Road to 2019 Breeders’ Cup: Three Heating Up, Three Cooling Down for July 3
The path into the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2 is a street with loads of ups and downs as gifted racehorses vie for a place in among 14 championship races.
This site provides a capsule look at three horses that are heating up around the Road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and three horses whose Breeders’ Cup chances aren’t quite as powerful as they were a week or two ago. To kick off the 2019 Breeders’ Cup variant of Three Heating Up, Three Cooling Down, we take a look at the three weeks of races because the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (not including that weekend’s races).1. Mr. Money
I believe there is significant upside down with Mr. Money, who has won back rated stakes by open lengths after fighting on the Triple Crown course earlier this season. I loved his 5 1/4-length win in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile Presented by LG and E and KU on the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve undercard. Then he came back and won the 1??1/16-mile, Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths on June 15 and seems like a serious contender for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. As a 3-year-old, Mr. Money has room to improve and he probably will need to, coming from a career-best 106 Equibase Speed Figure to the Matt Winn. The average Equibase Speed Figure for the past Ten editions of this Dirt Mile is 119 with a median of 119.5, ranging from a 105 to get Dakota Phone in 2010 into some 133 for Battle of Midway at 2017. Mr. Money definitely would be helped, as could the rest of the Dirt Mile contenders, if budding celebrity Mitole targets the Sprint, but I believe Mr. Money is a 3-year-old who’s found a sweet place at races at or close to the shuttle space. He is getting better with each start for two-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Bret Calhoun.2. Dunbar Road
While the Equibase Speed Figures do not yet match the eye evaluation, I feel great about Dunbar Road’s opportunities to emerge as a rising star in the second half of 2019. The bay Quality Road filly narrowly missed out on the Longines Kentucky Oaks (she didn’t make it into the race off the also-eligible list) after running second in the Grade two Gulfstream Park Oaks. She won a May 30 allowance race at Belmont Park by 5 1/2 lengths and then followed with another dominant performance at the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes on June 29, pulling away in the stretch to a 2 1/2-span score. A slow tempo contributed to the 83 Equibase Speed Figure Dunbar Road made for your Mother Goose, but she submitted a 96 and a 92 in her past two starts and won the Mother Goose very easily. I think there’s a very good chance she’s the very best 3-year-old filly in training by the autumn and a contender for its Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.3. Searching for the Soul Seeking the Soul was grinding out one strong performance after a second for four seasons and earned his third graded stakes triumph on June 15 when he edged Quip with a neck to win the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes. The 6-year-old by Perfect Soul has finished in the top three in 20 of his 27 career starts. He ran second earlier this year in the 9 million Pegasus World Cup and finished second at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. With multiple elite runners retired to the breeding shed at the start of the year and several top 3-year-olds sidelined, the Breeders’ Cup Classic division is really wide open when his connections opt to target that race. Hunting the Spirit is unplaced in two tries at 1 1/4 miles or longer, but one of these was that the 2016 Belmont Stakes in his fourth start and another came in March when shipping across the globe for the Dubai World Cup, so I’m not sure they are indicative of his ability at the classic distance. He could point to the Dirt Mile, but the contest for this race might be tougher this season. Regardless of the target, Hunting the Spirit has proved capable of high performances against elite competition throughout his career.