Plenty of Graded Action on Final Saturday Ahead of Breeders' Cup

Classic CausewaySarah Andrew

In the weeks leading up to the Breeders' Cup, most of the news is focused on when the stars are shipping and breezing. But, with one week left to go before World Championship Saturday, there is plenty of racing action with seven graded events from coast-to-coast.

Sophomore colts take center stage at Keeneland in the newly upgraded GIII Bryant Station S. GI Belmont Derby hero Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) looks to make amends after an unplaced effort in the course-and-distance GI Shadwell Turf Mile Oct. 8. His best efforts have come at longer distances, but he may just outclass most of these as he takes a step down from top-level company.

A two-time graded winner sprinting on dirt, Wit (Practical Joke) will be Classic Causeway's biggest competition. He debuted on grass in Saratoga, finishing second to Ready to Purrform (Kitten's Joy) in the Aug. 5 GII Hall of Fame S. and winning the Aug. 28 Better Talk Now S., both at a mile.

Also on tap in Lexington Saturday is the GII Hagyard Fayette S., which is led by 'TDN Rising Star' First Captain (Curlin). The GIII Pimlico Special S. winner missed by a nose in the GII Suburban S. in July and was third in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. last out Sept. 3. Another son of Curlin, King Fury, enters off a pair of thirds at Churchill Downs in the Aug. 13 Fort Larned S. and the Oct. 1 GII Lukas Classic S.

The Belmont at the Big A meet also plays host to a pair of graded events, starting with the GII Kelso H. Baby Yoda (Prospective) looks to secure his first black-type win in this event off a 10 3/4-length thrashing of optional claimer foes over track-and-trip Oct. 7.

Talented sophomore Morello (Classic Empire) won his first three starts at this oval, including the GIII Gotham S. in March. He failed to fire in his next two efforts, but returned to winning ways in a Laurel optional claimer Oct. 8.

His stablemate Jaxon Traveler (Munnings) appears to be the one to beat in the GIII Bold Ruler S. a few races later. Winner of the GIII Maryland Sprint S. in May, he enters off a well-beaten second in Pimlico's Lite the Fuse S. Sept. 10 on dirt. He is joined by hard-knocking GIII Runhappy S. winner Drafted (Field Commission) and GII Vosburgh S. runner-up Eastern Bay (E Dubai).

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Santa Anita offers a trio of graded races, including the GIII Autumn Miss S. for 3-year-old turf fillies. MGSW Cairo Memories (Cairo Prince) looks to get back on track after finishing fifth in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. July 9 and third in the GI Del Mar Oaks Aug. 20. Pammy's Ready (More Than Ready) enters off a close second in the local Unzip Me S. Oct. 1 and her stablemate Rhea Moon (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) prepped with an optional claimer win at Del Mar Aug. 21.

Sophomore colts also get a chance at graded glory in the GII Twilight Derby. War at Sea (War Front) won three in a row before his streak was halted when third in the GII Del Mar Derby Sept. 3. Graham Motion ships in with Hawthorne Derby winner Speaking Scout (Mr Speaker). Also, GIII La Jolla H. winner Cabo Spirit (Pioneerof the Nile) looks to rebound off a fifth in the GII Del Mar Derby.

Last, but not least, GISW Going Global (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) is the heavy morning-line favorite in the GII Goldikova S. GII John C. Mabee S. winner Avenue de France (Fr) (Cityscape {GB}) will take a crack at the chalk yet again.

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