Breeders’ Cup Roundup: Oct. 16, 2023

October 16th, 2023

Each week, J. Keeler Johnson reviews the latest news and results on the road to the 2023 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

Mawj returns a winner in Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Godolphin homebred Mawj lived up to expectations when returning from a five-month layoff in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland, leading all the way to defeat Lindy by half a length in 1:48.06.

The three-year-old Saeed bin Suroor trainee is now unbeaten in four starts this season, including a victory over talented European miler Tahiyra in the historic 1000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket. The Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) or Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) is next on the agenda.

Arcangelo, Arabian Knight, White Abarrio tune up for Breeders’ Cup Classic

Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1) winner Arcangelo is shaping up as the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). In preparation for his first start against older rivals, the three-year-old son of 2016 Classic winner Arrogate worked five furlongs in a quick 1:00.00 on Sunday at Santa Anita.

The move marked Arcangelo’s second exercise since shipping from Saratoga to Santa Anita. On Oct. 5, he clocked five furlongs in an easy 1:02.00.

On Monday morning, Pacific Classic (G1) winner Arabian Knight took a step toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic by breezing a stiff seven furlongs in 1:24.00 at Santa Anita. The Monday work tab also featured a timed exercise from Whitney (G1) winner White Abarrio, who traveled five furlongs in 1:01.80.

Echo Zulu, Nutella Fella out with injuries

The Breeders’ Cup sadly lost a couple of accomplished potential starters last week.

Echo Zulu, the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and the early favorite for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), suffered two fractured sesamoids during a Friday workout and won’t race again after undergoing surgery to repair the injury.

Meanwhile, Hopeful (G1) winner Nutella Fella will miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) after being diagnosed with a hairline ankle fracture. Fortunately, he is expected to make a full recovery and return to training next year.