Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Back At Woodbine, Derby-Oaks Roads Begin At Churchill

Master of The Seas | Dubai Racing Club


Racing roads converge this Saturday. With a little over a month left before horses and their connections officially point to Santa Anita, the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series returns to Woodbine Racetrack. Featured are three 'Win and You're In' chances, including the GI Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

Meanwhile, at Churchill Downs, the prep seasons officially open for 2-year-old colts and fillies, who are seeking to bank points for next May's 150th editions of the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks.

There is much to get to with Belmont at the Big A, Pimlico and Hastings, all carding graded races as well.

Appleby Looks to Repeat in Woodbine Mile

Last year, trainer Charlie Appleby sent MGISW Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) to Toronto for the Woodbine Mile and the now-retired globetrotter with William Buick aboard brought home the prize en route to another win in the Breeders' Cup.

With a trip to the FanDuel GI Breeders' Cup Mile on the line, this time around the Godolphin conditioner ships in multiple-group winner Master of The Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who was well-beaten last March on the World Cup undercard in the G1 Dubai Turf, but won the G2 Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile S. by four lengths at Ascot July 15.

“He has natural pace and travels well,” said Charlie Appleby. “The E.P. Taylor is a nice conventional track which suits him. It is a fair track with a nice straight that gives you a chance.”

The 5-year-old morning-line favorite will face five others, including MGSW War Bomber (Ire) (War Front), whose stalking trip led to a key victory in the Aug. 19 running of the GII King Edward S. That race saw 'TDN Rising Star' and GI Maker's Mark Mile hero Shirl's Speight (Speightstown) run fourth, which was the 6-year-old's first attempt since finishing fourth in the G1 Dubai Turf.

Also scheduled, trainer Mark Casse has almost half of the field looking for a trip to the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in the GI bet365 Summer S. Out of his entries, My Boy Prince (Cairo Prince) was certainly eye-catching when he won against restricted company by 14 lengths in the Simcoe S. over the Tapeta at Woodbine Aug. 27. The gray upstart will do battle with Catch a Glimpse S. victor Airosa (Uncle Mo), who is looking to take on the boys.

The fillies will get their chance for a trip to Santa Anita and the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Saturday in the GI Johnnie Walker Natalma S. Airosa could run in this spot, but it is an incredibly open race with Appleby's import Dazzling Star (GB) (Blue Point {Ire}) present and the Christophe Clement-trained Ozara (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), who broke her maiden by a neck Aug. 6 at Saratoga.

“We liked this horse from day one,” said Miguel Clement, son and assistant to the trainer. “She'd been working well on the grass, and we were actually quite confident in her. She's a gutsy little filly, with tactical speed and a turn of foot that makes her very dangerous.”

Switching to the Tapeta, Woodbine rounds out their graded races with the GIII Vigil S. Seven sprinters will try to derail the early speed of Patches O'Houlihan (Reload), who stepped up to win the GIII Bold Venture S. in Toronto Aug. 20.

The Roads Begins Where It Ends at Churchill

Less than nine months from now, the 150th GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks will be crowned. The roads start at Churchill Downs on Saturday as points of 10-5-3-2-1 will be distributed to the top five finishers.

For the colts, the GIII Iroquois S. includes Winchell Thoroughbred's Risk It (Gun Runner), who sprinted home a winner at first asking Aug. 19 at Saratoga for trainer Steve Asmussen. The morning-line favorite will try to outrun WinStar and Siena Farm's Gettysburg Address (Constitution), who won in his first career race for trainer Brad Cox at Ellis Park Aug. 6.

As for the fillies, their race is no-less competitive as nine will be sent on their way in the GIII Pocahontas S. V V's Dream (Mitole) makes her return to the races after garnering 'TDN Rising Star' honors when she debuted for Kenny McPeek back in mid-May at Churchill Downs. The gray filly was second in her last effort to the undefeated GISW Brightwork (Outwork) at Ellis July 2 in the Debutante S. Facing her will be a number of contenders on the make, including SW Hot Beach (Omaha Beach), Empire Island (Classic Empire) and Peignoir (Mendelssohn).

Rounding out the first Saturday of racing at Churchill's September meet is the GIII Locust Grove S. Out of these older females, the two-turn test welcomes back GISW and MGSW Pauline's Pearl (Tapit). The Stonestreet homebred will once again do battle with the likes of MGSW Search Results (Flatter) and GISW A Mo Reay (Uncle Mo).

Grade III Tests at BAQ, Pimlico and Hastings

Swinging up to Aqueduct for the BAQ meet that just opened, we find the final leg of the Turf Triple Series for the fillies in the GIII Jockey Club Oaks Invitational.

Charlie Appleby will look to make his presence felt here too when he sends out Eternal Hope (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}). Last seen running third Aug. 20 at Deauville in the G2 Prix Alec Head S, she will match wits with Graham Motion trainee Speirling Beag (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), who was second by a nose at Laurel Park Aug. 13 in the Searching S.

Speaking of racing in Maryland, Pimlico's short September meet continues and featured on Saturday is the GIII Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup S., which includes MSP Smokin' T (War Front), GSP Wolfie's Dynaghost (Ghostzapper) and SW King Vega (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}).

Wrapping up the graded day of racing, Hastings Racecourse will put on the GIII British Columbia Derby. Morning-line favorite SW Sunbird (Orb) will look to rebound after the bay gelding ran fifth in the GIII Canadian Derby.

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