The Breeders’ Cup is the prestigious annual end-of-season festival with the biggest stars from around the world involved. The Classic on the final day of the meeting is the featured race that is staged, but it is by no means the only lucrative race that takes place.
Fans from around the world will be glued to their television screens if they aren’t able to get to Del Mar for the November meeting at the end of this year, but which horses are the biggest star attractions to look out for?
The Breeders’ Cup Classic will see the best horses on turf compete, but there is one star involved that will get more attention than most. It has been an excellent three-year-old season for Essential Quality, as he has bounced back from a disappointing fourth in the Kentucky Derby to win his last three. Of course, his run in the race at Churchill Downs was far from convenient, as he was bumped throughout the early stages, but still stayed on to finish strong.
Since then, he has won the Belmont Stakes, and returned at the end of July with another impressive win in the Jim Dandy. His most recent win to date was in the Travers, as he once again showed that while he may not be as eye-catching when it comes to winning margins, he has the fight to do whatever is needed to get over the line first.
The Breeders’ Cup gives American fans an opportunity to see some of the finest horses from Europe up close and personal. One that all fans should be very excited about seeing is Palace Pier, who is regarded by many as the best horse in training over a mile in Europe. The four-year-old has once again shown his dominance on the track this season, winning all four races that he has been involved in.
His biggest success came at Royal Ascot, where he managed to hold on by a length and a half to win the Queen Anne Stakes. All sights are firmly on the Breeders’ Cup at the end of the year following his return in the middle of August, where he was involved in a thrilling battle against Poetic Flare. He was able to get to the line by a neck to win the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
There have been few more exciting horses in training in the United States this season than Malathaat. To her supporters, she is already regarded as a superstar, and those claims could be furthered with a huge win at the Breeders’ Cup later this year. It is still unknown where she could go, but the Distaff is a very likely option compared to the Classic.
Todd Pletcher trains this horse, and the three-year-old has a near-perfect record on the track, with her only defeat coming in a short field in the American Oaks at Saratoga, where she was beaten by a head by Maracuja.
However, she immediately responded to that with an emphatic display at the same track just a month later in the Alabama Stakes. She is a once-in-a-lifetime horse and has all the ability that is needed to win the Distaff.
It will be interesting to see what happens next season, and whether Pletcher feels the time is then right to take on the boys.
Still, nobody would be surprised to see her winning the most prestigious races regardless of the other horses that are involved. For more information, meet the Breeders’ Cup Contenders & Entries here.