Jon White: Breeders' Cup Recap

VENUE: Keeneland on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5

Main Track: dirt, fast Friday and Saturday; Turf Course: firm Friday and Saturday.


Results: (1) Flightline, who paid $2.88, (2) Olympiad, (3) Taiba.

Winner: Owned by Hronis Racing, Siena Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing; trained by John Sadler; ridden by Flavien Prat.

Distance: 1 1/4 miles on dirt. Starters: 8.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 121. Knicks Go won the 2021 BC Classic at Del Mar with a 112 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Classic: 124 (Sunday Silence in 1989 at Gulfstream Park, Ghostzapper in 2004 at Lone Star Park).

Recap: It ended at precisely 5:44 ET on Nov. 5.

That’s when fabulous Flightline reached the finish line in front by a record-breaking margin in North America’s richest race, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Flightline ended his all too brief and superlative-filled racing career with six victories from six starts by a combined 71 lengths. In his six races, we saw six exhibitions of sheer poetry in motion. All six times it was a tour de force.

The day after the Breeders’ Cup, the announcement came that many racing fans in general and Flightline fans in particular dreaded. He will race no more. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Tapit colt was vanned to Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky., where he will embark on his next career as a sire.

In the BC Classic, Flightline sat just off an early pace that typically takes a toll on anyone setting it or near it going 1 1/4 miles. Life Is Good was winging along on the lead through preliminary fractions of :22.55 for the quarter-mile and :45.47 for the half. And then Life Is Good completed the first six furlongs in an insanely rapid 1:07.48, according to the time originally posted on the tote board and television monitors.

That six-furlong fraction of 1:07.48 was absolutely incredible. But it didn’t happen. Equibase originally amended that fractional time to 1:09.62, which was much more realistic, though still fast, with both Life Is Good and Flightline far in front of the others at that point. With a half-mile to go, Hot Rod Charlie was racing in third while a whopping 15 1/2 lengths off the lead.

Where did that ridiculous 1:07.48 fractional time come from? As explained in the Equibase chart, “the three-quarters time was hand-timed due to an outrider hitting the beam too early.”

But wait. It turns out 1:09.62 wasn’t correct, either. Three days after the Breeders’ Cup, Equibase announced the following in a press release:

“During the running of the Longines Breeder’s Cup Classic on Nov. 5, 2022, at Keeneland, the timing eye for the three-quarter fraction was inadvertently tripped by an outrider as he was making his way to tend to pulled-up Epicenter. A backup time of 1:09.62 was produced on race day for that fraction. As per Equibase policy, the fractional time underwent comprehensive video review to verify its accuracy. After this review, it was determined that the three-quarter fractional time for the Classic was 1:09.27. No other times were affected, including the final time of 2:00.05.”

To put this year’s BC Classic six-furlong split of 1:09.27 or 1:09 1/5 in fifths into perspective, earlier in the day, Elite Power won the Grade I BC Sprint by completing six furlongs in 1:09.11 or 1:09 flat in fifths.

When Flightline won the Pacific Classic by 19 1/4 lengths, he had the lead when running the first three-quarters in 1:09.92 or 1:09 4/5 in fifths. His final time for 1 1/4 miles was 1:59.28 or 1:59 1/5 in fifths.

In the 2016 renewal of Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes, Arrogate won in front-running fashion by 13 1/2 lengths in 1:59.36 or 1:59 1/5 in fifths, which broke the track record by four-fifths of a second. He ran the first three-quarters in 1:10.85 or 1:10 4/5 in fifths.

In the 1973 edition of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby, pacesetting Shecky Greene ran the first six furlongs in 1:11 4/5. Secretariat was six lengths off the pace at that point and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:59 2/5 while breaking the track record by three-fifths of a second. That track record still stands 49 years later. Shecky Greene would go on to be voted an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter of 1973, while Secretariat increased his total of Eclipse Awards to five (Horse of the Year and champion 2-year-old male in 1972; Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old male and champion grass horse in 1973).

Turning for home in this year’s BC Classsic, Prat appeared to be sitting on a keg of dynamite. The rider decided the time had come to go after Life Is Good. Flightline pounced on the leader and “quickly took over command once in the stretch.”  When having to deal in earnest with Flightline, Life Is Good became Life Isn’t Quite So Good and retreated to fifth, losing by 12 1/2 lengths.

Once in the lane, Flightline bid his foes adieu, yet again drawing away to win in isolated splendor, just as he had done in all of his previous starts. This time he was 8 1/4 lengths clear at the finish. That broke the record for biggest winning margin in the history of the BC Classic, which was first run in 1984. The previous record of 6 1/2 lengths had been set by pick-six-scandal-exposer Volponi in 2002 and matched by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015. Volponi was a 49-1 longshot. American Pharoah was a 3-5 favorite.

Hronis Racing, co-owner of Flightline, and trainer John Sadler now have won two of the five most recent BC Classic victories. They collaborated to win the 2018 BC Classic with Accelerate.

In terms of wagering in this year’s BC Classic, I had predicted that Flightline might well break Easy Goer’s record for lowest odds by a BC Classic winner. Easy Goer was 1-2 when he finished second to Sunday Silence in the 1989 BC Classic. Sunday Silence was the second choice at 2-1. I wrote that none of Flightline’s BC Classic opponents would be attracting anywhere close to the support that Sunday Silence did. That’s why I wrote that I expected Flightline to be 2-5, lower than the 3-5 Nick Tammaro made him on the official morning line and the 3-5 that Brad Free made him on the Daily Racing Form line. I wrote that if I had been making the BC morning line (which I’ve done seven times), I would have made Flightline 2-5.

It turned out that Flightline was indeed sent away as a 2-5 favorite. He was odds-on in all six of his career starts. After going off at 4-5 in his racing debut, he was never better than 2-5 thereafter.

Epicenter was the second choice in the BC Classic at 6-1. As an example of Flightline’s impact on BC Classic wagering, Life Is Good, who went off at 4-5 or lower in all 10 of his previous U.S. starts, had his odds balloon to 8-1 last Saturday.

Olympiad was neglected in the wagering to the tune of 26-1 last Saturday. He ran well to finish second, though like everyone else, he was no match for Flightline. Taiba did best of the three 3-year-olds in the race by coming in third, a half-length behind Olympiad. Another 3-year-old, Rich Strike, ran fourth at 24-1, which was a much shorter price than the 80-1 that he was when he won the Kentucky Derby in the second-biggest upset in the long history of the 1 1/4-mile classic.

Epicenter did not finish. He was pulled up with an injured right foreleg. The day after the Breeders’ Cup, Epicenter underwent surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Keeneland for a lateral condylar fracture. Two screws were inserted. The prognosis is excellent for Epicenter to be able to go on to a stud career following his 3-year-old campaign highlighted by a 5 1/4-length victory in Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes and runner-up finishes in the Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I Preakness Stakes.

Flightline’s final time was 2:00.05. The $1 million auction purchase, who was coming off a magnificent 19 1/4-length triumph in Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic on Sept. 3, did not break Keeneland’s track record for 1 1/4 miles. That mark of 1:59.60 was set by Authentic when he won the 2020 BC Classic.

As a matter of fact, while Flightline certainly accomplished a lot despite going to the post a mere six times, one thing he never did was break a track record, though he surely would have done so in the Pacific Classic had Prat not taken his foot off the gas pedal approaching the finish line.

To Flightline’s credit, his 2:00.05 clocking last Saturday was only .02 of a second slower than Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s time when he won the 2015 BC Classic by the aforementioned 6 1/2 lengths. The 2015 BC Classic also was contested on Keeneland’s main track.

According to the Equibase chart, Flightline’s final quarter in the BC Classic was run in :25.47 or :25 2/5 in fifths. Authentic’s final quarter in his BC Classic was :24.96 or :24 4/5 in fifths. American Pharoah’s final quarter in his BC Classic was :24.60 or :24 3/5 in fifths.

Secretariat’s final quarter in his Kentucky Derby, before races were timed in hundredths, was a sensational :23 flat.

Flightline was credited with a 121 Beyer Speed Figure for his BC Classic triumph. This ranks as the fourth-highest Beyer by a BC Classic winner, lower only than the 124 by Sunday Silence in 1989 and Ghostzapper in 2004, plus Alysheba’s 122 in 1988.

Below are all the Beyers of 120 or higher recorded by a winner in the history of the Breeders’ Cup through 2022:

125 Precisionist in the 1985 Sprint at Aqueduct

124 Sunday Silence in the 1989 Classic at Gulfstream Park
124 Artax in the 1999 Sprint at Gulfstream Park
124 Ghostzapper in the 2004 Classic at Churchill Downs

122 Alysheba in the 1988 Classic at Churchill Downs

121 Very Subtle* in the 1987 Sprint at Hollywood Park
121 Flightline in the 2022 Classic at Keeneland

120 Princess Rooney* in the 1984 Distaff at Hollywood Park
120 Proud Truth in the 1985 Classic at Aqueduct
120 Black Tie Affair in the 1991 Classic at Churchill Downs
120 Skip Away in the 1997 Classic at Hollywood Park
120 Cajun Beat in the 2003 Sprint at Santa Anita Park
120 American Pharoah in the 2015 Classic at Keeneland
120 Arrogate in the 2017 Classic at Santa Anita

*Filly or mare

I made Flightline my most probable winner at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. My most probable Breeders’ Cup winner now has won in 14 of the last 19 years.

Below is a list of my most probable Breeders’ Cup winner for each year going back to 2004:

2022 Flightline in the Classic (won)
2021 Gamine in the Filly & Mare Sprint (finished third)
2020 Golden Pal in the Juvenile Turf Sprint (won)
2019 Midnight Bisou (finished second)
2018 Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (won)
2017 Bolt d’Oro in the Juvenile (finished third)
2016 Dortmund in the Dirt Mile (finished fourth)
2015 Songbird in the Juvenile Fillies (won)
2014 Goldencents in the Dirt Mile (won)
2013 Wise Dan in the Mile (won)
2012 Groupie Doll in the Filly & Mare Sprint (won)
2011 Goldikova in the Mile (won)
2010 Goldikova in the Mile (won)
2009 Zenyatta in the Classic (won)
2008 Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic (won)
2007 Midnight Lute in the Sprint (won)
2006 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (won)
2005 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (finished second)
2004 Ouija Board in the Filly & Mare Turf (won)


To the surprise of no one, Flightline was the unanimous No. 1 in the final 2022 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. He received all 36 first-place votes.

Below is the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for 2022:

Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)

 1. 360 Flightline (36)
 2. 286 Malathaat
 3. 237 Olympiad
 4. 178 Modern Games
 5. 168 Life Is Good
 6. 138 Cody’s Wish
 7.   96 Epicenter
 8.   94 Taiba
 9.   73 Goodnight Olive
10.   67 Nest

Also receiving votes: Elite Power (63), War Like Goddess (40), Rebel’s Romance (32), Clairiere (26), Forte (23), Jackie’s Warrior (17), Cyberknife (13), Jack Christopher (11), Golden Pal (9), Rich Strike (9), Blue Stripe (7), In Italian (7), Country Grammer (6), Wonder Wheel (6), Hot Rod Charlie (5), Tuesday (2).


Results: (1) Rebel’s Romance, who paid $13.92, (2) Stone Age, (3) War Like Goddess.

Winner: Owned by Godolphin; trained by Charlie Appleby; ridden by James Doyle.

Distance: 1 1/2 miles on turf. Starters 13.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 107. Yibir won the 2021 BC Turf at Del Mar with a 105. Top Beyer in the Turf: 118 (Daylami in 1999 at Gulfstream Park).

Recap: With this victory in the penultimate Breeders’ Cup race of 2022, Charlie Appleby increased his overall total number of Breeders’ Cup wins to nine from 18 starters, a remarkable record, to be sure.

Tenth early, Rebel’s Romance flew home to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths in 2:26.35, which broke the course record. It was the fifth straight victory by the 4-year-old Irish-bred Dubawi gelding, who came into the Breeders’ Cup off back-to-back Group I wins in Germany.

The 5-year-old mare War Like Goddess finished third against males in the BC Turf after a sparkling 2 3/4-length win vs. males in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in New York. She likewise ran third in the 2021 BC Filly & Mare Turf.

Appleby also sent out 3-year-old Nations Pride, who never threatened and finished fifth as the 5-2 favorite.


Results: (1) Malathaat, who paid $7.76, (2) Blue Stripe, (3) Clairiere.

Winner: Owned by Shadwell Stable; trained by Todd Pletcher; ridden by John Velazquez.

Distance: 1 1/8 miles on dirt. Starters: 8.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 102. Marche Lorraine won the BC Distaff at Del Mar with a 103 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Distaff: 120 (Princess Rooney in 1984).

Recap: This race produced a furious, dramatic three-way battle down to the wire involving the top three finishers.

Sixth early while 7 1/2 lengths off the pace, Malathaat eked out a nose victory over 24-1 longshot Blue Stripe, who nosed out Clariere for second. Nest, a 3-year-old facing her elders, finished fourth as the 7-5 favorite, 3 1/4 lengths behind Clairiere.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Curlin filly, Malathaat posted a final time of 1:49.07. Curlin won the 2007 BC Classic and was voted Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Malathaat has been retired from racing.


Results: (1) Modern Games, who paid $4.76 as the favorite, (2) Shirl’s Speight, (3) Kinross.

Winner: Owned by Godolphin; trained by Charlie Appleby; ridden by William Buick.

Distance: 1 mile on turf. Starters: 14.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 104. Space Blues won the 2021 BC Mile at Del Mar with a 106 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Mile: 119 (Miesque in 1987 at Hollywood Park).

Recap: Modern Games will forever be linked with the controversial BC Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in 2021. Improperly scratched, he was permitted to run for purse only and won by 1 1/2 lengths, which irked a great many bettors.

Modern Games won this year’s BC Mile with a strong stretch surge. The 3-year-old Irish-bred Dubawi colt completed his one-mile journey in 1:33.96 while defeating older opponents. And this time, those who wagered on Modern Games actually were able to get paid.

This was not Modern Games’ only North American start this year. He won the Grade I Woodbine Mile, also against his elders, with authority by 5 1/4 lengths on Sept. 17 while recording a 112 Beyer Speed Figure. That’s the highest Beyer on the turf so far this year.

Prior to the Woodbine Mile, Modern Games finished a respectable second in a Group I event in England at Goodwood. He lost by 1 3/4 lengths to 4year-old European superstar Baaeed.

Domestic Spending was pulled up going into the far turn. The 5-year-old gelding had not raced since finishing second in the Grade I Mr. D Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 14, 2021.

Trainer Chad Brown tweeted the following the day after the race regarding Domestic Spending: “He is more comfortable today and remains stable. He does have a pelvic fracture, likely originating when he broke from the gate and worsening as the race continued according to my veterinary team. He is receiving excellent care around the clock” at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Versailles, Ky.

Domestic Spending broke from post 14 in this year’s BC Mile. He was 8-1 on the morning line and went off at 11-1.

I had made Domestic Spending the 4-1 second choice on the morning line in last year’s BC Turf, but he was scratched due to inflammation in his left foreleg that later was determined to be a suspensory issue.


Results: (1) Elite Power, who paid $13.10, (2) C Z Rocket, (3) Jackie’s Warrior.

Winner: Owned by Juddmonte; trained by Bill Mott; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Distance: 6 furlongs on dirt. Starters: 11.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 100. Aloha West won the 2021 BC Sprint at Del Mar with a 100 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Sprint and the top Beyer in Breeders’ Cup history: 125 (Precisionist in 1985).

Recap: Elite Power did not sport the best speed figures coming into this race. But inasmuch as he had reeled off four straight wins by margins of 9, 3 1/4, 3 1/2 and 5 1/4 lengths going into the BC Sprint, those who went against him because of his figs did so unsuccessfully.

Seventh early, Elite Power came home with gusto to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09.11. He was sent off at 5-1. No doubt his odds were as large as they were due to others in the race having better speed figures. As it turned out, Elite Power did not even need a career-best Beyer in order to take the BC Sprint.

Elite Power’s top Beyer prior to the BC Sprint had been the 101 he received when he won the Grade II Vosburgh Stakes by almost six lengths at the Belmont at Aqueduct meet. That served as a springboard for him into the Breeders’ Cup. A 100 Beyer was good enough for him to get the job done in the BC Sprint.

Odds-on favorite Jackie’s Warrior, in the final start of his career, had to settle for third at 3-5. This was the third straight year in which he had been defeated as the favorite in a Breeders’ Cup race. He finished fourth as a 4-5 favorite in the 2021 BC Juvenile at Keeneland and sixth as a 1-2 favorite in the 2022 BC Sprint at Del Mar.

Aloha West won the 2021 BC Sprint at odds of 11, but he wound up 11th at 13-1 in last Saturday’s renewal.


Results: (1) Tuesday, who paid $10.38, (2) In Italian, (3) Lady Speightspeare.

Winner: Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg; trained by Aidan O’Brien; ridden by Ryan Moore.

Distance: 1 3/16 miles on turf. Starters: 12.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 105. Loves Only You won the 2021 BC Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar with a 102 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Turf: 112 (Banks Hill in 2001).

Recap: Seventh early, 3-year-old European shipper Tuesday charged home to win by one length at 4-1 while defeating her elders. Her final time of 1:51.88 broke Keeneland’s course record for 1 3/16 miles.

As expected, In Italian (seeking her third straight Grade I win) set the pace. Overtaken late by Tuesday, In Italian held on to finish second at a bit under 3-1 odds. Lady Speightspeare came in third at 32-1. Nashawa, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth.

Tuesday had the class to win the prestigious Group I Cazoo (Epsom) Oaks in England on June 2, but the Irish-bred Galileo filly then proceeded to lose four in a row prior to her Breeders’ Cup victory.


Results: (1) Cody’s Wish, who paid $6.32 as the favorite, (2) Cybernife, (3) Slow Down Andy.

Winner: Owned by Godolphin; trained by Bill Mott; ridden by Junior Alvarado.

Distance: 1 mile on dirt. Starters: 9.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 106. Life Is Good won the 2021 BC Dirt Mile at Del Mar with a 109 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Dirt Mile: 119 (Corinthian in 2007).

Recap: Eighth early, Kentucky-bred Cody’s Wish rallied to win in a photo finish while completing one mile in 1:35.33 as the 2-1 favorite. He edged the quality sophomore Cyberknife, who lost a narrow decision when opting for this race rather than the BC Classic. Finishing third at 17-1 was Slow Down Andy.

BloodHorse’s Byron King wrote: “In the feel-good story of the Breeders’ Cup, the 4-year-old Curlin colt [Cody’s Wish] -- named after Cody Dorman, a teenager who has a rare genetic disorder known as Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome -- won before his namesake by grittily outfinishing Cyberknife by a head.”


Results: (1) Caravel, who paid $87.78, (2) Emaraaty Ana, (3) Creative Force.

Winner: Owned by Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables; trained by Brad Cox; Tyler Gaffalione.

Distance: 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Starters: 14.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 107. Golden Pal won the 2021 BC Turf Sprint at Del Mar with a 107 Beyer. Previous top Beyer in the BC Turf Sprint: 119 (Stormy Liberal in 2018).

Recap: Leading past every pole, Caravel pulled off a shocker. The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred Mizzen Mast mare Caravel won by a half-length in 1:01.79 at odds of 42-1. It was the biggest upset at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Caravel was the only North American-based runner to win a grass race at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. All of the other BC turf races were won by Europeans.

Golden Pal, the 6-5 favorite in this year’s BC Turf Sprint, was thwarted in his bid to become a three-time Breeders’ Cup winner. He broke poorly and wound up 10th.


Results: (1) Goodnight Olive, who paid $5.70 as the favorite, (2) Echo Zulu, (3) Wicked Halo.

Winner: Owned by First Row Partners and Team Hanley; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Distance: 7 furlongs on dirt. Starters: 12.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 101. Ce Ce won the 2021 BC Filly & Mare Sprint with a 100 Beyer. Top previous Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint: 108 (Groupie Doll in 2012 at Santa Anita).

Recap: This win machine did it again. Goodnight Olive extended her winning streak to six since finishing second (to Mischieful) when unveiled in a maiden sprint at Gulfstream Park on March 7, 2021.

Fifth early, Goodnight Olive won this race by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:21.61 as the 9-5 favorite. It was her fourth win in as many starts this year. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly went into the Breeders’ Cup off a victory in the Grade I Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga.

Goodnight Olive has Breeders’ Cup blood coursing through her veins. Her sire, Ghostzapper, won the 2004 BC Classic. Ghostzapper is by 1998 BC Classic winner Awesome Again.

Ce Ce won the 2021 BC Filly & Mare Sprint, but she ended up in this year’s renewal.


Results: (1) Victoria Road, who paid $13.14, (2) Silver Knott, (3) Nagirroc.

Winner: Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg; trained by Aidan O’Brien; ridden by Ryan Moore.

Distance: 1 mile on turf. Starters: 14.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 86. Modern Games won the 2021 BC Juvenile Turf at Del Mar with an 87 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Turf: 93 (Donativum in 2008, Outstrip in 2013, Oscar Performance in 2016).

Recap: Sixth early, 5-1 Victoria Road nosed out 7-5 favorite Silver Knott for the win in a battle to the wire between two European shippers. Another Euro, 39-1 Nagirroc, finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the top pair.

This was Victoria Road’s fourth consecutive victory. The Irish-bred Saxon Warrior colt was coming off a neck win in a Group III race in France at Chantilly on Sept. 17.


Results: (1) Forte, who paid $12.04, (2) Cave Rock, (3) National Treasure.

Winner: Owned Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable; trained by Todd Pletcher; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Distance: 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Starters: 10.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 100. Corniche won the 2021 BC Juvenile at Del Mar with a 91 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile: 113 (War Pass in 2007).

Recap: Forte came from off the pace to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:43.06 at odds of 5-1. Heavily favored Cave Rock was a pace factor from the outset, led by 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole, but finished second at 2-5 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. National Treasure, also trained by Baffert, ended up third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Cave Rock.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Forte was registering his Grade I victory of the year. The Kentucky-bred Violence colt previously had won the Grade I Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

Forte’s only loss in five starts came when he finished fourth in Saratoga’s Grade III Sanford Stakes.


Results: (1) Meditate, who paid $6.08 as the favorite, (2) Pleasant Passage, (3) Cairo Consort.

Winner: Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg; trained by Aidan O’Brien; ridden by Ryan Moore.

Distance: 1 mile on turf. Starters: 14.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 89. Pizza Bianca won the 2021 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar with a 79 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf: 96 (Lady Eli in 2001, Sharing in 2019).

Recap: Toward the back of the pack early in 10th, Meditate uncorked a strong rally to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:35.38 as the 2-1 favorite. It was her fifth win from seven 2022 starts. She previously had won a Group II race in Ireland and a Group III race in England.


Results: (1) Wonder Wheel, who paid $15.00, (2) Leave No Trace, (3) Raging Sea.

Winner: Owned by D J Stable; trained by Mark Casse; ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

Distance: 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Starters: 13.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 83. Echo Zulu won the 2021 BC Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar with a 94 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies: 107 (Tempera in 2001).

Recap: Talk about a versatile filly.

After winning Keeneland’s Grade I Alcibiades by a nose in front-running fashion on Oct. 7, Wonder Wheel took this race by three lengths after being 11th through the early stages. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.90 at odds of 6-1.

Talk about a great ride. Tyler Gaffalione somehow managed to thread his way through traffic, sometimes finding a way to thread his way through narrow seams and claustrophobic quarters.

Talk about revenge. In her only defeat this year, Wonder Wheel finished second to Leave No Trace in the Grade I Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga. Wonder Wheel turned the tables on that rival at the Breeders’ Cup.

Chop Chop finished last as the 2-1 favorite. She had closed strongly in the Alcibiades, only to lose by a whisker to Wonder Wheel.


Results: (1) Mischief Magic, who paid $15.84; (2) Dramatised, (3) Private Creed.

Winner: Owned by Godolphin; trained by Charlie Appleby; ridden by William Buick.

Distance: 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Starters: 12.

Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 89. Twilight Gleaming won the 2021 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar with an 84 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint: 90 (Bulletin in 2018, Golden Pal in 2020).

Recap: Trainer Wesley Ward was unable to make it a four-peat in this race.

Todd Pletcher saddled Bulletin to win the inaugural BC Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2018. Ward then won the next three renewals -- Four Wheel Drive in 2019, Golden Pal in 2020 and Twilight Gleaming in 2021.

This time around it was the outstanding trainer Charlie Appleby winning the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint with European representative Mischief Magic. Last early, the Irish-bred Exceed And Excel colt rocketed home to prevail by one length in 1:02.41 at odds of 6-1.

Love Reigns, the 3-1 favorite trained by Ward, finished eighth.

Including the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, Mischief Magic has won four of six starts this year. His most significant win before the Breeders’ Cup came in a Group III race on synthetic footing in Ireland at The Curragh.

Appleby, remarkably, won three Breeders’ Cup races this year after winning the same number of Breeders’ Cup races last year.

I posed this question last year when recapping the Breeders’ Cup for “Why in the world is the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint still a Grade II? This is the only Breeders’ Cup race that does not have a Grade I ranking. It’s ridiculous this isn’t yet a Grade I race.”

The BC Juvenile Turf Sprint was upgraded to a Grade I this year.

The Juvenile Turf Sprint kicked off this year’s Breeders’ Cup action at Keeneland. The 40th Breeders’ Cup will be held next year at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4.

For last week, I wrote: “In the first race at Keeneland on Saturday (Nov. 5), Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert unveils a $2.3 million auction purchase by the name of Arabian Knight. Yes, the Uncle Mo colt is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. But I can tell you that I will be thrilled if he does not go off at lower odds than 2-1 because I will be making a win wager on him no matter how low the price goes.”

Well, Arabian Knight’s price at race time was nowhere close to 2-1. Bet down to 3-5 favoritism, he seized the early lead and bounded home to win by a widening 7 1/4 lengths while completing seven furlongs a splendid 1:21.98. Keep in mind this final time by a 2-year-old in a maiden race was comparable to Goodnight Olive’s 1:21.61 clocking when she won the Grade I BC Filly & Mare Sprint on the same oval and at the same distance later on the card.

Arabian Knight races for Zedan Racing Stables.

“As Amr Zedan of Zedan Racing Stables began an interview with BloodHorse after the race, Baffert shouted, ‘Tell them they’re going to have to water the track because he dried it out,’ an apparent reference to the colt running like the wind,” wrote BloodHorse’s Byron King.

John Velazquez rode Arabian Knight. Velazquez rode Arabian Knight’s sire, Uncle Mo, in all eight of his career starts, including five victories. Uncle Mo won the 2010 BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs and was voted an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.

Velazquez said Arabian Knight “reminded me so much of his sire.”

Arabian Knight’s paternal grandsire is Indian Charlie. Trained by Baffert, Indian Charlie won four in a row before finishing third as the favorite in the 1998 Kentucky Derby, which was the colt’s lone defeat in five career starts. The 1998 Run for the Roses was won by the Baffert-trained Real Quiet.

Indian Charlie is the maternal grandsire of Flightline, who is odds on to be the choice of Eclipse Award voters as the 2022 Horse of the Year.

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