Breeders’ Cup Horses With Virginia Ties – 2 Day Championship Weekend is Fri/Sat, Oct. 30/31

The annual Breeders’ Cup Championships will be held this Friday & Saturday, October 30 & 31 at Keeneland and there are 7 horses entered that have ties to Virginia! If you haven’t yet done so, open an on line betting account and wager all the action with any of our partners — TVG, XpressBet and Twin Spires. A piece of every dollar bet goes toward the purses Virginia horses compete for throughout the year.


Here is the “Cup” television broadcast schedule:

*Friday October 30 – NBC Sports Network from 3-6 PM
*Saturday October 31 – NBC Sports Network from 1-4 PM
*Saturday October 31 – NBC from 4-6 PM


Highland Sky, bred by Virginia Thoroughbred Association member and Manassas, VA resident Bonner Young, is a long shot at 30-1 in the $2,000,000 Juvenile Turf, which will go to post Friday at 3:30 PM. This “Cup” race is the first of 13 which will be contested over the two days. Out of Kristi With a K, a grade 3 placed mare bred and raced by Young, the 2 year old daughter of Sky Mesa has only two life starts — a win at Saratoga Labor Day weekend and a fourth most recently in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont September 26th. She was bred and raised in Kentucky. Cornelio Velasquez will ride for trainer Barclay Tagg. 


Wicked Strong is 5-1 in the $1,000,000 Las Vegas Dirt Mile, which is scheduled for Friday at 4:10 PM, and can be seen on the NBC Sports Network. The 4 year old is by Hard Spun out of Mayne Abbey, by Charismatic. Owned by a Centennial Farms Partnership that includes Maggie Bryant, Wicked Strong received his early training from Paula Parsons at Centennial’s facility in Middleburg. He beat 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in the 2014 Jim Dandy Stakes (Gr. II) at Saratoga. John Velazquez will ride Friday for trainer James Jerkens. In 18 career starts, Wicked Strong has 3 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds, good for $1,934,460 in earnings. 


Virginia-bred Valid is 10-1 in the Dirt Mile. A 5 year old son of Medaglia d’Oro, Valid was a $500,000 yearling from the next to last crop of Ned Evans’s homebreds. He is out of the Grand Slam mare Grand Prayer. This year, Valid won the Grade III Iselin Stakes August 30th at Monmouth (shown above – photo courtesy of Bill Denver)and the Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream February 7th. From 31 career outs, he has 10 wins, 7 runner-up finishes and 6 thirds. Nick Juarez will ride Friday for trainer Marcus Vitali.


Red Vine, at 6-1, will challenge the above duo in the Dirt Mile. The 4 year old son of Candy Ride was purchased by Virginia Equine Alliance President Debbie Easter at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Florida two year old sale for Californian’s Jon and Sarah Kelly, and is coming into the race fresh off a pair of nice efforts. He was third in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 22nd and was a solid second in the Grade II Kelso Handicap at Belmont prior. Joel Rosario will be in the irons for trainer Christophe Clement. The consistent Red Vine has bankrolled $565,715 from 17 “in the money” finishes in 19 starts.

Hronis Racing's Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade I $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks Saturday, April 4, 2015 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.   ©Benoit Photo

Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade I $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks Saturday, April 4, 2015 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.
©Benoit Photo


Virginia-bred Stellar Wind will compete in the $2,000,000 Longines Distaff, which highlights the card Friday at 5:35 PM. The 3-year-old daughter of Curlin is 12-1 early and competes in a large field of 14 — Curlin of course was the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. Stellar Wind was bred by Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, and is out of the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star. She was sold as a yearling for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton fall auction in Maryland. Two months later, she was resold to Barbara Houck for $86,000. After breaking her maiden impressively at Laurel Park, she was sold privately by Houck and trainer Donald Barr to current owner Kosta Hronis. After winning the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks (Gr. I) this spring, Stellar Wind was the favorite in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, but ended up finishing fourth. Since, she has added another pair of graded stakes wins to her resume. Victor Espinosa will ride for trainer John Sadler.


The stellar Breeders’ Cup $5,000,000 Classic field is the showcase of Saturday’s card and ten elite horses will go to post at 5:35 PM. Two of the entrants have Virginia ties and both are early co-third choices at 6-1. Tonalist, the 2014 Belmont Stakes winner, was bred in Kentucky by Lauren & Rene Woolcott but raised at their Woodslane Farm in The Plains. The 4 year old son of Tapit, who has bankrolled $3.1 million from only 14 starts, will be ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Christophe Clement. Tonalist has earned $1,145,000 this year alone. He is shown above winning the 2014 Jim Dandy Stakes (photo courtesy of Chelsea Durand)


Honor Code (shown below, photo courtesy of Kenny Martin), winner of the 2015 Grade I Whitney Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap, will get the services of jockey Javier Castellano A son of A.P. Indy, Honor Code has earned over $2 million in his career and has finished in the top three in 9 of his 10 career outs. Honor Code was bed by the Dell Ridge Farm,which also co-owns the horse with Lane’s End Racing. Sarge Reynolds, who is the Virginia Racing Commission Chairman, is a partner in Lane’s End Racing.


The star studded “Classic” field includes 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, 5-year-old mare Beholder who beat the boys in the Pacific Classic, and Travers winner Keen Ice among others.