Breeders’ Cup 2018: Will the Euros Own the Turf Races?

Breeders’ Cup Mile & Turf Figure Ripe for the Euro Taking

The Europeans have long been major players in both the Breeders’ Cup Mile and Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and this year figures to be no different, as the American contingent has been sorting itself out all year in both divisions. Any European participation is still to be determined but any number of potential shippers would warrant serious looks, should they come for either race.

Qatar Racing’s LIGHTNING SPEAR (GB) qualified for the Mile when he won the “Win and You’re In” Sussex (GI) at Glorious Goodwood in August for trainer David Simcock. The 7-year-old son of Pivotal (GB), who is 7-for-25 lifetime, has been a stalwart on the European Group I scene in recent years and would be a huge threat should he make the trip to Louisville, while Sarl Darpat France’s RECOLETOS (FR), who won the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp (GI) September 9 for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, has proven European Group I form and 7-for-13 lifetime.

The Americans are led by Amerman Racing’s homebred OSCAR PERFORMANCE, who won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita and earned an automatic Mile berth when he won Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” Ricoh Woodbine Mile (GI, see race recap below). The 4-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy is 8-for-14 lifetime for trainer Brian Lynch and should relish a two-turn mile.

Multiple Grade I winner HEART TO HEART gives Lynch a serious 1-2 punch, while HUNT (IRE) earned an automatic Mile berth when he won the “Win and You’re In” Shoemaker Mile (GI) at Santa Anita in May for trainer Phil D’Amato, and Delta Prince, a half-brother to two-time Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Royal Delta who was a close fourth as the favorite in the Woodbine Mile for trainer Jimmy Jerkens also has plenty of talent. CATAPULT, RAGING BULL (FR), SYNCRONY and VOODOO SONG are also pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Mile for the Americans, while ANNA NERIUM (GB), EXPERT EYE (GB), PLUMATIC (GB) and SUEDOIS (FR) could come from Europe.

The Longines Turf, run at 1 ½ miles, would have a pair of imposing favorites should ROARING LION and POET’S WORD (IRE) ship in from Europe, which is no guarantee at this point. The former, a 3-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, stands as Europe best turf horse after a win in Saturday’s “Win and You’re In” QIPCO Irish Champion (GI, see race recap below) at Leopardstown for trainer John Gosden. Roaring Lion had already qualified for the Turf with his win in York’s “Win and You’re In” Juddmonte International (GI) in August and is 7-for-11 lifetime. While he is likely to run next in the Champion Stakes (GI) October 20 at Ascot, his connections have flirted with the idea of running in the Turf all year. Poet’s Word, a 5-year-old son of Poet’s Voice (GB), qualified for the Turf when he won Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Sponsored by QIPCO (GI) in July for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and the 7-for-17 lifetime runner was last seen running second to Roaring Lion in the International.

The Americans will be led by a trio of “Win and You’re In” qualifiers in Little Red Feather Racing and Marsha Naify’s FASHION BUSINESS (GB), who won the Del Mar Handicap Presented by the Japan Racing Association (GII) August 18 for trainer Phil D’Amato, Matthew Schera’s GLORIOUS EMPIRE (IRE), who wired Saratoga’s “Win and You’re In” Sword Dancer (GI) August 25 for trainer Chuck Lawrence, and Convento Viejo’s ROBERT BRUCE (CHI), who won the Arlington Million (GI) August 11 for trainer Chad Brown. The former could prep for the Turf in Santa Anita’s John Henry Turf Championship September 30 while the latter pair could run in Belmont Park’s September 29 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI), which is also a “Win and You’re In” for the Turf.

Godolphin’s defending Turf champion TALISMANIC (GB) is gearing up for a title defense. The 5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, who is 8-for-21 lifetime, including an upset win in the Turf last year at Del Mar, was recently second in the Prix Foy (GII) September 16 at Longchamp for trainer Andre Fabre. LA EXTRANA DAMA (ARG) and QUARTETO DE CORDAS (BRZ) won “Win and You’re In” races in Argentina and Brazil, this spring, respectively, and could run in the Turf, as could Americans ARKLOW and CHANNEL MAKER.

Eziyra Points to Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

The Aga Khan’s homebred EZIYRA (IRE) won Sunday’s Blandford (GII) at The Curragh and will step up in class for her next two starts, which trainer Dermot Weld hopes ends with a run in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The 4-year-old daughter of Teofilo (IRE) improved off a third-place finish in York’s August “Win and You’re In” Darley Yorkshire Oaks (GI), an automatic qualifier for the Filly & Mare Turf. Eziyra is 6-for-11 lifetime and will head to North America to embark on an ambitious late-season double.

“I’ve had it in my mind to go to Canada for the E.P. Taylor (GI, October 13) and that would be possible for her next race,” Weld said. “And then we’ll go on for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.”

Source: Breeders’ Cup

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About Editor

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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