Now that the Breeders’ Cup“Win and You’re In” races are in the books, eighty-one horses have secured their spot in the Championship series in North America on November 4 and 5. Los Angeles’ Santa Anita Park has rolled out the proverbial red carpet for the international stars of the turf and with the Breeders’ Cup races now only days away, anticipation among fans in their home countries is reaching fever pitch. Even though Australian champion mare Winx has taken a rain check on the Breeders Cup there are other foreign shippers whose performances are worth looking out for if their connections decide to enter them.
Mubtaahij – Breeders’ Cup Classic
Last year, Mubtaahij had a lot of good things going on for him: he swept the G2 UAE Derby, claimed a fifth and a fourth place finish in the G3 Firebreak Stakes and Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 respectively and even had a stint in the Kentucky Derby. In March 2016, Mubtaahij competed in the Dubai World Cup where he came in three-and-three-quarter lengths behind the all-powerful California Chrome. The Irish-bred, Mike de Kock-trained colt will once again encounter California Chrome in the Classic but will also face the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.Mubtaahij may not look to be a match for the two American champions but his presence will be a fine addition to a strong field.
Ectot – Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf
Before French colt Ectot was shipped off to the USA, the most impressive experiences on his résumé were his two and three-year-old season. While racing in his country of birth, Ectot claimed the Prix des Chenes (2013), Critérium International (2013), Prix de Fontainebleau (2014) and the Prix Niel (2014). He virtually disappeared from the radar in 2015 but in 2016 made a comeback in horse racing with his debut in the USA. After a modest start in the Lure Stakes, Ectot finally made his mark in North American racing with an upset win over 1/5 favorite Flintshire in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes.
Chautauqua – Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
Five-year-old Australian-bred gelding Chautauqua will make his debut in North America in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, a race that will have him up against 2015 winner Mongolian Saturday (USA) and other exports such as Mecca’s Angel (Ireland), Red Falx (Japan) and Ardhoomey (Ireland). Chautauqua is a top ranked horse in his home country, with successes this year’s $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes (G1), Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (G1), and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (G1).
Sea Calisi – Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Her roots in France, this four-year-old filly achieved international fame in England where she built herself a good reputation. She won the Prix De Malleret (G2), came in second in the Prix De Royaumont – Rmc (G3), and nabbed the third spots in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) and the Qatar Prix Vermeille (G1). Her first appearance in US racing was in this year’s G2 Sheepshead Bay, which saw her beat this year’s Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes winner Guapaza. She pulled off her most impressive feat in the 2016 G1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park where she outshone strong rivals that included Al’s Gal and Zipessa.