Breeders' Cup Prep Season in Full Swing on 'Super Saturday'

Forte | Sarah Andrew

With Breeders' Cup weekend at Keeneland right around the corner, 15 graded stakes–including seven 'Win and You're In' events–will take place throughout North America on an absolutely loaded day of racing Saturday.

Five of those graded races will go down in Lexington, including a stacked renewal of the 'Win and You're In' GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity. The overflow field of 14 (plus two AE's)'s lone graded winner, GI Hopeful S. hero and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence), bypassed last weekend's GI Champagne S. in favor of this first attempt around two turns. Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher will also be represented by unbeaten Sapling S. winner Lost Ark (Violence). Brad Cox-trained impressive debut winners 'TDN Rising Star' Loggins (Ghostzapper) and Instant Coffee (Bolt d'Oro) both figure to receive plenty of support at the windows as well.

The $1-million 'Win and You're In' GI Coolmore Turf Mile S. should help put the field for the GI Breeders' Cup Mile into better focus. The full field of 12 (plus four AE's) includes no shortage of fire power led by 7-2 morning-line favorite and GI Arlington Million winner Santin (Distorted Humor); GI Fourstardave H. winner Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed); this race's 2020 winner Ivar (Brz) (Agnes Gold {Jpn}); Arlington Million runner-up and last year's Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute); and 2020 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Order of Australia (Ire) (Australia {GB}).

Chad Brown will saddle three of the six, led by MGISW and 6-5 morning-line favorite 'TDN Rising Star' Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom), entered in the GI First Lady S. In addition to last term's First Lady runner-up, Brown will also be represented by likely second and third choices in GII Ballston Spa S. winner Technical Analysis (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) and GI Diana S. upsetter and 'TDN Rising Star' In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), respectively.

Two-time Breeders' Cup winner Golden Pal (Uncle Mo) will be heavily favored in his GII Woodford S. title defense while nine female sprinters, lacking a clear standout, will look to punch their ticket to the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint via the 'Win and You're In' GII Thoroughbred Club of America S.

War Like Goddess (English Channel), meanwhile, an unlucky third as the favorite in last fall's GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, will take on males for the first time in the GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont at the Big A. The talented 5-year-old mare, tabbed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite, will meet two-time GI Sword Dancer S. winner Gufo (Declaration of War) as well as defending Turf Classic upsetter Rockemperor (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}).

“It's been an option we've had if the race seemed suitable for her. The distance and everything here is suitable,” Hall of Famer Bill Mott said. “She seems to be doing very well and I'm pleased with her.”

Even with a free trip on the line for the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint, only five will line up for that venue's GII Vosburgh S. The streaking Elite Power (Curlin) takes on stakes company for the first time following a trio of promising victories for Mott. The Belmont at the Big A card has also attracted a full field of 2-year-old turf sprinting fillies in the GIII Matron S.

Juveniles will take centerstage in Santa Anita's 'Win and You're In' GI American Pharoah S. and GII Chandelier S.

As usual, the American Pharoah will go through Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who will saddle half the field in the race named in honor of his 2015 Triple Crown winner.

The unbeaten ultra-impressive GI Del Mar Futurity S. winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Cave Rock (Arrogate) is the clear-cut one to beat as he stretches to two turns for the first time. The $3.55-million EASMAY topper Hejazi (Bernardini) will look to break his maiden at third asking while also trying two turns for the first time. Baffert will also tighten the girth on debut winners Gandolfini (Justify) and National Treasure (Quality Road), respectively.

“They get the two-turn test and you never know until they do it, so we'll see,” said Baffert, a 10-time winner of the American Pharoah. “I hate to run that many in here, but I didn't have a lot of options since there aren't many allowance-type races.”

The maiden Skinner (Curlin), a well-beaten third in the Del Mar Futurity and wanting every bit of this additional real estate, looks to have the best chance to upset the Baffert quartet.

After missing an intended start in the GI Del Mar Debutante S., visually impressive come-from-behind debut winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Justique (Justify), drawn widest of all in post seven, makes her highly anticipated return for John Shirreffs in the Chandelier. She'll face Del Mar Debutante top three And Tell Me Nolies (Arrogate), beaten favorite Home Cooking (Honor Code) and Ice Dancing (Frosted), as well as Baffert-trained runaway debut winner Huntingcoco (Practical Joke). “She's done nothing spectacular in the mornings, so it was very surprising and exciting to see her run as well as she did,” Shirreffs said.

Going to Vegas (Goldencents) will square off with shippers Fluffy Socks (Slumber {GB}) and Family Way (Uncle Mo) while attempting to defend her title in the 'Win and You're In' GI Rodeo Drive S.

Queen's Plate S. winner Moira (Ghostzapper) will try grass for the first time in the GI E.P. Taylor S., one of three graded races on tap at Woodbine Saturday. The 11-race program also includes the GII Nearctic S., led by ageless turf sprinter Bound for Nowhere (The Factor); and the GIII Durham Cup.

Saturday's graded action will be rounded out by the GIII BC Premier's H. at Hastings.

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