Breeders' Cup Roundup: Aug. 16, 2021

August 16th, 2021

Grass stars took center stage during a busy Aug. 14-15 weekend on the road to the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, and eye-catching performances took place at tracks across the globe.

Let’s catch up on all the results and developments.

Got Stormy, Palace Pier earn Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) berths

It’s safe to say Got Stormy loves Saratoga and the Fourstardave H. (G1). The daughter of Get Stormy won the race in 2019, finished second in 2020, and bounced back from a disappointing spring campaign to upset the 2021 renewal at odds of 12-1.

Trained by Mark Casse, Got Stormy was primed for a peak effort. After she settled in third place, about four lengths behind early splits of :23.45 and :46.69, the six-year-old mare pounced to the lead and won the one-mile turf test by 1 1/2 lengths, in 1:33.09.

Among Got Stormy’s beaten rivals were the Grade 1 winners Casa Creed (third) and Raging Bull (sixth), along with the improving Grade 2 winner Set Piece (second).

In 2019, Got Stormy parlayed her Fourstardave victory into a productive fall campaign, highlighted by a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). A return trip to the Breeders’ Cup could certainly be in the offing for Got Stormy, since her latest Fourstardave triumph came with a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Mile.

Got Stormy wasn’t the only horse to nab a "Win and You’re In" qualifier to the Mile last week. The British-bred Palace Pier did the same when she traveled to France for the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville.

Palace Pier didn’t even need the "Win and You’re In" berth. He already secured his spot with a win the Queen Anne S. (G1) at Royal Ascot two months ago.

But it never hurts to keep your momentum rolling, which is exactly what Palace Pier did at Deauville. The once-beaten four-year-old had to work a little harder than expected to prevail by a neck, but the field was deep, with 2000 Guineas (G1) winner Poetic Flare and reigning Breeders’ Cup Mile victor Order of Australia rounding out the top three.

The victory was Palace Pier’s ninth win from 10 starts, including five victories at the Group 1 level. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Palace Pier has joined sire Kingman as one of Europe’s best milers of the last decade, but a trip to the Breeders’ Cup isn’t necessarily in the cards. His connections have mentioned Ascot’s Champions Day on Oct. 16 as the goal for Palace Pier, which would leave just three weeks to turn around and head to Del Mar.

Santa Barbara, Two Emmys shine on Arlington Million Day

Although they weren’t part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, Saturday’s renewals of the Mr. D S. (G1) and Beverly D. S. (G1) at Arlington Park could have a significant impact on the action at Del Mar in the fall.

The 1 1/4-mile Mr. D was supposed to be an easy spot for Domestic Spending to pick up his fourth straight Grade 1 win, but a pedestrian early pace gave the advantage to longshot Two Emmys, who led all the way to beat the late-charging favorite by a neck.

It will be interesting to see where the two runners head from here, since the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) would mark a significant jump in distance for both.

A change in distance is less likely to affect Santa Barbara, the powerful winner of the Beverly D. Previously victorious in the Belmont Oaks (G1) against fellow three-year-olds, Santa Barbara had little difficulty defeating older mares at Arlington, where she pounced from a tracking position to draw off and beat five-time graded stakes winner Mean Mary by three lengths.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Santa Barbara has developed into a middle-distance turf star and ranks among the early favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). The stretch out to 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar could be right up her alley.

Mandaloun exits Breeders’ Cup Classic picture

The prospective field for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) took another hit, with the news Mandaloun will miss the rest of the season with a sore hoof. The talented three-year-old secured a "Win and You’re In" berth to the Classic with a victory in the Haskell S. (G1) via disqualification.

The good news is, Mandaloun is expected to return to action in 2021, with the $20 million Saudi Cup as an early season target.

Upcoming "Win and You’re In" qualifiers

Six Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races are slated to take place around the world over the next week. Here’s a rundown of all the action.

  • Aug. 18, Juddmonte International (G1) at York: This prestigious 1 5/16-mile turf test awards a "Win and You’re In" berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a prize surely desired by Saudi Cup winner Mishriff. But to claim victory, the talented four-year-old will have to beat a pair of formidable fillies, Prince of Wales’s S. (G1) winner Love and the multiple Group 1-winning miler Alcohol Free.
  • Aug. 19, Yorkshire Oaks (G1) at York: Fillies and mares will traverse 1 1/2 miles in this qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. O’Brien’s sensational filly, Snowfall, a 16-length winner of the Epsom Oaks (G1), is the overwhelming favorite.
  • Aug. 20, Nunthorpe S. (G1) at York: Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) contenders will square off over five furlongs in this competitive turf dash. American raider Golden Pal, the frontrunning winner of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), looks like the favorite.
  • Aug. 21, Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar: This important steppingstone toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic is expected to draw a competitive field, led by San Diego H. (G2) winner Express Train, Californian S. (G2) victor Royal Ship, Monmouth Cup (G3) winner Dr Post, Cougar II H. (G2) winner Tizamagician, and possibly Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Rock Your World.
  • Aug. 21, Del Mar H. (G2) at Del Mar: 2019 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) winner Arklow and six-time graded stakes winner United are among the nominees for this 1 3/8-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf qualifier.
  • Aug. 22, Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville: The field is still in flux for this six-furlong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) qualifier, though expected starters include Norfolk S. (G1) winner Perfect Power, Queen Mary S. (G2) heroine Quick Suzy, and Molecomb S. (G3) winner Armor.

Stay tuned to TwinSpires Edge for more coverage and analysis as the road to the Breeders’ Cup continues!