California Chrome in Classic leads 185 Entries at Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup is less than 10 days away at Santa Anita Park, and a total of 185 horses have been pre-entered for next Friday and Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic drew 14 runners led by 2014 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year California Chrome. The world’s highest-rated racehorse leads a star-studded and most competitive Classic cast including 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Metropolitan Handicap winner Frosted, record-breaking Travers Stakes winning Arrogate and defending Breeders’ Cup Turf champion Found.
“After what we went through last year with [2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner] American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), I thought it was going to be a long time between drinks until I get another horse of that caliber, and then Arrogate comes along,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said of his sophomore colt on a Breeders’ Cup pre-entry teleconference Wednesday. “This is probably one of the strongest Breeders’ Cup years I’ve seen.”
With Arrogate viewed by many as California Chrome’s most likely foil, Art Sherman, trainer of the latter, noted, “When you’re in a race with ‘Chrome,’ you have to outrun him. People always ask me, ‘Who are you afraid of?’ And I would say, let’s ask the other trainers who they are afraid of…He’s just been unbelievably good this year, and until you beat him, he’s number one in the world.”
A combined 81 Grade I or Group 1 winners have been pre-entered for the 13-race event, which offers combined purses of $28 million. Among those runners are 38 from overseas, and 45 winners of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. Irish-based conditioner Aidan O’Brien has the most pre-entries with 13–headlined by Found–while the Coolmore partners have 14 runners pre-entered. Seven races are oversubscribed.
“It’s a bit [of an] unknown that [Found] hasn’t raced on the dirt before,” O’Brien said of his Classic hopeful. “Galileo ran well in the Classic himself on dirt after a long, grueling season as a 3-year-old. Anything is possible with Galileos…Found is an incredible mare.”
Other past winners of Breeders’ Cup races back in 2016 include superstar turf miler mare Tepin in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, unbeaten 3-year-old filly, champion Songbird and three-time champion and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“We are once again privileged to host the all-stars of Thoroughbred racing and are very pleased with the overall strength of our pre-entered fields from Europe, Asia and North and South America,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “It is a tribute to the Breeders’ Cup and we are looking forward to watching stars like California Chrome, Found, Tepin, Songbird and Beholder.”
The Breeders’ Cup is Nov. 4-5 and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network and NBC. Classic coverage will take place during NBC’s Saturday broadcast from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. Post time for the 10-furlong race is 8:35 p.m. ET.