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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited Breeders’ Cup News Release — A look at the turf races with the accent on the foreign shippers: It was a busy morning trackside at Santa Anita Thursday as horsemen from around the globe continue to descend on California. 

Ed Crisford was trackside to oversee the training of Carla’s Way (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf).

“It’s a really good race and Donnacha’s (O’Brien) filly (Porta Fortuna-IRE) is a very good filly who has won a Group One, but Carla’s Way also brings sort of Group One form into the race having beaten the first and second in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket,” Crisford said.

“She will suit this track and a two-turn mile extremely well. We just didn’t want to run her on a straight mile on soft ground in the Fillies’ Mile so we opted to come here, and we thought it would suit her down to the ground, she can just ping off that quick ground.

“Her draw in stall nine isn’t too bad and you have options from there at least. I always thought five to 10 is where I wanted to be, so it is OK.

“She is in really good form and has taken to Santa Anita extremely well. She’s been on the track in a morning and for a 2-year-old it can be quite a lot going to a new place and seeing all the horses training on the track there, but she is just loving it and is like an old pro.

“She’s taken everything in her stride, I couldn’t be happier with her and I think she goes in with a favorite’s chance. Hopefully she gets a clean trip and I’m sure she will be bang there at the finish.”

Donnacha O’Brien was also trackside to watch Porta Fortuna (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf)

“She’s been fantastic for us and has had a great year,” O’Brien said. “She’s in great form and seems to have traveled over well. We are not sure if we will stay the mile, but she will handle the ground and the track should be fine, so we are excited.

“Ever since the day the owners bought her after her maiden this has been sort of a long-term plan. Obviously, you can never expect to be at the Breeders’ Cup, but if she turned out to be good enough this was always the plan and thankfully she has.

“We’re just keeping her safe and happy and healthy until the race and hopefully we get a bit of luck on the day.”

Rossa Ryan has arrived in California and rode State Occasion (GB) (Filly & Mare Turf) this morning on the main track.

“State Occasion felt great this morning,” Ryan said. “She looks good and moved very well and seems to be training well so we’re hopeful of a big run.”

Michael Appleby saddles his first Breeders’ Cup runner Friday with Big Evs (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint).

“Big Evs looks absolutely amazing, he’s doing really well,” Appleby said. “We jumped him out of the gates this morning which went really good. He looks in tremendous form ahead of tomorrow’s race so hopefully we get some luck in running and if we do, we should go very close. We’ve been delighted with his preparation. It’s obviously going to be a very tough race with the American horses quick out of the gates but hopefully we jump like we normally do, and he can get out and be right up there and we’re hopeful of a very big run from him. All fingers crossed but as long as he comes home safe and sound that’s all that matters. Obviously, it would be an amazing achievement for the stable and the whole team should he go and win.”

Adam West is still living the American dream in preparation for Saturday’s race with Live In The Dream (IRE) (Turf Sprint).

“I’m still pinching myself, but I don’t want to wake up yet,” West said. “He’s just starting to get a little bit feisty the last few days, but he’s picking up on all the attention.

“We’ll keep him quiet for a few days and he’s as genuine as they come. I’m proud of the route we’ve taken through Keeneland and coming down through Kentucky, they were great over there and it meant he was out here, helping him settle in really well.

“(Defending champion) Caravel is so tenacious; she’s been brought into this race well. Credit is due, she’s looking like she’s about to hit her best form, so she’s respected with her speed and the way she runs. If we end up going head-to-head with her it could be a real ding-dong battle.”

Ryan Moore has partnered Cherry Blossom (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) each morning. 

“We are obviously going to need luck over 5f furlongs from a midfield draw (8) with Cherry Blossom, but we have seen enough of her this season to think she might just have a shot at this at a price. It is probably fair to say that there isn’t a standout in here and the pace she showed in the Lowther (G2) and the Cheveley Park (G1) over 6 furlongs on quick ground gives us hope she could be competitive here.”

Moore also commented on Content (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf).

“She has drawn in 5, could have been a lot worse and, as with Cherry Blossom, she has her chance in what looks another open race. This is obviously a much different test than that which saw her beat Kitty Rose (GB) over a mile on soft ground at the Curragh last time, but that was obviously a career-best against a very good filly and she comes into this race in a good place.”

Moore also discussed River Tiber (IRE), the morning line favorite for the Juvenile Turf.

“Regarding River Tiber (IRE) (Juvenile Turf) any draw around here presents its challenges, and the start dictates all in that regard, but you’d want to be drawn 2 rather than 14 given the opportunity so let’s not dwell on that. You can argue the rights and wrongs from any position. River Tiber and Unquestionable (FR) head the betting I see and, while it could be a lot more open than that suggests, there is no doubt that my colt and our Lagardere runner-up (Unquestionable) hold leading claims. I can see this test suiting them both but River Tiber has possibly the more upside stepping up to a mile for the first time. He had an interrupted preparation when third in the Morny and he looked ready for a step up in trip in the Middle Park last time. He’s my best chance of the day.”

Mosthadaf (IRE) (Turf) will run his final race of his career on Saturday as it has been announced he will retire to stud.

“Mostahdaf has been a top-class horse for the last three seasons, from showing his speed when winning five of his six races as a 3-year-old between 7 furlongs and a mile; he then displayed his clear versatility and ability over further,” Shadwell Stable Racing Manager Angus Gold said.

“Since winning the Neom Turf Cup (G2) in Saudi Arabia by 7 lengths earlier this year, he has come from behind to beat the best 10-furlong horses in Europe at Royal Ascot, and then made all in the Juddmonte International (G1). 

“At York he highlighted both his speed and class by running six of the last eight furlongs under 12 seconds. Mostahdaf never missed a day’s training and was a thorough professional throughout his career; his enthusiasm for his work, together with his outstanding physique and speed, should make him a very attractive prospect for breeders.”

“Mostahdaf has always been a pleasure to train. Sound and always positive and generous in his work,” trainer John Gosden said. “His action is superb and fluent with a high cruising speed and electric acceleration. A horse who has been very consistent throughout his career.”

Inspiral (GB) (Filly & Mare Turf) went to the gate under Frankie Dettori. She came out the front of the gates really well and was very well behaved.

King Of Steel (Turf) also went to the gates under work rider Robson Aguier. He stood in the game calmly with the hood on then backed out before training on the turf after. 

Givemethebeatboys (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) went to the gates for the second time this week and was well behaved and looked well.


Horse: Gold Phoenix (IRE)

Trainer: Phil D’Amato

Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Set: 6:40 a.m.

Morning Activity: Galloped on the training track under regular exercise rider Tony Guitierez.

Planned Activity: Will gallop again early Friday

The Quote: “He’s training really well for this race. I haven’t put him on the turf in the mornings because he really likes the training track here. The longer the better for this horse. It’s a tough race, but he earned his way in.” – Phil D’Amato


Horse: Gina Romantica

Trainer: Chad Brown

Set: 8:30 a.m.

Morning Activity: Easy gallop.

Planned Activity: Will have an easy day with a jog and light canter likely, the day before race day. 

Closer Look: Peter Brant’s Gina Romantica looks to become trainer Chad Brown’s second female winner of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), following Uni (GB), who won in 2019. Winner in half her 10 starts, she has top-level tallies in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) last year and this season’s First Lady (G1) — the latter over the same mile distance she will tackle against the boys on Saturday. 

“It’s a big jump again and she ran so well last time,” Brown said. “She seems to have really moved forward now that we’ve found her niche, not only on turf, but also the mile distance. It provides her with enough pace to run at and show her turn of foot. I now think if you run her too long, it really disarms her from her turn of foot with the lack of pace.

“In the Queen Elizabeth, it was a mile and an eighth, but that was against straight 3-year-old fillies. Getting into running against older horses, whether against fillies and mares in the First Lady or stepping up against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, you have to really be in your sweet spot — at your best distance and your best pace setup — to have any chance at success at this level. I find her to be a turf miler, now.” 

Horse: More Than Looks 

Trainer: Cherie DeVaux

Morning Activity: Galloped 1 ½m under exercise rider Obed Roman

Planned Activity:  Gallop 1 ½m. Time: TBD

The Quote: “’Looks’ is doing really well. He’s one we didn’t really point to the Breeders’ Cup, but after his last race (win in the Jefferson Cup), we really started the discussion. He’s one that mentally he’s maturing, and he’s seems to have gotten there in his last race. That’s why we decided to point him to this.”

“If he runs his race that he ran last and gets a little better of a tactical position he could be right there. It’s up to him, but we’ll see.” – Cherie DeVaux


Horse: In Italian (GB)

Trainer: Chad Brown

Set: 9 a.m.

Morning Activity: Easy gallop.

Planned Activity: Will have an easy day with a jog and light canter likely, the day before race day. 

Closer Look: Peter Brant’s star mare In Italian (GB) has been nothing short of sensational throughout her career, winning seven of 13 starts, including four Grade 1s in the past 16 months. In the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, the front-running daughter of Dubawi (IRE) looks to shrug off two photo-finish losses to her own stablemates in the Diana (G1) and First Lady (G1), as well to do one better than her runner-up effort last year.

“She’s training really well, but a mile and a quarter will be a test for her,” trainer Chad Brown said. “We have had success in this race — and at Santa Anita in general — before running horses farther than they’ve ever gone late in their careers on this turf course. Horses who come to mind are Dayatthespa (2014 Filly & Mare Turf winner) and Bricks and Mortar (2019 Turf). Those horses had never seen those distances before, but the ground suited them and this was the type of turf course they wanted. If the pace is fair to her, we should see the best of her.

“As long as she breaks cleanly, the one hole is the shortest way around to get to the fence and to the front, so I don’t think there’s any negative to drawing inside. I think the only negatives for her would be if she had drawn too wide.”

Horse: Lindy (FR)

Trainer: Brendan Walsh

Set: 7:30 a.m.

Morning Activity: Escorted to the track by trainer Brendan Walsh on pony and had a routine gallop.

Planned Activity: More of the same Friday.


Everest Racing’s Lindy (FR) enters the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) off a strong runner-up effort in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 14. The daughter of French Derby winner Le Havre (IRE) had her own chances at the classics this year, finishing second in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) (G1) in May and then eighth in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1) in June.

“She’s come out of the race really great and done well since the race at Keeneland, we just haven’t done a ton with her since and just did one piece of work with her since,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “She’s doing as good as you’d want her to do. We thought about the Breeders’ Cup for her kind of going into the Queen Elizabeth if she won or ran really well — and she did. She was unlucky not to win it. Another two strides and probably would have won.

“I don’t think the 10 furlongs of the Breeders’ Cup will bother her,” he continued. “They start up in the chute and freewheel for the first furlong or two. She ran in the French Oaks, but that was bottomless ground and the boys have told me they weren’t a fan of her ride that day. The race was 10½ furlongs, as well.”

After leaving the French yard of Christophe Ferland this summer, she was sent stateside to join Brendan Walsh. She quickly landed an allowance in impressive fashion at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 7, five weeks prior to her Keeneland run.

“The owners just called me one day and asked me if I’d take her,” Walsh said. “They sent her over with the intention of trying to run her in the Queen Elizabeth and we were just delighted to get her. We got her in July and had about six weeks before she ran at Kentucky Downs. She’s done really well since she came, especially physically. She’s still very European looking, but she’s put on plenty of weight and maybe that’s from training on the dirt. She was top-class in France and if she keeps improving as she has been, who knows what she could be as time goes along.”

Horse: Lumiere Rock (IRE)

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Set: 8 a.m.

Morning Activity: Had an easy canter around the main dirt track.

Planned Activity: Will do the same Friday.


Three years ago, trainer Joseph O’Brien annexed his first and only World Championships victory with Iridessa (IRE) in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Returning to Santa Anita for the big dance, he is ready to light it up once again with an improving sophomore filly in the same race. Michael O’Flynn’s Lumiere Rock (Ire) has only two victories from 11 tries, but enters with some of the strongest form lines in the 10-furlong test.

“She’s doing really well, shipped in good and seems to have taken everything in stride and trained well these last couple of days,” O’Brien said. “I’m confident she will run well. She and Iridessa are different types with different profiles, but like Iridessa, she’s a tough filly and she’s taken every challenge well that we have put her way so far this season. We are hoping she will run a good race and do us proud this week.”

Iridessa entered the Filly & Mare Turf off a third in the Sun Chariot (G1) and victory in the Matron (G1) — both over a mile — but like Lumiere Rock, she had proven herself earlier in the season over 1¼ miles. A daughter of Saxon Warrior (JPN), Lumiere Rock has raced seven times this year and never finished worse than fourth, including a victory in the 1¼-mile Blandford (G2) over Irish Champions Weekend and a solid third in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) last out, 1¼ lengths behind champion Blue Rose Cen (IRE). She is rated 112, 4 pounds below Iridessa at this point.

“She gets better with her racing and she backs up really well,” O’Brien said. “Obviously, coming to America is a new challenge for her, but generally speaking, she takes her racing pretty good and takes her racetrack with her. I think she’ll be fine with the firm course here. She’s pretty versatile when it comes to conditions and she has good form. Obviously in Ascot, she ran really well on firm ground and she has good form on easier ground, as well. Hopefully, she will find this place to her liking.”

Horse: McKulick (GB)

Trainer: Chad Brown

Set: 8:45 a.m.

Morning Activity: Easy gallop.

Planned Activity: Will have an easy day with a jog and light canter likely, the day before race day. 

Closer Look: Klaravich Stables’ four-time graded stakes winner McKulick (GB) will step up in class from her 2-length victory in October’s Waya Stakes (G3) and take on a global cast in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). A Grade 1 winner as a 3-year-old in 2022, she brushed off a disappointing start to this season with two smart victories over longer distances, but cuts back to 10 furlongs Saturday and tackles arguably firmer turf than she may prefer.

“She seems to appreciate a little more give in the ground to get her toe in the ground, if you will, and she’s not going to get that here and she also must step up,” trainer Chad Brown said. “This is a very, very tough race for her, but if she’s able to work out a trip, our feeling with her was that if we brought her out here and she was able to tuck herself in somewhere, despite her wider draw (post 10), maybe she could save ground and follow live horses, she could get a piece of this race.”


Horse: Jasper Krone

Trainer: Hideyuki Mori

Set: Quarantine Barn

Morning Activity: Walked the shedrow

Planned Activity: Will have an easy jog and light canter Friday


One day after a 2-furlong blowout down the lane, Kazuo Kato’s Jasper Krone had an easy day walking the shedrow at the quarantine barn. A compact chestnut son of Frosted, he is built for speed and his connections hope he will be able to put on the same show he did twice this season in Japan when taking the Kitakyushiu Kinen (G3) and CBC Sho (G3) gate-to-wire, respectively in times of 1:07.30 and 1:07.20 for the 6 furlongs.

Last out, he was fourth in the Sprinters Stakes (G1) after setting the pace and is a winner in his lone try over the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) distance of 5 furlongs, when taking the Shumpu Stakes (Listed) at left-handed Niigata.

“This course should suit his style,” trainer Hideyuki Mori said through a translator. “For a long time, I have been considering this race for him. He’s never run against top European or American sprinters, so I am looking forward to seeing him face them. We will see. The last race was a tough race, but I feel like he has maintained his good form and is in good condition.” 

Horse: Live In The Dream (IRE)

Trainer: Adam West

Set: 7 a.m.

Morning Activity: Went to the track for an easy hack around the dirt track.

Planned Activity: Will have “a very easy day.”


Jockey Sean Kirrane is hopeful for a good effort from his star sprinter Live In The Dream (IRE), morning line favorite for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), as well as what could be a substantial opportunity for him to launch a stateside stint this winter.

The Irish rider has marked affection for the son of Prince of Lir (IRE), which is understandable, considering the blisteringly swift six-time winner from 19 tries gave him his first Group 1 victory in August’s Nunthorpe Stakes at York. 

“I got to have a little piece of work on him on the turf here the other day, where we went an easy hack and then let him down into a swinger on the bridle and he felt great,” Kirrane said. “He handled the turf well and he was just getting his toe in and I will imagine when the track quickens in the afternoon he will like that even more.

“It was great to win the Nunthorpe because the horse went into the race not as one of the betting favorites (28-1) and we all knew how good he was,” Kirrane continued. “I was delighted for the owners and Adam (West) and to be able to show how good we knew the horse is and what I can do when I get on a horse of his caliber. It was a massive day to get a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup and brought us here and we’re all amazingly grateful to the horse.”

Shipping over early, the chestnut 4yo gelding ran a good fourth in the Woodford Stakes (G2) at Keeneland over 5½ furlongs and now cuts back to his much-preferred 5 furlongs in the big event.

“I think he can definitely take his chance here on Saturday and this will definitely suit him far better than Keeneland,” Kirrane said. “He was out very quick at Keeneland and flashing his early speed and when I got to the fence on the lead I thought I had the ideal position. We could have done without so much pressure for the lead early, especially when we were already doing some decent fractions (:20 4/5, :43 3/5), but he traveled well throughout the race and produce a turn of foot. In the end, it was a case of too much too early in order to get that final half-furlong. You’d have to fancy him in this spot, based on that.

“I don’t mind being on the favorite. Pressure’s for tires. We’re here and we’re in with a live chance of winning a big race, so it’s welcome.”

Horse: Motorious (GB)

Trainer: Phil D’Amato

Jockey: Flavian Prat

Set: 6:40 a.m.

Morning Activity: Galloped around the training track.

Planned Activity: Will gallop again early Friday morning.

The Quote: “He’s doing really well. His last race at Del Mar (the Green Flash-G3) was probably his best. He’s so versatile and so consistent. I think he’s going to run very well. He obviously likes this course.” – Phil D’Amato


Horse: Endlessly

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Set: NA

Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/4m

Planned Activity: Will walk Friday morning

The Quote: On tackling the Europeans: “I think he matches up well with any of them.” – Michael McCarthy


Horse: Austere

Trainer: Brendan Walsh

Set: 6:30 a.m.

Morning Activity: Ponied to the main track by trainer Brendan Walsh and had an easy gallop before walking through parade ring on her way back to the barn.

Planned Activity: Runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)


Perhaps the forgotten filly of a wide-open renewal of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Austere will hope to emulate her sire, Mendelssohn, who won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). She is unbeaten in two starts, an Ellis Park maiden on Aug. 13 and Kentucky Downs’ $500,000 Juvenile Fillies (Listed) on Sept. 10.

“She’s been a little bit under the radar — even with us — because she was working well, but we didn’t really expect her to win first out, but she went out and won well first time, which is always a good sign,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “Then she went to Kentucky Downs and she won well there, too. She isn’t flashy in the mornings, but she doesn’t have to be. She does it in the afternoon. She’s got bags of class and acts like a good-minded filly and a good horse.

“We said we would give her the time after the Kentucky Downs race and she’s done a lot better physically,” he continued. “There wasn’t a lot to her before we went there. She’s become a lot stronger since and we didn’t want to over-race her. We felt she would come here better fresh, anyway. I think she’ll enjoy the track and ground here. She’s as agile and adaptable as they come and she’s got a nice draw, as well, in 10. That gives her options and we’re in pretty good shape.”

Horse: Buchu

Trainer: Phil Bauer

Jockey: Martin Garcia

Set: 7:10 a.m.

Morning Activity: Stood in the gate and then galloped a mile. Returned to barn through paddock.

Planned Activity: Will walk Friday morning.

The Quote: “I’d like to see her get a clean trip and from post 3 should be close up early. I’d like to see her run back to her race two back (when she broke her maiden).” – Phil Bauer

Horse: Hard To Justify

Trainer: Chad Brown

Set: 6 a.m.

Morning Activity: Easy gallop, per Brown. 

Planned Activity: Race.

Closer Look: Wise Racing’s Hard To Justify has done little wrong in two starts, winning a July Saratoga maiden over 1 1/16 miles on turf by a head after steadying earlier in the race and returning in October to win the Miss Grillo (G2) at Aqueduct, once again showing noticeable courage and moving up 21 Beyer Speed Figure points in the process. Chad Brown leads all trainers with a record five wins in the race (2008, 2014, 2016-2018), with four of those coming in California.

“She reminds me of (2016 winner) New Money Honey,” Brown said. “She doesn’t have an amazing turn of foot, but she’s strong and steady. She broke much better from the gate last time and put herself in the race, which I love to see. Given her wide draw (post 12), it’s crucial that she breaks well and gets up to the front before we all start to cut in before the turn comes.

“Because she’s so lightly raced with two starts, I think she’s still on her way forward. I don’t think she’ll react off the (speed figure jump) at all. She’s got a good foundation in her with a lot of training and schooling throughout the year. In what will be her third career start, she’s set up for another move forward.”

Horse: She Feels Pretty

Trainer: Cherie DeVaux

Morning Activity: Galloped 1½m under Obed Roman

Planned Activity: Will not go to track on the morning of race day

The Quote: “She has moved forward. She has completely changed since we got her. She’s a

really big filly. When she’s 3 and she fills out she will be quite impressive. As they are, they

can be a little gawky 2-year-olds. She’s gone a few of those stages. She looks good now and

she’s training really well.” – Cherie DeVaux

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