Improbable’s Whitney S. (G1) win on Aug. 1 was one of three victories by Kentucky-breds over the first weekend of August that earned them all-expenses paid entries into their respective Breeders’ Cup races.
In addition to Improbable, Vexatious won the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, while Fighting Mad captured Del Mar’s Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) on Sunday.
Though it was not part of the Breeders’ Cup challenge series, Echo Town became the fourth Kentucky-bred Grade 1 winner of the weekend with his victory in the Allen Jerkens S., also Saturday at Saratoga.
Improbable earned a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with his two-length Whitney S. win, his second straight Grade 1 victory. Trained by Bob Baffert for WinStar Farm, CHC Inc. and SF Racing, Improbable is a son of the late City Zip and was bred by St. George Farm and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. Purchased at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling sale for $200,000, Improbable has gone on to win $1,529,520 and three Grade 1 races to date.
Four-year-old Vexatious got her first Grade 1 win in the Personal Ensign. A Grade 3 winner on the turf previously, Vexatious is now guaranteed a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). The daughter of Giant’s Causeway is owned by Calumet Farm and was bred by James Weigel and Giant’s Causeway Syndicate. He dam Dream of Summer won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom S. and is also the dam of Grade 1 winner Creative Cause and multiple Grade 2 winner Destin.
Fighting Mad also collected her first Grade 1 win in the Hirsch; she had won the Santa Maria S. (G2) on May 31. A Gary and Mary West homebred, Fighting Mad is now eligible for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff as well.
Echo Town won his first stakes of any type in the Jerkens, though he finished second in the Woody Stephens (G1) in late June. Bred by J & Burns Betz, CHNNHK Thoroughbreds, Magers et al, Echo Town sold to his owners L and N Racing for $100,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling sale.