Trainer Charlie Appleby has Old Persian as a Major Player in Breeders’ Cup Turf

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The Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita lost three of its European team members on Monday – including —Magical, the Champion Stakes winner – but there is still likely to be a total of 33 runners from the continent’s stables in California on Friday and Saturday …

Charlie Appleby’s challenge at the meeting was reduced from two to one in desperate circumstances on Saturday when Line Of Duty, who took the Juvenile Turf last year and was due to contest the Mile on Saturday, suffered a fatal injury on the gallops. Appleby will now rely on Old Persian, a leading contender for the Turf, as he attempts to improve an already remarkable strike rate at the Breeders’ Cup, where he has had three winners and a second from six starters.

“It was six years ago that we were here with Outstrip, bless him,” Appleby said on Tuesday, looking back to his first Breeders’ Cup runner, and winner, in the 2013 Juvenile Turf. “It’s great to be here but it’s not a holiday, as much as it’s lovely to have the [mountainous] backdrop we see out there. We try to bring the right horses out, with the experience we’ve had through the years.

“I was always looking [for a juvenile to run] but didn’t want to put one on the wagon just to have a spin around. The great thing about a horse like him [Old Persian] is that shipping is second nature to him. He went to Dubai, he went to Canada [to win the Grade One Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last time] and he’s shipped well here.

“This race was our target from Dubai [in March, where he won the Group One Sheema Classic]. I was confident he’d take all the beating [in Canada], he was the class horse in the race and he showed it. We wanted to keep the dream alive and we were always going to come straight here.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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