When Breeders’ Cup put the “World Championships” in their name, they weren’t lying. Every year, horses from around the world flock to the host track to take their shot at taking home the trophy in their respective races.
As always, there are some Breeders’ Cup regulars and many new faces to North America coming via turbo jet airliner from Europe and Japan, with this year’s group including a Breeders’ Cup Mile winner from a couple of years ago and multiple horses who hit the board in other Breeders’ Cup races.
If you can’t make it to Keeneland for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup, have no fear – on Friday, it will be airing from 2-6 p.m. ET on USA Network. On Saturday coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET on USA Network before flipping over to NBC at 3:30 p.m. FanDuel TV will also show 13 of the 14 World Championship races.
Read on for profiles of some of the leading foreign contenders in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
When Silver Knott loads into the gate in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, he’ll be attempting to become trainer Charlie Appleby’s fourth winner of the race and third in the last five years. The 2-year-old is coming into the race after winning the Grade 3 Emirates Autumn Stakes in early October at Newmarket Racecourse in England, and he’s won three of his five career starts. His only bad performance came when he finished last of three two starts ago on a soft turf course, something he very likely won’t be facing at Keeneland.
It took Victoria Road five starts to break his maiden, but he came into his own in August and has won two more races since that victory. Showing he’s a tough horse, Victoria Road scored his first win nine days after his previous race, and then 10 days after his breakthrough he won a stakes race in France. That stakes win Aug. 20 at Deauville came against the filly Blue Rose Cen, who subsequently won a Group 1 by five lengths in France a little over a month later. Victoria Road is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race four times and has amassed 13 Breeders’ Cup wins overall – fourth most of any trainer.
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Basil Martini pulled off the hard feat of securing her first win in a stakes race last month in the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. It was the fifth start for the filly but she’d shown talent before then, finishing second in three of her prior four races. Those seconds included a nose loss just one start before her stakes victory. The filly is trained by Joseph O’Brien, who became the youngest trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race when he took the Filly and Mare Turf with Iridessa at age 26 in 2019. That occurred eight years after an 18-year-old O’Brien became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup race aboard St Nicholas Abbey in the 2011 Turf.
St Nicholas Abbey was trained by Joseph O’Brien’s father, Aidan, who sends out Meditate in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Meditate won her first four races, including the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the No Nay Never filly comes into this race off of two second-place finishes in Group 1 races. Aidan O’Brien has never won the Juvenile Fillies Turf, though four of his 15 starters have hit the board.
The undefeated Midnight Mile has raced only twice, but she’s won both of them, most recently taking the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes by a nose on Oct. 7. The filly has Breeders’ Cup form on both sides of her pedigree as her sire, No Nay Never, was defeated in the closing strides of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and her dam (mother) is a half-sister (same sire [father], different dam [mother]) to Yesterday, who finished third in the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf.
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Group 2 winner Dramatised comes into the race off a layoff after finishing fifth of 13 in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes. The filly will be making her fourth career start here, and her first two wins came by open lengths, starting with her debut in late April and then an impressive victory in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. If Dramatised wins the Juvenile Turf Sprint, she’ll give trainer Karl Burke his first Breeders’ Cup win as his third starter. He’s had tough luck so far, as his first two starters both finished in the bottom three of their respective races.
Lady Hollywood has already given young trainer Alice Haynes a milestone victory with her win in September’s Group 3 Prix d’Arenberg, as it marked the first graded/group stakes win of Haynes’ career. That victory was was the fourth career win in seven starts for Lady Hollywood, a Havana Grey filly. Lady Hollywood also won an ungraded stakes in Ireland over the summer as well.
Likely one of the most anticipated runners at this year’s Breeders’ Cup, The Platinum Queen comes into the Juvenile Turf Sprint after making history as the first juvenile winner of the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp since 1978. Why is that a big deal, you ask? Because the 2-year-old filly competed against, and defeated, a field of older horses – most of them 4 years old or older. That’s something you don’t see too often in horse racing.
It was The Platinum Queen’s second run against her elders this year, with the Richard Fahey trainee also finishing second against Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint contender Highfield Princess in August’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes. She’ll be the fifth Breeders’ Cup starter for Fahey, who finished third with Birchwood in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland in 2015.
$4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf
Last year, Broome nearly won the Longines Turf when he finished second by a half-length to Yibir and he’s looking to go one better in his return start. The 6-year-old Broome has been a consistent member of Aidan O’Brien’s stable since 2018, as he’s won six graded/group stakes – including a Group 1 – and also finished second in six others. This year he has one win from six starts – the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Notably, he finished second in that race last year and has followed a similar campaign in 2022.
Mishriff will be making his swan song appearance in the Longines Turf, wrapping up a career that has seen him win lucrative races on the dirt (the Saudi Cup in 2021) and turf (three Group 1s) while earning more than $15.8 million. While Mishriff has raced in five different countries, he’ll be making his first (and last) start in North America Saturday as he attempts to give trainer John Gosden his second win in the Longines Turf, following superstar mare Enable’s victory in 2018.
Did you know Nations Pride won two legs of a United States Triple Crown? It wasn’t the Triple Crown that most people know of, but the colt did spend the summer competing in New York’s Turf Triple Crown. He finished second in the Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes in July before winning both the Grade 1 Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes and the Grade 3 Caesars Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes in August and September. The Teofilo colt won four of six starts overseas, including a stakes race in England, before shipping to the U.S. in the summer. If Nations Pride can win or run well in the Turf, he’ll have a big chance at taking home the Eclipse Award as champion turf male honors for 2022.
$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF
This year’s Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp winner, Dreamloper is looking to follow in the footsteps of three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Goldikova by winning both prestigious races in the same year. Goldikova pulled off the double in 2008, which marked the first of her three consecutive wins in the Mile. In the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Dreamloper beat 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order of Australia by 5 ½ lengths (see below). While the 5-year-old mare had a tough summer with two off-the-board finishes, overall she’s has won three of five starts in 2022, including two Group 1 wins and and a Group 2 win.
Modern Games will attempt on Saturday to become the seventh horse to win two different Breeders’ Cup races. Last year, Modern Games won the one-mile Juvenile Turf by an easy 1 ½ lengths, and overall the Charlie Appleby trainee has amassed six wins in 12 starts with 10 on-the-board finishes. He’s won two Grade/Group 1 stakes held at a mile this year, and it won’t be a surprise if Modern Games goes off as favorite when the gates opens Saturday.
Although he’s based in Ireland, Order of Australia is very familiar with the Keeneland turf. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the 5-year-old scored the biggest win of his career here with a victory in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at odds of 73.20-1, and he came back to Keeneland in both 2021 and 2022. Last year, Order of Australia finished off the board in his Keeneland start – but four weeks ago, he was a close third in the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile Stakes, which convinced his connections to send him back for the Breeders’ Cup. Overall, Order Of Australia has won five of his 21 starts, but he’s been consistent this year, posting four top-three finishes in six starts.
$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
In 2015, American Pharoah won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. This year, Above the Curve looks to become American Pharoah’s second Breeders’ Cup winner as a sire in the Filly and Mare Turf — Four Wheel Drive won the Juvenile Turf Speint in 2019. Above the Curve has proven she deserves to be in the Breeders’ Cup, having scored a Group 1 win in May and more recently winning a Group 2 stakes and finishing a close third in a Group 1 after taking the summer off. That third-place effort came in the prestigious Prix de l’Opera Longines at Longchamp on Oct. 1, which she lost by only three quarters of a length.
Finishing a nose ahead of Above The Curve in the Prix de l’Opera was Nashwa. Nashwa has proven to be one of the best 3-year-old fillies – if not the best – in Europe this year, posting a win in the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks) in France in June and then a win against her elders in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in England the following month. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Nashwa took just over two months off between her win in the Nassau and her run in the Prix de l’Opera, and she’ll be a serious threat in the Filly and Mare Turf.
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
A year after finishing fourth in the 2021 Turf Sprint, fan favorite Emaraaty Ana is back for another attempt. The 6-year-old struggled earlier this year, starting off by posting four off-the-board finishes in his first four races. He’s shown improvement in his last two tries, however, finishing third and then second in Group 1 races. Fellow Turf Sprint contender Highfield Princess (see below) won the first of those. While Emaraaty Ana doesn’t always win, when the gelding is on his game you can usually count on him to hit the board – he’s finished in the top three in 14 of his 26 starts.
After finishing second by just half a length in last year’s Juvenile Turf Sprint, Go Bears Go returns to the U.S. for the Turf Sprint this weekend. The Kodi Bear colt hasn’t been the most consistent horse this year, but he does have two wins and he finished only 1 ¼ lengths behind a top sprinter in Minzaal this summer. Plus, he showed last year that racing on firm turf that’s common to many U.S. racecourses suits him, so he’s a good longshot option to consider for across the board bets or to include in exactas and trifectas.
If anyone is going to challenge U.S.-based Golden Pal as that turf sprint sensation looks for his third Breeders’ Cup win, it’s likely going to be Highfield Princess. The 5-year-old mare started out 2022 with solid form – winning twice and finishing second once and third once in her first six starts – but she then emerged as a top-class sprinter, winning three straight Group 1 stakes since August. Highfield Princess is also a versatile sprinter; her wins this year have come at distances ranging from five to seven furlongs. She should have plenty of stamina to get the 5 ½-furlong distance of the Turf Sprint at Keeneland.
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
A year after Japan dominated the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, Chain of Love represents the land of the rising sun in the 2022 Filly and Mare Sprint. Chain of Love comes into this race off a win in her home country, and she’s proven to be a good traveler, finishing fourth by just 2 ¼ lengths in Dubai back in March. Chain of Love does only have three career victories in 22 starts, but two of those wins and three of her five other top-three finishes came over the past 12 months, so it’s safe to say she comes into the Filly and Mare Sprint in the best form of her career.