figure to get into a race. Bob Baffert’s Improbable will take on Omaha Beach, the classy one time favorite for the Kentucky Derby, who was scratched and off for six months before coming back and outrunning Shancelot in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1). Other hopefuls include Mr. Money.
This race drew 16, classy types like Final Frontier on the outside hoping to get in. Defending champion Stormy Liberal will take on local stars Eddie Haskell and Belvoir Bay, with Pure Sensation coming from New York.
Filly and Mare Sprint
Multiple grade 1 winner Spiced Perfection takes on Bellafina and the mighty Kentucky-based Covfefe in this seven-furlong dash. Local winners Danuska’s My Girl, Lady Ninja, and Selcourt add spice to the $1 million race. New York’s Come Dancing was a Breeders’ Cup challenge winner this year. 12 were pre-entered, but three have first preference in the Distaff.
A small field of 12 with four having first preference elsewhere. This race appears on paper as a match between Eight Rings from the Bob Baffert barn and Dennis’ Moment from Dale Romans. Maxfield, impressive at Keeneland last out, is of interest as well for Godolphin.
Bast is the big headliner in here; the race drew 10 with Etoile expected to run in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Donna Veloce was a very impressive maiden winner over the track, and British Idiom scored well at Keeneland in the grade 1 Alcibiades. Mark Casse has two in here, Perfect Alibi and Two Sixty.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
19 were pre-entered for the one-mile race, with only 14 set to start. Challenge race winners Abscond, Albigna, Daahyeh, and Sweet Melanie take on O’Brien runners Tango and Etoile, with Chad Brown bringing Selflessly.
21 horses are in the race, with only 14 allowed to start. Hit the Road won the local prep for trainer Dan Blacker, but European interests have won this race eight times in 12 runnings. Aidan O’Brien has three including the highly tourted Arizona.
Juvenile Turf Sprint
26 horses entered a very oversubscribed race, with only 12 allowed to run and four also eligibles. Kimari was very impressive at Keeneland last out, and faces two Wesley Ward trained stablemates, as well as King Neptune from Aidan O’Brien.
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