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Countdown to the Breeders' Cup World Championships Newsletter - August 29, 2017

Monday, August 29, 2016

Advisory: This is the third of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 34th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4 at Del Mar. For more information, please visit www.breederscup.com. The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN. You can follow all the contenders’ activity leading up to the Breeders’ Cup with Equibase’s free "Road to the Breeders’ Cup" Virtual Stable notification service.

Saratoga to Showcase Gun Runner in Woodward; Spinaway to Offer Berth into Juvenile Fillies

A relatively quiet weekend on the Breeders’ Cup Challenge front gets spiced up at Saratoga when GUN RUNNER starts as an overwhelming favorite in Saturday $750,000 Woodward (GI) on a card that also features the $350,000 “Win and You’re In” Spinaway (GI), which will award an automatic starting berth into the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Spinaway highlights a Challenge weekend that also sees Cup berths on the line in a pair of “Win and You’re In” races at Baden-Baden Racecourse in the popular spa town in Germany, when the Longines Grosser Preis von Baden (GI) and T. von Zastrow Stutenpreis (GII) award automatic starting berths into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, respectively.

The Woodward, along with the Spinaway, will air live on NBCSN from 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET., as a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In Series – presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing” program. The 1 1/8-mile test figures to be another showcase for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimney Farm’s Gun Runner, who retained his No. 1 ranking in the latest NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. The 4-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) earned a Classic berth with his victory in Churchill Downs’s “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (GI) in June and has surged to the front of the handicap division this summer for trainer Steve Asmussen in light of Arrogate’s back-to-back losses at Del Mar. Gun Runner dominated the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga on August 5 with front-running 5-¼ length victory. Second in last year’s Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, Gun Runner is 9-for-16 lifetime and likely will use the Woodward as his final Classic prep.

The presence of Gun Runner is expected to keep the Woodward field at a minimum, with Starlight Racing and Qatar Racing’s NEOLITHIC and Paul Pompa’s RALLY CRY leading the way for trainer Todd Pletcher. The former, a 4-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday, has just a local August 5 optional claiming win to his credit this year, but was third to Arrogate in both the Pegasus World Cup (GI) in January at Gulfstream Park and Dubai World Cup (GI) at Meydan in March. The latter, a 4-year-old son of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo, won the Alydar by 8 ¾ lengths August 6 over the track and distance. DISCREET LOVER and WAR STORY are both possible for the Whitney.

Pure Silver Looms Large in Spinaway

The Spinaway, run at seven furlongs, could also attract a short field, due in large part to Twin Creek Racing Stable’s homebred PURE SILVER, who is undefeated and untested in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and enters off an eye-catching 9 ½-length win in the local Adirondack (GII) August 12. The 2-year-old New York-bred daughter of Mission Impazible won her debut at Belmont Park in June then took the Lynbrook there in July, both against state breds, but handled the rise to open foes with aplomb in the Adirondack and looks like a short-priced favorite.

Klaravich Stable’s SEPARATIONOFPOWERS rates as the main danger for trainer Chad Brown off her devastating 11 ¾-length debut win here July 30. The daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) was bet down to 9-5 and led every step of the way and could hook up early with Pure Silver, as neither has ever been behind a horse at the pace call in any of their four combined starts. MAYA MALIBU, an impressive debut winner August 5 at Delaware Park for trainer Graham Motion is also possible for the “Win and You’re In” Spinaway, as are LADY FREEDOM, LADY IVANKA and SNOWFIRE.

Baden Baden to Offer Pair of Turf Bids

Sunday’s “Win and You’re In” $163,000 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden (GII) at Baden Baden Racecourse will award an automatic starting berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and is shaping up with a potential field of seven. Run at about 1 ½ miles, the von Baden could be led by Robert Ng’s SUCCESS DAYS (IRE), who enters off a win in the York Stakes (GII) July 29 over the highly accomplished Mondialiste (IRE). The 5-year-old son of Jeremy is 6-for-17 for trainer K J Condon and seems to have a class edge on his rivals.

Stall Mulligan’s IQUITOS (GER) and Godolphin’s BEST SOLUTION (IRE), the 1-2 finishers of the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (GI) at Munich July 30 are also expected. The former, a 5-year-old son of Adlerflug (GER) is 3-for-12 lifetime for trainer H-J Groschel, while the latter, a 3-year-old son of Kodiak (GB), sports the same career mark for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. COLOMANO (GB), PRIZE MONEY (IRE) and SPEND THE CASH (IRE) are also possible for the Longines Grosser Preis von Baden.

The “Win and You’re In” action kicks off Saturday, when the $73,640 T. Von Zastrow Stutenpreis (GII), at about 1 ½ miles, will award an automatic starting berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. A wide-open field, with potentially 12 starters, is expected. ASHIANA (GER), DIANA STORM (GER), DISDAIN (GB), ERICA (GER), FOSUN (GER), KASALLA (GER), LITAARA (GER), MEGERA (FR), NAVARO GIRL (IRE), NEAR ENGLAND (IRE), SON MACIA (GER) and TUSKED WINGS (IRE) are all possible starters.

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News and Notes

Rain Goddess Eyes Filly & Mare Turf

Coolmore’s RAIN GODDESS (IRE) notched her first win since her career debut in 2016 and has trainer Aidan O’Brien thinking of a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf later this fall at Del Mar. The 3-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) won The Curragh’s Snow Fairy (GIII) Sunday to score a long overdue Group win after running second in a pair of Group I’s over the course earlier this year to the highly accomplished Nezwaah (GB) in the Pretty Polly July 2 and superstar Enable (GB) in the Darley Irish Oaks 13 days later. Rain Goddess is now 2-for-9 lifetime and, though she was just eighth from a wide draw in a Filly & Mare Turf “Win and You’re In” in Arlington Park’s Beverly D. (GI) in her last start August 12, O’Brien is looking forward to potentially giving the states another try later this fall.

“It was great to get her back. The last day in America she was just drawn out a little bit too far,” O’Brien said. “Even though she ran over a mile and a half, I’d say probably a mile and a furlong or a mile and a quarter is her trip. She could go for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at the end.”

Stellar Wind May Train up to Distaff

Hronis Racing’s STELLAR WIND, arguably the leading older female in the country this year off her 3-for-3 record—all in Grade I’s—could get the rest of the summer off and simply train up to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, according to trainer John Sadler. The 5-year-old daughter of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin was voted champion 3-year-old filly in 2015 and will look to win her first Distaff after running second in the race in 2015 at Keeneland and fourth in the race last year at Santa Anita.

Stellar Wind is 10-for-15 lifetime, which includes wins in the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park in April, Beholder Mile at Santa Anita in June and “Win and You’re In” Clement Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar in her last start July 30. She earned an automatic starting berth into this year’s Distaff in the Clement Hirsch and, with a penchant for running well off a short-term layoff, has Sadler thinking of heading straight to the Distaff.

“Stellar Wind could train into the Breeders’ Cup,” Sadler said. “She runs so well fresh. I’m not 100 percent sure what we’ll do.”

Rainbow Heir Could Point to Turf Sprint

New Farm’s homebred RAINBOW HEIR could be in line for a major step up in class later this fall after winning the New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap sprinting on the turf Saturday at Monmouth Park. The 7-year-old son of Wildcat Heir has won seven stakes in his career for trainer Jason Servis and is 12-for-28 overall. Rainbow Heir has predominantly won some minor stakes over the course of his career, but did show his class when he was third, beaten two necks, in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup June 7 at Penn National. The string of sharp runs has Servis thinking big, according to New Farm’s owner Eb Novak. “We’ll see what he does between now and then,” Novak said. “I can tell you that Jason Servis would like to run him in the Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint).”

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‘He Said It’

Owner Charles Fipke after Forever Unbridled won the Personal Ensign:

“To be quite honest we’re going to look at the (Breeders’ Cup) Classic, see who’s in it. We go where the money is. We will look at it. We’d be quite happy to win the Distaff, but we’ll look at everything, especially if there’s good prize money to offset the losses.”

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