A historic Triple Crown season has come to a close, but the build up for Breeders’ Cup has begun in earnest! Qualifying for the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championship is in full force at the Breeders' Cup Challenge series offers automatic qualifying opportunities in place each weekend leading up to the final weekend in October.
This weekend in particular marked an important date as the first race in the Challenge series to qualify for the Breeders' Cup Classic was this weekend. Read on for the recap of the races and to see which horses qualified!
The Shoemaker Mile: Qualifying for the Mile!
Meanwhile on the west coast, the battle for a place in the gate for the Breeders’ Cup Mile was being contested. Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s 6-year-old gelding, Obviously (IRE), gained an automatic berth back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, following a dominant, front running victory Saturday winning in the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (GI) on turf at Santa Anita Park.
“He’s all class,” said jockey, Joe Talamo, following the race. “He was going fast, but he was doing it fairly easily. He is one of the best I’ve ever sat on. I just waited as long as I could to make my move because I knew we had closers coming after us. It’s amazing he could still accelerate after running as fast as he did.”
Obviously joins Capetown Noir (SAF), winner of the Lormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) in South Africa in January and Sacred Falls (NZ) who captured the Doncaster Mile (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia in April, as the first three horses to qualify for the this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, which has been won the past two years by Wise Dan, the reigning two-time Horse of the Year.
The Stephen Foster: Qualifying for the Classic!
This weekend, Moonshine Mullin became the first horse to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his victory in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. Moonshine Mullin gained the automatic berth through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, an international series of stakes races whose winners earn free starting positions, with fees paid, into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Trained by Randy Morse, Moonshine Mullin won his fifth consecutive race this year and his first career Grade I against an excellent field of multiple stakes winners. Sent away at 10-1, Moonshine Mullin, a Kentucky-bred bay, son of Albert the Great, stayed near the pace set by Jaguar Paw three wide in the early going before Borel took the lead down along the rail through three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.42.
Moonshine Mullin held a half-length advantage in the stretch and then repelled the charge of the third choice, Departing, and fought off the late run of 5-2 Will Take Charge, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up and 3-year-old champion, to prevail.
Spotting a Break-through Performance
The key to spotting a break-through performance is confidence - this is the key to greatness. Moonshine Mullin is a great example of a horse that clearly made a break-through at some point.
The former claiming ranks horse is now a millionaire and has put together five consecutive victories – his latest a Grade I. It is likely that Moonshine Mullin made his break-through race when his previous trainer ran him for the tag. The horse ran against lesser competition so he could easily win the race by his ability. The horse learned how to win. He got the adrenalin and positive energy from his jockey, trainer, groom, etc. and made the connection of his behavior with praise and reward, which is the basis on all animal training and communication.
In the racing world, the horse is taught a valuable experience, but often at the expense of the owners losing the horse in the claim. The system is frustrating for owners and trainers, but is designed for the protection of the betting public to prevent “sharking” the match-up.
Summer racing is always exciting as we get to see several new three-year-olds enter the scene. These horses were slow to mature or perhaps suffered a minor injury that may have prevented them from making the Road to the Derby/Oaks or Triple Crown series.
These are the “new recruits” and their talent is about to be tested for the first time. Older horses may be re-entering the scene after a freshening or perhaps a minor injury. In both scenarios, it is interesting to watch that horse make a break-through and learn to win.
It’s often observable as the horse returns to the winner’s circle and how the horse stands in the winning photo. You want to see the horse pose – ears forward, chest out, tailed arched. As the saddle is removed and they begin to return to the backside, keep watching as the horse walks away and see the position of its head, its interaction with its groom. Not unlike people, you can see the celebration.
With the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In" challenges upon us, sometimes break-through races occur at just the right time of the year to yield lucrative results for observers at the year-end Championships.
Attend the 2014 Breeders' Cup
The fields are still being discovered, but you can secure your spot in the stands! With Official Ticket Packages to the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championship, you can pair exclusive hospitality access, coveted amenities and VIP inclusions together for the experience of a lifetime throughout this two-day racing event!
Get more information today on how you can attend the 2014 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park by calling 1-866-834-8663 to speak to a representative or by visiting QuintEvents website.
Be there LIVE to see the 13 World Champions crowned!