2023 Breeders' Cup: 10 observations from pre-entries

October 25th, 2023

Pre-entries for the 2023 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita were released on Wednesday. From all appearances, the 14 races are coming up strong.

Get up to speed on key Breeders’ Cup storylines with 10 observations and takeaways:

Breeders’ Cup attracts 205 pre-entries

The Breeders’ Cup pre-entry stage attracted 205 horses, including 59 horses based internationally. The grand total is the same as last year, but international participation has increased sharply from 45 overseas runners in 2022.

Breeders’ Cup Classic draws overflow field of 18 pre-entries

The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) drew 18 pre-entries. The prospective field features 11 Grade/Group 1 winners, including Belmont (G1) winner Arcangelo, Pacific Classic (G1) hero Arabian Knight, and runaway Whitney (G1) winner White Abarrio.

Six Kentucky Derby alumni in the mix

Led by 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage, who is cross-entered in the Classic and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a total of six Kentucky Derby alumni are pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup. The others are Charge It (17th in the 2022 Kentucky Derby) in the Classic and Dirt Mile, Zozos (10th in 2022) in the Dirt Mile, and Derma Sotogake (sixth in 2023), White Abarrio (16th in 2022), and Zandon (third in 2022) in the Classic.

Four Breeders’ Cup winners back for more

Four winners from the 2022 Breeders’ Cup are back to defend their titles. Fan favorite Cody’s Wish is the expected favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), while a trio of reigning sprint sensations—Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Elite Power, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) heroine Caravel, and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Goodnight Olive—are formidable contenders in their respective races.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile attracts a dozen

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier awarding points on a 30-15-9-6-3 basis to the top five finishers, has drawn a dozen pre-entries. Grade 1 winners Prince of Monaco, Locked, Muth, and Timberlake rank among the key contenders.

August Rodin headlines Breeders’ Cup Turf

August Rodin, a four-time Group 1 winner who nabbed England’s historic Derby (G1) at Epsom during the spring, is the biggest name among 17 pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Other formidable contenders shipping in from Europe include Juddmonte International (G1) hero Mostahdaf and Champion (G1) winner King of Steel, who is cross-entered in the Classic.

Stellar field assembles for Breeders’ Cup Distaff

The Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) always attracts a strong group of fillies and mares, and this year is no exception. The 13 pre-entries include nine Grade/Group 1 winners, including the red-hot Idiomatic and reigning Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Pretty Mischievous.

Small field shaping up for Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Only 11 horses have pre-entered the Sprint, the smallest number of any Breeders’ Cup race. The prospective field includes the above-mentioned 2022 Sprint winner Elite Power plus 2021 Sprint runner-up Dr. Schivel.

Charlie Appleby pre-enters four horses

Charlie Appleby, who trains for the powerful Godolphin stable, boasts a spectacular 9-for-18 (50%) record at the Breeders’ Cup. He’s pre-entered three horses in 2023: Legend of Time in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), With The Moonlight in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), and Master of the Seas in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Nine horses from Japan take the stage

Horses based in Japan have enjoyed resounding success around the globe in recent years, even winning a pair of Breeders’ Cup events in 2021. Nine horses from Japan are pre-entered in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup: Ecoro Neo in the Juvenile, Win Marilyn in the Filly & Mare Turf, Meikei Yell in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Turf Sprint, Songline and Win Carnelian in the Mile, Shahryar in the Turf, Derma Sotogake and Ushba Tesoro in the Classic, and Jasper Crone in the Sprint and Turf Sprint.