Breeders' Cup Roundup: Oct. 17, 2022

October 17th, 2022

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is complete. The last of October’s Grade 1 prizes in North America have been contested. The days until the Nov. 4-5 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland are counting down rapidly.

Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup are due next Monday, so potential fields should soon come into clear focus. In the meantime, let’s catch up on the latest Breeders’ Cup news and notes:

Bayside Boy, Bay Bridge shine in Ascot qualifiers

British Champions Day at Ascot wrapped up the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series with a final pair of qualifiers. Both produced significant upsets as heavy favorites fell to defeat.

The one-mile Queen Elizabeth II S. (G1) kicked things off. The three-year-old filly Inspiral was expected to claim top honors in this Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) steppingstone, but she suffered a poor start and failed to seriously rally thereafter while finishing sixth.

In the meantime, Bayside Boy produced an impressive burst of acceleration over good-to-soft ground, rallying past the leaders close to home. Previously victorious in the Fortune S. racing one mile over soft ground at Sandown, Bayside Boy clearly relished the conditions at Ascot while prevailing by 1 1/4 lengths over Woodbine Mile (G1) winner Modern Games, who employed tracking tactics to edge pacesetter Jadoomi by a head for the runner-up spot.

Whether Bayside Boy takes a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Mile remains to be seen, but Keeneland remains the goal for Modern Games, whose 2-for-2 record in North America includes an impressive stretch-running score in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

Another major upset unfolded in the 1 1/4-mile Champion S. (G1), a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Baaeed brought a perfect 10-for-10 record to the table and was overwhelmingly favored to secure his seventh straight Group 1 prize, but the four-year-old star failed to unleash his typical turn of foot over the good-to-soft going, churning along behind the leaders to finish fourth as Bay Bridge nabbed top honors.

Runner-up in the Prince of Wales’s S. (G1) at Royal Ascot during the spring, Bay Bridge fired a career-best shot in the Champion, staying within touch of the early leaders before taking command in the homestretch and turning back a bid from Derby (G1) winner Adayar to prevail by half a length. My Prospero finished a nose behind Adayar in third place, with Baaeed another 1 1/4 lengths back.

Both Bay Bridge and Adayar have been mentioned as possible Breeders’ Cup Turf starters, so stay tuned for further updates as the Breeders’ Cup approaches. Adayar, in particular, would warrant respect at Keeneland since trainer Charlie Appleby boasts a stellar 6-for-11 record at the Breeders’ Cup, including a 2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf victory courtesy of Yibir.

Kinross emerges as Breeders’ Cup Mile threat

Also on British Champions Day, the improving Kinross picked up his fourth consecutive group stakes win and his second straight Group 1 prize, outsprinting a large field to dominate the six-furlong British Champions Sprint S. (G1) by 2 1/4 lengths.

Previously victorious in the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret (G1) over very soft ground at Longchamp, Kinross is a candidate to stretch out in distance for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. His sprinting speed could be suitable for success in a two-turn mile at Keeneland, though it’s too early to know if Keeneland will offer the soft ground Kinross clearly relishes.

Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders clock morning workouts

With the Breeders’ Cup less than three weeks away, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) candidates are busily training for North America’s richest horse race. At least half a dozen prominent contenders clocked official workouts last week:

  • The undefeated and unchallenged Pacific Classic (G1) winner Flightline worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80 on Saturday at Santa Anita, his fourth timed exercise since returning to the work tab on Sept. 24.
  • Epicenter, the frontrunner for champion three-year-old male honors after dominating the Travers S. (G1), clocked five furlongs in a quick 1:00.20 on Sunday at Keeneland. The move marked Epicenter’s third breeze over the Breeders’ Cup host track since the start of the month.
  • Fresh off a gritty victory in the Lukas Classic (G2), Hot Rod Charlie returned to the work tab with half a mile in :49.40 at Keeneland on Saturday. Last year’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner has been conducting his training at Keeneland since July.
  • Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Olympiad has been breezing over the Saratoga training track, most recently traveling five furlongs in 1:02.19 on Saturday.
  • Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Lukas Classic runner-up Rich Strike returned to the work tab with a quick half-mile at Keeneland, getting the distance in :47.60. It’s the fourth different track at which Rich Strike has conducted a workout since August.
  • Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner and Haskell S. (G1) runner-up Taiba rocketed five furlongs in a bullet :59.60 on Friday at Santa Anita. The accomplished three-year-old has a shot at earning the division Eclipse Award if he can upset older rivals in the Classic.

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