Several of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup races feature a number of runners with connections (of one sort or another) to the mid-Atlantic region. Here are some we’re watching:
JUVENILE FILLIES[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Bold Quality (20-1) will carry George and Lori Hall’s fluorescent pink colors into the 1 1/16 mile event. The Elusive Quality filly, trained at Monmouth Park by Kelly Breen, won at first asking against Parx maidens. More recently, she was disqualified from second to third in the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs last month after some late bumping. Paco Lopez has the mount.
TURF SPRINT[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- The top two runners from last month’s Grade 3 Turf Monster, at Parx Racing, are here and they bookend the field. Breaking from the one-hole is Turf Monster winner Pure Sensation (6-1), who won for the third time in four grass starts that day, beating Mongolian Saturday by a nose. The four-year-old Zensational gelding is trained by Christophe Clement and has won over $460,000 and a pair of stakes. John Velazquez will ride.
- Defending champ Bobby’s Kitten (15-1) returns. The Chad Brown trainee won the ’14 Penn Mile prior to his Breeders’ Cup triumph, but the distance of this race — 5 1/2 furlongs — is something of a question mark. The shortest distance at which he’s competed is the 6 1/2 furlongs of the downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita, and his two tries this year — he’s unplaced — were at 7 furlongs and one mile.
- Speedy sophomore filly Lady Shipman (5-2) suffered her first defeat in a standard-distance turf sprint last out when second a head to Ageless. The daughter of Midshipman, trained at Monmouth Park by Kathleen O’Connell, scored a pair of wins at Monmouth over the summer, taking the Crank It Up and the Klassy Briefcase, the latter by more than six lengths. She’s also registered a five-length win in the Stormy Blues at Pimlico in the spring. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride the filly, who has won eight of 11 career starts and earned $$358,800.
- Mongolian Saturday (15-1) has certainly made the rounds, with area starts at Parx Racing and Charles Town Races, to say nothing of the 10 other tracks at which he’s run during his 30-race career. The gelded son of Any Given Saturday, trained by Enebish Ganbat, was beaten a nose in the Grade 3 Turf Monster and a head in the Grade 3 Parx Dash earlier this year and overall owns a record of 30-6-8-6 with earnings of over $410,000.
FILLY AND MARE SPRINT[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Dame Dorothy may be 10-1 on the morning line, but in this wide-open race, only four have lower odds. The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Bernardini earned her career highlight when she won the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in the spring. She is ranked second on the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll. Bred by Derry Meeting Farm and now trained by Todd Pletcher for celebrity chef-owner Bobby Flay, Dame Dorothy has won seven of 11 career starts and just shy of $750,000. She owns three wins against graded company and was most recently third in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom. John Velazquez will ride.
- Stonetastic (5-1) ran fourth in this event a year ago. The Kelly Breen trainee is based at Monmouth Park and has won two races there and another at Parx in her career. The daughter of Mizzen Mast won the Grade 2 Prioress last year, her only win against graded foes, and overall has four wins from 12 starts. Paco Lopez will ride.
- Kiss to Remember (30-1), the lone Maryland-bred on the card, looks to have her work cut out for her. The daughter of Big Brown was bred by the Big Brown Syndicate and Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes. She’s won five of 20 starts, with earnings of $533,000, and has placed three times in graded company. Trained by Marty Wolfson, she’s won one of eight starts this year and most recently was second in the Added Elegance Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Julien Leparoux will ride.
- Room for Me (15-1) rose from the $12,500 claiming ranks to win two stakes, including the Regret at Monmouth Park, and place in two graded events this year for trainer David Jacobson.
FILLY AND MARE TURF[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Irish-bred Photo Call (12-1) enters this race on a two-race win streak, including the Grade 3 Violet at Monmouth Park in August and the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita in September. Trained by Graham Motion at Maryland’s Fair Hill Training Center, Photo Call owns four wins from 13 career starts and has won nearly $340,000. Drayden Van Dyke will ride.
- Watsdachances (20-1) kicked off her 2015 campaign with a win in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico over Preakness weekend, and later earned her second win of the campaign, via disqualification, in the Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington Park. Jersey Joe Bravo will ride for trainer Chad Brown.
SPRINT[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Pennsylvania-bred Favorite Tale nearly didn’t make it out of the Parx Racing quarantine, but a concerted effort sprung the son of Tale of the Cat. Bred by Paul Conaway and owned by his P J G Stable, Favorite Tale is trained by Guadalupe Preciado. He’s won seven of 16 career starts, including this summer’s Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Gulfstream Park, and earned almost $630,000. Five of his seven career wins have come at Parx. Javier Castellano will ride.
- Horses with wins in the region this year include Holy Boss (15-1), winner of the Chick Lang at Pimlico, and Salutos Amigos (12-1), winner of the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth.
JUVENILE[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Pennsylvania-bred Tom’s Ready (30-1) is on the also-eligible list. Bred by Blackstone Farm, the son of More Than Ready broke his maiden recently at Churchill Downs for trainer Dallas Stewart. Second on the AE, he’s unlikely to drawn in, but John Velazquez is signed on to ride if he does.
TURF[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Cage Fighter (30-1) looks to have a tough challenge in front of him. The James Lawrence trainee, based at Maryland’s Fair Hill Training Center, has placed three times in graded company, including in the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico and Grade 3 Oceanport at Monmouth, without registering a win. Claimed by Lawrence for owner Matthew Schera last year for $40,000, the son of Closing Argument has won twice this year, including in the PTHA President’s Cup at Parx Racing in September. Joshua Navarro will ride.
- Delaware-certified The Pizza Man (15-1) has enjoyed a banner 2015, winning three of four starts and nearly $850,000. His wins include the Grade 1 Arlington Million and Grade 3 Stars and Stripes, and he most recently was a fast-closing second in the Shadwell Turf Mile over the Keeneland strip. Regular rider Florent Geroux will ride for trainer Roger Brueggemann.
- Also in the mix is Big Blue Kitten (8-1), who won this year’s Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park.
CLASSIC[su_list icon=”icon: check”]
- Tonalist (6-1) isn’t Virginia-bred, exactly, but the son of Tapit was Virginia-raised by his Virginia-based breeder, Woodslane Farm. He’s won six races and more than $3 million in his career for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Robert S. Evans. He was fifth in this event a year ago, and that points to an oddity in his career: outside of his maiden win, he’s never won anywhere other than Belmont Park. John Velazquez will ride.
- Horses with wins in the region this year include American Pharoah (6-5), the Triple Crown champ who owns regional Grade 1 wins in the Preakness and the Haskell Invitational; and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby winner Frosted (15-1).
(Featured photo, of Ruby Notion at Monmouth Park, by Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO.)