Breeders’ Cup 2018: New Win and You’re In Horses

The Breeders' Cup horse racingJohn C. Oxley’s Strike Silver has the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on his calendar after clinching a fees-paid slot with his triumph in Sunday’s $200,000 Indian Summer. The inaugural running of the Juvenile Turf Sprint will be at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.

“The game plan is to go for the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll said. “He will probably stay at Keeneland for a little while before shipping to our barn at Churchill Downs.”

The Indian Summer marked the turf debut for Strike Silver, who won his career debut at Churchill in June and was a close second in the Sanford (G3) at Saratoga in July.

Trainer Wesley Ward was pleased with the second-place effort by Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters in the Indian Summer.

“You look like you’re a winner and then you get nailed at the wire,” Ward said.

Trainer Jorge Abreu, who went out on his own in 2016 and saddled his first Keeneland winner this spring, will be gunning for his first Keeneland stakes victory Wednesday when he sends out two runners in the 28th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Representing Abreu will be Steve Weston’s Moravia (GB) and NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable’s Espresso Shot in the stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that awards the winner a fees-paid berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.

Moravia has made all four of her starts in Ireland with a maiden victory and a Group 3 runner-up finish coming at Leopardstown, the latter being her most recent start July 26.

Trainer Abreu Has a BC Contender in Wednesday at Keeneland

“Mr. Weston bought her just before her last start and we got her in the barn in July,” Abreu said. “The plan all along was for this race and then the Breeders’ Cup.”

The acclimation process for Moravia has gone well.

“I like what I have seen and she has trained really well since we got here,” Abreu said of the filly, who last worked Sept. 29 at Saratoga.

Manny Franco will have the mount Wednesday.

Flavien Prat comes in from California to ride Espresso Shot, who comes into the race off a maiden victory at Belmont Park on Sept. 14.

“She has a lot of ability,” Abreu said of Espresso Shot, whose two starts have come against fellow New York-breds. “She ran a good race at Saratoga going 5½ furlongs on the turf and then won the off-the-turf race (at 1 1/16 miles) at Belmont. She has got some class to her.”

Source: Keeneland

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-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 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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