It’s back to Churchill Downs for the seventh time hosting the Breeders Cup during which there have been only 8 European wins.  After revelling for two years on the synthetic pro-ride at Santa Anita, the Europeans are going to struggle when not on the turf over the next two days.

Churchill Downs turf track is a tight seven furlong left handed oval so a low draw is a distinct advantage in the Mile and also in the two juvenile races run on the dirt which begin close to the first sharp left handed turn.  High numbers are not unfavoured in the sprint due to the relatively long run to the home turn.  Despite not being the force he was, D. Wayne Lukas still leads all trainers at these Championships with twice the number of winners of second placed “Shug” McGaughey.  Mike Smith is still the winningest jockey with Garrett Gomez and Frankie Dettori tied for second.  Frankie is expected to take some giant strides towards the top of the all time Breeders Cup jockey table this weekend.

Friday is Ladies Day.   The track is expected to be fast (dirt) and firm (turf).  All times listed are Jamaican times.



Breeders Cup Marathon (Grade 3; 1m 6f; dirt; 3:10 p.m.)

The Americans are, in the main, non-stayers but Precision Break, for all his dirt breeding (his sire, Silver Deputy, and dam, Miss Kitty, by Tabasco Cat both ran on nothing but dirt and his only sibling was a dirt winner), hasn’t shaped like a dirt runner based on his lone fibresand effort although he is a multiple winner on polytrack.  In a race full of hold-up types, Gabriel’s Hill is tempting as he will get the run of the race from the front but preference is for ALCOMO who has pace and who has looked likely to be suited by this extreme test.


Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade2; 1m; turf; 3:50 p.m.)

Together has the best form but this is her eighth 2yo start, she looks already to need a stiffer stamina test and is very poorly drawn at a trip where it matters.  Winter’s Promise has done all asked of her in two starts on the east coast but this is a step up in grade and her inexperience could tell so it might pay dividends to take a chance with QUIET OASIS a superbly bred filly (out of a Sunday Silence mare herself out of a half sister to Japanese Grade 1 Champion Shinko Forest) who will have Frankie and a very good draw.


Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade 1; 7f; dirt; 4:30 p.m.)

A wide open renewal on paper but the three to concentrate on are speedsters Rightly So (who would become the first New York bred to win a Breeders Cup race); Champagne D’oro (who won a Grade 1 at this trip on her penultimate outing and whose sole loss in 4 races on dirt over a mile or less came when she stayed on after a troubled trip over an inadequate 6f); and Godolphin’s SARA LOUISE, an unexposed 3yo who was 4th in this race last year on the pro-ride but who is much better on dirt, winning 3 graded stakes in a 9 race career.  She was staying on late on her belated reappearance over 6.5f six weeks ago and will be cherry ripe for this.  This is the EXACTA OF THE DAY as SARA LOUISE should make no mistake from Champagne D’oro .


Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1; 8.5f; dirt; 5:10 p.m.)

A very strong pace is likely here and this will suit the well drawn R HEAT LIGHTENING (NAP) perfectly.  Main rivals A Z Warrior (stamina query) and Awesome Feather (unbeaten in 5 races at Calder but more to do here) should follow him home


Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1; 1m3f; turf; 5:50 p.m.0

There’s a lot of the usual rumour about the ante-post favourite MID-DAY but all she’s done is to establish herself as the best middle distance filly in Europe.  Like Ouija Board before her, that should be enough to take care of this race which, although a stronger event than last year’s renewal, will find the favourite an improved filly.  Her trainer, the legendary Henry Cecil, has shown standard British reserve in his expressed ground concerns but she won on firm at Santa Anita last year and again at Goodwood on July 31.  What she needs more than any particular ground is to race fresh and Cecil has ensured just the right break since her Prix Vermeille defeat of Plumania to bring her to the wicket at her best.  She should make no mistake and is the day’s BANKER BET.


Breeders Cup Ladies Classic (Grade 1; 9f; dirt; 6:30 p.m.)

Blind Luck will be all the rage but is the type who will always require luck in running and so has it all to do at cramped odds from her wide post position.  On the other hand, Todd Fletcher’s LIFE AT TEN has everything in her favour including a prominent style of running from the plum draw.


Friday’s TOP THREE:                                                                                            MID-DAY (BANKER BET) in the Filly & Mare Turf;                                                       R HEAT LIGHTENING (NAP) in the Juvenile Fillies; and LIFE AT TEN in the Ladies Classic

Good Luck!


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