Under the Challenge series’ “Win and You’re In” provision, the winner of the race automatically qualifies for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, part of the $25.5 million Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita next month. Breeders’ Cup races that traditionally run on dirt will instead be run for the first time on an all-weather surface akin to Turfway’s Polytrack.
Trainer Mark Frostad intrigues with his decision to bring Storm the Castle from a maiden win directly into graded stakes competition, but the 4-year-old gelding comes with distance credentials. He is a son of Smart Strike and he won that maiden race by 21 lengths going a mile and a half over the Polytrack at Woodbine. Chantal Sutherland comes in to ride.
Graded stakes winner Jade’s Revenge has been off three months but has proven himself going long, recently including a win in the Ft. Harrod and a second in the Gallant Man, both at 1 5/8 miles on different all-weather tracks. Jesus Castanon rides for trainer Graham Motion.
With four wins, a second, and a third in six Polytrack races, Dominican has proven his affinity for the surface. He was off eight months but has been rebuilding form since May and comes into the Fall Championship off a head allowance win at Presque Isle. He brings Grade I chops from his win in the 2007 Blue Grass but has never gone this distance. Miguel Mena, aboard for the Presque Isle win, rides again for trainer Darrin Miller.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and jockey Tracy Hebert team up with the Venezuelan-bred Taconeo, who will make his fourth U.S. start. He rallied well to finish second at 1 5/8 miles at Saratoga last month and has two wins at a mile and a half in Venezuelan stakes.
Completing the field are Delightful Kiss (jockey Calvin Borel); Star Plus (ARG) (Corey Lanerie); A. P. Excellent (Larry Melancon); and Tres Copas (Jose Vega).
For horses three years old and up, the Fall Championship will run as the ninth of 10 races on Saturday. First post is 1:10 p.m. Gates open at 11:15 a.m. Admission and parking are free.