Breeders' Cup Barn Tour: Kelsey Danner

November 2nd, 2023

Trainer Kelsey Danner is enjoying her first trip to Santa Anita for one special reason: her Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) contender Shards.

The Florida-bred son of Bucchero and Cynthia’s Fury won his way into the gate for the five-furlong Grade 1 test with his third-place finish in Keeneland's Indian Summer S. behind fellow Breeders’ Cup starters Committee of One and Amidst Waves. 

Bred by Craig Wheeler and owned by NBS Stable, Crown's Way Racing, and Kevin Marko, Shards was purchased by NBS Stable and John Ballantyne for $175,000 from the OBS March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. He is Danner’s first Breeders’ Cup starter.

How is Shards doing ahead of the big day?

He's doing really well, shipped well, pretty happy. He's taking a little bit of a nap right now.

Have you had a chance to try out the turf course?

No, we've only stayed on the dirt. I think most of the time, the turf is pretty speedy here anyways. We'll see how it plays out.

What kind of a course does Shards prefer?

He probably prefers firm. That's all he's been on at this point.

Was that behind your decision to come up here for this?

It was either here or New York (for the Atlantic Beach S. at Aqueduct). New York probably was the easier race, but they've been getting so much rain, so obviously, it won't come off the turf here.

How are you feeling ahead of Friday?

I'm pleased with them. I mean, it's doing really well, so I don't have any complaints right now.

How about you? How are you doing ahead of Friday? Your first time, your first horse, and everything going great?

Yeah, I mean, I did my part, so now it's up to him.

Have you been watching the other horses while you've been out in the mornings?

Most of them. Besides, half of the field is European, but the Americans are all pretty much in this barn anyway.

Other than your horse, obviously, do you have another horse that you're excited about seeing on Friday or Saturday?

It's exciting to see all the big races.

Did anyone catch your eye this week?

There's a lot of nice horses.

Is there a particular race you’re excited about other than yours?

The Classic.

Do you get to play racing fan and actually watch?

Yeah, I don't have anything going on Saturday.

Are you pleased with how Santa Anita is playing thus far? It looks like the firm turf is promising for him?

Well, there's a lot of speed in his race, so we'll see how that lays out because we come from off of it.

Post time for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint is Friday, Nov. 3 at 5:00 pm ET. With morning line odds of 15-1, Shards will break from post 7 with jockey Adam Beschizza aboard.