Pre-entries for the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park were announced on Wednesday, with Kentucky-bred horses figuring prominently in the 14 races spread across the two days.
A total of 188 horses were entered, with 114 hailing from the Bluegrass state. Official entries and post positions will be drawn on Monday, Oct. 28.
In the 36-year history of the year-end championships, Kentucky breds have won a total of 212 races, including 24 runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
For this year’s edition, there were 39 Kentucky horses who won Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races, meaning by virtue of their win they are guaranteed a starting spot in their respective race.
This year, the Breeders’ Cup dedicated the Friday, Nov. 1 card to five races for the 2-year-olds. Among the Kentucky-bred notables on Friday is the undefeated filly Cambria and the colt Four Wheel Drive in the Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and the dynamic colt Structor in the Juvenile Turf (G1). On the main track, a trio of Grade 1 winners: Bast, Perfect Alibi and Wicked Whisper will do battle in the Juvenile Fillies (G1); while in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) all 12 pre-entries were bred in Kentucky.
Saturday’s stellar lineup covers nine races on both turf and dirt for older horses of both sexes, starting with the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and finishing with the Classic (G1). Every race features plenty of Kentucky raised horses, including leading Horse of the Year Candidates like Bricks and Mortar, who is undefeated in five starts this year, four of them Grade 1 events. The son of Giant’s Causeway will likely be favored in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Also undefeated in 2019 is Midnight Bisou, who has won all seven of her starts this campaign, all coming in graded company. The 4-year-old Midnight Lute filly will face familiar foe Elate, among others, in the Distaff (G1).
A win by either McKinzie or Code of Honor in the Classic (G1) would also put them in the Horse of the Year conversation. Three-year-old Code of Honor won the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) (the latter via DQ) in his last two starts, while McKinzie hasn’t been worse than second in six starts this year.
The Breeders’ Cup will feature races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million. It will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live Nov. 2 at 8:44 p.m. ET on NBC.