The Week That Was: 9/16/23-9/22/23

Weekly Highlight: 2023 Breeders’ Cup Turf & Filly/Mare Turf

It is now just a little over a month until October 30, when the best of the best that Final Furlong has to offer will come together for the annual Breeders’ Cup series. With the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational and Flower Bowl Invitational having been run yesterday, how better to start looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup than to see what might be in store for the BC Turf and Filly & Mare Turf.

The BC Turf is a 12f trek for colts and stallions three years and older. Last year’s winner, Littlefield-owned GCh. Flames of Passion (ICh. Ring of Fire - Planet Hollywood), does not currently show up on the list of qualifiers, though he did win the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic in March. Second-place finisher, Ch. Royal Sacred One (GCh. Tottenham Hotspur - ICh. Worth The Wait), owned by Sakura Springs, sits at #9 on the list of qualifiers.

#1 on the list of this year’s qualifiers is Ch. Final Scene (NCh. Clockstopper - GCh. Simply Heroic), owned by Sakura Springs. The four-year-old stallion has two stakes wins under his belt this year - the 10f G2 Turnbull Stakes and the 11f G1 Man O’War Stakes - and a second-place finish in the 10f ungraded West Point Stakes.

Second on the list is Ch. Quote (ICh. Quarren - Affirmed), a three-year-old cold bred and owned by Generous Bloodstock. Of four stakes races this year, he has won two: the 12f G1 Epsom Derby Stakes and the 14f G1 St. Leger Stakes. As of the writing of this post, he has 4 wins in 6 starts to his name and is registered to race in the 12f G3 N.E. Manion Quality Cup.

Third on the list of qualifiers is Sakura Springs-owned five-year-old Ch. Arctic Expedition (ICh. Witness - Northern Slew). Of four stakes races this year, he has won two - the 11.5f G1 Sword Dancer Invitational and the 12f G1 Turf Classic Invitational - and has been in the top three all four times.

Other qualifiers for the BC Turf include a large selection of G1 winners such as Generous Bloodstock’s Ch. Break The Rules (ICh. Blue Smoke - Who Says), winner of the Irish St. Leger; Littlefield’s Ch. Big Bad Billy (WCh. I’m Your Angel - ICh. Alley Cat), winner of the Victoria Derby, and stablemate GCh. Hollywood Knight (FFCh. TakeMeToHollywood), winner of the Singapore Airlines International Cup; Breeders’ Stakes winner, Ch. Power The Passion (WCh. Gotta Go - Highland Rogue), owned by Lochiedo Stables; Krajina’s GCh. Saturn’s Rings (ICh. Ring of Fire - Affirmed), winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes; and Black Storm West’s RC Bee lease, Knight Enchanter (NCh. Eighteen Karat - Highland Pride), who won the Coronation Cup.

The BC Filly & Mare Turf is just a bit shorter than its male equivalent, sitting at 10f. Last year’s winner, Ch. Marchioness (WCh. I’m Your Angel - GCh. High On Love), who is owned by Black Storm West, has not won any stakes races so far this year but did win an allowance and placed second in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic behind Ch. Flames of Passion, placing her at #8 on the current list of qualifiers. Second-place finisher, Ch. Live Another Day (ICh. To Die For - Ch. Irish River), who is owned by Semiahmoo Stables, has not raced since December of 2022.

The top qualifier for the Filly & Mare Turf so far is Gintara Lodge’s six-year-old Ch. Final Hope (ICh. Dr. Evil - NCh. I’m A Classic), who is two for two this season, having won both the G2 Black Stakes in April (where she broke a speed record on 12.5f turf) and the G3 Bunbury Cup in August. She set a speed record on 13f turf in 2021, so distance is definitely her specialty.

The second qualifier is three-year-old Generous Bloodstock filly, Ch. Quaint (ICh. Quarren - Rainbow Quest), who won the G1 Epsom Oaks Stakes in June and placed second in the St. Leger Stakes behind BC Turf #2 qualifier, Ch. Quote.

Other qualifiers include Sakura Springs-owned Ch. Dread Pirate (WCh. As You Wish - Mr. Prospector), who has won three stakes races this year but qualified with her win in the ungraded West Point Stakes ahead of stablemate and BC Turf #1 qualifier, Ch. Final Scene; Queen Gorgo (NCh. Lord Nelson - Created), owned by Krajina, who won the G1 Crown Oaks; Stillwater Farms three-year-old, Ch. Can’t Keep Me (WCh. Usain Bolt - FFCh. Foolhardy), winner of the G3 American Oaks; and Ch. Drums of Heaven (WCh. Drum Major - Crimson Lad), owned by Marshall Creek Ranch, who won the G2 San Marcos Stakes.

Stables have another month before supplemental nominations close.

Stakes Report

There were 14 stakes races run this week, including six G1s.


Wednesday’s races started out slow and steady with the G3 Pucker Up Stakes. Pruchna’s three-year-old Stars Lady (Sea the Stars - WCh. All Jazzed Up) battled it out for first against Gant’s Farm Ch. Kolko (Frankel - Danzig), running neck and neck with the Frankel filly until the last furlong, where Stars Lady managed a win by ¼ length.

Lipstickandmalice (FFCh. Foolhardy - Lonesome Glory), the two-year-old Black Storm West-owned filly who placed second in the Kentucky Breeders’ Cup behind Cricket Hill colt Ch. Spin Spin Spin in May and who ran first in the G3 Debutante Stakes in July, claimed her first G1 win in the Matron Stakes ¼ length ahead of G1 Spinaway Stakes winner, Ch. Personal Space (ICh. Belanso - Created), owned by Rainee Thoroughbreds. With this win, the Foolhardy filly officially earned her champion title and sits at #1 on the list of qualifiers for the BC Juvenile Fillies, just behind Lochiedo Stables’ Ch. Abba River (WCh. All Jazzed Up - What’s It Worth) and just head of Gant’s Farm stakes winner Gotta Fight (WCh. Gotta Go - WCh. Nightfight).

AllegroThoroughbreds colt Fierce Light (WCh. Sponsored - A.P. Indy) followed this trend, officially earning the title of champion with his first G1 win (and stakes win) in the Futurity Stakes, running 2 ¼ lengths over #4 BC Juvenile qualifier, Ch. Subzero Angel (WCh. I’m Your Angel - Lit de Justice), owned by Darkwood Stables.

Multi-stakes winning three-year-old Ch. Auctioneer (GCh. Edinburgh - Highland Pride), owned by Rainee Thoroughbreds, achieved his fourth stakes win Wednesday in the G2 Jamaica Stakes, finishing by a nose over Tall Oaks Estate’s multi-stakes winning Ch. Zany Fight (ICh. Prince Of Wonder - Easy Goer).

Seven-year-old mare Ch. Rio de la Plata (GCh. Latino Mix - Crimson Lad), owned by Marshall Creek Ranch, won the G2 steeplechase Townsend Mischief Stakes by a nose over Coleman Branch seven-year-old GCh. Inevitable (ICh. Gilded Saint - Created), claiming her first stakes win.

Gant’s Farm three-year-old Pimpinelaescarlata (WCh. Brigade - Created) won first in the G3 Haydon Guineas by 2 ½ lengths head of stablemate Noblesse Oblige (Animal Kingdom - Created), earning his champion title.

Four-year-old Flashy Side (ICh. Dark Continent - Dr. Love), bred and owned by Marshall Creek Ranch, ran first in the G3 Star Kingdom Stakes, beating seven-year-old Gintara Lodge Ch. Meet Your Maker (ICh. Take Me Away - Lonesome Glory) by ¾ of a length and securing both her first stakes win and a speed record of just under 32 seconds on 5.5f.

The last race of the day was the G1 Rosehill Guineas, won by Black Storm West three-year-old Ch. High South (NCh. Silver Wizard - Bold Ruler), who finished ¾ of a length ahead of Gant’s Farm Ch. Pormpuraaw (NCh. Carrowmore - GCh. Worth My While).


Saturday’s stakes races kicked off with the ungraded dirt Schenactady. Marshall Creek five-year-old, Ch. Dark Gambler (ICh. Candidate - GCh. Akhetnaten), led the way down the course, setting a speed record and finishing 6 ½ lengths ahead of Sakura Springs mare, Ch. Lucky View (NCh. Lucky Streak - NCh. Sneak Peek). Stablemate Ch. Highland Princess, winner of last month’s G1 Ballerina Stakes, came up fourth.

The G1 Turf Classic Invitational saw a fierce battle for first. Five-year-old Ch. Arctic Expedition (ICh. Witness - Northern Slew), owned by Sakura Springs, led the way for the first six furlongs, momentarily dropping back to seventh place at the tenth furlong before rallying in the home stretch, finishing 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Littlefield’s four-year-old Ch. Creature Kingdom (Animal Kingdom - Created).

Say Anything (NCh. Hidden Destiny - Sunday Silence), a five-year-old Marshall Creek mare, set a speed record when she won the G1 turf Flower Bowl Invitational, winning by 2 ¼ lengths ahead of stablemate Ch. Tangled (NCh. Changeling - NCh. Highland Wizard).

Gintara Lodge five-year-old, Ch. Fernandez (Frankel - NCh. Lucky Cigar), ran first in the G1 turf George Ryder Stakes, finishing 2 ½ lengths over Cricket Hill’s four-year-old Ch. Polychrome (ICh. Demand the Best - A.P. Indy).

The G2 turf for two-year-old fillies, the Magic Night Stakes, saw strong competition from start to finish, with Gintara Lodge’s Aussie Icon (NCh. Highland Burning - Created) claiming first by just a head in front of Black Storm West’s Lapageria (NCh. Worthy Victor - Bold Ruler). All of the first five finishers came in by either a head, neck, or nose in front of those behind them. Aussie Icon remains unbeaten in three starts.

It was a photo finish in the last race of the day, the G2 turf Pago Pago Stakes for two-year-old colts. Generous Bloodstock colt, Ellis Island (ICh. Quarren - NCh. Diplomat), crossed the finish line just a nose ahead of Cricket Hill’s multi-stakes winning Ch. Fiddler’s Green (FFCh. Foolhardy - A.P. Indy), claiming his first stakes win.

Top 10

(Note: The Top 10 is still “under construction” as I expand my database of stakes winners for the 2023 racing year. The “Top 10” horses have been pulled from a current list of 177 stakes winners. Missing a name you think should be here? Leave it in the comments and I’ll look it up. Thanks!)

Horse Name (Birth Year) - Owner - Stakes Wins - G1 Wins - Points - Earnings

  1. NCh. Ancient Ghost (2020) - Pruchna - 11 - 8 - 483 - $2,915,000
  2. NCh. Fool To Be Smokin’ (2018) - Starfish Stables - 2 - 2 - 112 - $8,270,000
  3. GCh. Brief Scene (2020) - Lochiedo Stables - 6 - 1 - 327 - $689,500
  4. GCh. Melander Stevens (2020) - Gant’s Farm - 6 - 0 - 335 - $1,165,000
  5. Ch. Auctioneer (2020) - Rainee Thoroughbreds - 4 - 2 - 220 - $1,033,000
  6. GCh. Wild Fool (2020) - Darkwood Stables - 3 - 2 - 171 - $1,988,500
  7. Ch. Kirsch (2020) - Generous Bloodstock - 3 - 2 - 198 - $1,047,000
  8. Ch. High South (2020) - Black Storm West - 3 - 2 - 178 - $1,190,000
  9. GCh. Fading Colours (2020) - Stillwater Farms - 3 - 2 - 167 - $1,069,000
  10. Ch. Fiddler’s Green (2021) - Cricket Hill - 3 - 2 - 157 - $483,000

IRL In the News

  • As the racing world looks forward to the upcoming Breeders’ Cup, it was announced Monday that trainer Phil D’Amato has plans for the BC for two of his California-bred trainees. Acclimate, winner of the G2 Del Mar Handicap, will be aimed at the BC Turf, while D’Amato has sights set on the BC Mile for the G2 Del Mar Mile winner, Prince Earl. If they were to win, Acclimate and Prince Earl would both become the first California-bred horses to win those BC races.
  • Maximum Security, the three-year-old colt who won both the G1 Haskell Invitational and G1 Florida Derby, was rushed to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, NJ, shortly after his morning workout on Monday after caretakers began noticing some odd behavior in the colt. The diagnosis — a large colon nephrosplenic entrapment, which is a type of colic — was announced on Tuesday. Though not career-threatening, the decision was quickly made to scratch him from this weekend’s Pennsylvania Derby. Entry of Maximum Security into the Breeders’ Cup will be dependent upon the recovery process.
  • Four-year-old gelding Zeke had to be euthanized at Santa Anita Park on Monday after an issue during training — revealed to be a pelvic fracture — was discovered, making this the second training track death at Santa Anita this year, and the 31st to occur at Santa Anita in general since Dec. 26. Despite concerns of the general public, the Stronach Group, owners of Santa Anita, have released a statement assuring that an investigation is being made into the origin of Zeke’s injury to ensure the highest level of safety possible for all horses remaining at the track.
  • The Illinois Racing Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to delay awarding race dates to Arlington Park, owned by Churchill Downs Inc., after it was announced that CDI would not be applying for a gaming license for the track. Thomas McCauley, Illinois Racing Board Commissioner, has said that the delay will determine “whether (CDI) really wants to…jeopardize its racing license…”
  • Saturday saw a huge upset at the Parx race track when 31-1 longshot, Math Wizard, claimed victory in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby. Math Wizard, a $25,000 claim ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., beat out second-choice Mr. Money, Preakness winner War of Will, and 6-5 favorite Improbable.
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Once again this is absolutely fantastic! Loved reading it. Thanks so much for putting it together!

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Agreed, I’m really enjoying these.

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Very interesting, thanks for writing this!

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A great read, Thanks

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Great stuff, really enjoyed reading

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That is fantastic :ok_hand:

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