In preparation for the prestigious (G1T) Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park, an elite gathering of North American-based racehorses is gearing up to face a formidable challenge from a star-studded international cast. This race has a rich history, with foreign contenders emerging victorious in 19 out of the past 25 years.
Leading the charge for the foreign contingent are three horses trained by the renowned Irish horseman, Aidan O’Brien. Dual Derby champion Auguste Rodin spearheads this trio, joined by the English standout King of Steel, a runner-up in the Epsom Derby (G1) and winner of the British Champion Stakes (G1). Also, in the mix is Mostahdaf, a victor in both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot and the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York.
Hailing from France, Onesto, who secured a third-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), adds further international flair to the competition. Japan contributes the accomplished Shahryar, winner of the 2021 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1), and a strong performer in the Japan Cup (G1). Although two notable horses, Equinox and Ace Impact, opted for different paths, the field remains stacked.
Aidan O’Brien, with six Breeders’ Cup Turf victories to his name, holds a commanding position among the foreign entries. His star, Auguste Rodin, is in top form following a successful outing at the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) and looks poised for a remarkable performance.
Apart from Auguste Rodin, O’Brien fields Bolshoi Ballet and Broome, each with their own unique credentials. Bolshoi Ballet, a 5-year-old son of Galileo, impressed with a dominating win in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T). Broome, a 7-year-old by Australia, brings experience from previous Turf races.
King of Steel, a Kentucky-bred colt, arrives fresh from a victory in the Champion Stakes at Ascot, adding an emotional touch to the competition as jockey Frankie Dettori bids farewell to English racing.
War Like Goddess, a consistent performer, represents the local contingent. With 11 wins in 17 starts, she seeks to improve on her previous Turf performance. Trainer Bill Mott and owner George Krikorian have high hopes for her.
Phil D’Amato oversees Gold Phoenix and Masteroffoxhounds, offering strong local competition. The race’s apparent speedsters, Balladeer and Get Smokin, provide an exciting element, with both horses showcasing their skills at the rich Kentucky Downs meeting.
The Breeders’ Cup Turf promises a thrilling clash between international stars and local talents, creating a captivating racing spectacle.