The last time Churchill Downs hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2011, Court Vision stunned Goldikova in the Mile and Drosselmeyer and jockey Mike Smith rallied from “out of the clouds” to win the Classic.
Seven years later, horse racing’s world championships are returning to Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3. A total of 14 Breeders’ Cup races worth $30 million in purses are scheduled for the two days, with five juvenile races Nov. 2 and the other nine Nov. 3.
Pre-entries for all 14 races will be announced at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday during a livestream at breederscup.com. Horses may pre-enter up to two races.
The post-position draw is set for 4-6 p.m Oct. 29 at the Louisville International Convention Center.
Here are five storylines to follow for the Breeders’ Cup:
Can Accelerate win the Classic and make a case for Horse of the Year?
When Justify claimed the Triple Crown back in June, it was hard to imagine any competitor challenging him for Horse of the Year honors.
But Justify ultimately was retired after winning the Belmont and has been off the racing scene for 4 ½ months.
Meanwhile, the John Sadler-trained Accelerate has enjoyed a stellar 5-year-old season, winning four Grade 1 races and establishing himself as the favorite for the $6 million Classic. If he wins that race, Accelerate could at least make a case against Justify for Horse of the Year.
You may like: List of contenders for Breeders’ Cup Classic
“If he wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic, I believe he should be Horse of the Year, but I’m biased,” Sadler said. “We’ll worry about that afterwards. My job is to keep him good, and right now he’s looking excellent.”
What race will Mind Your Biscuits choose?
Trainer Chad Summers announced Saturday that Mind Your Biscuits will be pre-entered in both the Classic (first preference) and Dirt Mile (second preference).
A sprinter for most of his career, the 5-year-old Mind Your Biscuits stretched out to win the 1 ⅛-mile Lukas Classic on Sept. 29 at Churchill Downs.
Mind Your Biscuits was third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint behind Roy H and Imperial Hint.
“We’re just keeping our options open as we have been all year,” Summers said. “We saw in the Lukas Classic he can stretch out and go long. We’ll just see what happens.”
Could the Distaff be the best race of the weekend?
While the Classic will garner most of the attention, the Distaff might have the deepest field of all the Breeders’ Cup races.
Top contenders include 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl, 2017 Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman, 2018 Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Midnight Bisou and Grade 1 Spinster winner Blue Prize.
Read this: List of contenders for Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Louisville native Brad Cox is the trainer of Monomoy Girl, who was disqualified from first to second behind Midnight Bisou in her last start Sept. 22 in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx Racing.
Who will be the early favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby?
The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile traditionally assumes the tag of “Early Kentucky Derby Favorite,” but that might not be the case this year.
Two of the nation’s top 2-year-olds will not compete in the Juvenile, as the Bob Baffert-trained Roadster and the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Instagrand are both taking breaks.
Still, the Juvenile looks to have plenty of firepower with Baffert’s undefeated Game Winner and the Chad Brown-trained Complexity among the leaders.
When will the Breeders’ Cup return to Churchill Downs?
Churchill will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the ninth time, tying Santa Anita Park for the most since the event began in 1984.
The next three Breeders’ Cup sites already have been chosen – Santa Anita in 2019, Keeneland in 2020 and Del Mar in 2021.
Look for Churchill Downs to be back in the mix when sites are selected for 2022 and beyond.
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; email@example.com; Twitter: @kyhighs. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/jasonf.