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The most prestigious event in US horse racing is less than one month away. And with the preliminary qualification races for the Breeders’ Cup one showing away from its conclusion, let us look back at the standout entries who earned a “Win, and You’re In” placement from the weekends racing Keeneland and Belmont Park.

Distaff, Sunday (Keeneland)

This past Sunday held the $500,000 Grade I Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. It was continued success for Letruska, who’s already demonstrated that she’s a serious contender for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff before claiming her “Win and You’re In” spot this weekend.

Led into the winner’s circle under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., the 5-year-old mare ran a similar blueprint from her previous victory in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga Racecourse in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., swiftly reaching the front as the field ran into the first turn. Following a breather, after the far turn, she cruised home 1 ¾ lengths in front of Dunbar Road.

This victory became Letruska’s sixth win from her previous seven appearances, and trainer Fausto Gutierrez was delighted at the prospect of a Breeders’ Cup placement.

“She right now is one of the top contenders of the division,” Gutierrez said. “For her to win the ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup… What can I tell you? This is a strong year for this horse.”

Sprint, Friday (Keeneland)

On Friday, the Grade II Phoenix Stakes ($250,000) took place, and it was Special Reserve jolted ahead to look like a sure winner.

However, as the finish neared, a déjà vu moment occurred when he finished second at the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in Saratoga, ending a two-race win streak.

Despite this, Fortunes favoured Special Reserve, who managed to win with Aloha West attempting to steal the first-place position.

Trainer Mike Maker passed comment on the Breeders’ Cup Spring, saying, “That’s been the plan all along.”

Filly and Mare Sprint, Saturday (Keeneland)

Under the calm and collected jockey Corey Lanerie, Bell's the One finished a by a neck in the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland ($250,000).

Trained by Neil Pessin, Bells the One claimed her “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, a race where she finished third last year.

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Turf, Saturday (Belmont Park)

Both horses trained by Chad Brown finished in first and second place in Saturday’s Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic ($500,000) at Belmont Park.

In addition, both horses trained under Chad Brown held double-digit odds at Betonline Sportsbook. The race favourite Gufo held on for third, but Rockemperor and Serve the King continued a trend of unlikely first & second-place finishes over the weekend.

First place Rockemperor, a 5-year-old son of the Holy Roman Emperor, ran 1 ½ mile on firm turf under the reigns of Javier Castellano. The underdog position suited him well, as this became his second win in thirteen starts.

When questioned about his Breeders’ Cup plans, Brown said, “Both horses, you’d have to look at it. We’ll see how the figures come back, but I’m not going to make any decisions right now.”

Brown wasn’t finished there. During the Grade III Knickerbocker Stakes ($150,000) at Belmont on Sunday, his horse Sacred Life pulled from behind to win by a head against Field Pass.

Turf Mile, Saturday (Keeneland)

Upset after upset at Keeneland was concluded with another unlikely suspect when In Love owned the stretch to win the Grade I Keeneland Turf Mile ($750,000) by 1 ½ length versus another longshot in Tell Your Daddy.

Last year, trainer Paolo Lobo trained Ivar, who won the Keeneland Mile in 2020 and finished in fourth on Saturday; he believes both horses are serious contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Blowout finally broke her lead-and-surrender curse by winning Saturday’s Grade I First Lady ($400,000) at Keeneland. The 5-year-old British-bred Dansili mare successfully ran by ½ length over Regal Glory in second.

Both horses are owned by Peter Brant and trained by – you guessed it, the turf connoisseur Chad Brown.

The Grade I First Lady race did offer up a “Win and You’re In” for the Filly & Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup; however, the 1 3/8 mile race is unlikely to see a winner from any of the top finishers from the First Lady.

Juvenile, Saturday (Keeneland)

Rattle N Roll was a standout performer during this Saturday’s Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity ($500,000), winning by 4 ¼ lengths.

With that said, trainer Kenny McPeek is unsure in utilizing his “Win, and You’re In” ticket, saying, “I am not going to commit yet. My first instinct is to wait for the Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov.27. The Breeders’ Cup is an ‘away game’, and I know he likes Churchill a lot.”

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With that said, trainer Kenny McPeek is unsure in utilizing his “Win, and You’re In” ticket, saying, “I am not going to commit yet. My first instinct is to wait for the Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov.27. The Breeders’ Cup is an ‘away game’, and I know he likes Churchill a lot.”

Notable Mentions from Belmont & Keeneland

  • Sprint – Following Sea lead the pack finishing with a 4 ¾ length lead ($250,000 Grade II Vosburg) (Belmont Park)
  • Turf Sprint – Golden Pal, dominated and finished with a 2 ¼ length lead ($250,000 Grade II Woodford) (Keeneland)
  • Juvenile Fillies - Juju’s Map took the lead and finished with 4 ¼ lengths to spare ($400,000 Grade I Alcibiades) (Keeneland)
  • Juvenile Turf – Tiz the Bomb finished with a ¾ length lead ($200,000 Grade II Castle & Key Bourbon) (Keeneland)
  • Juvenile Fillies Turf – Battle Rock finished with a ½ length lead ($150,000 Grade III Matron) (Belmont Park)
  • Juvenile Turf Sprint – Avery Jane finished an effortless race with a 3 length win ($200,000 Indian Summer Stakes) (Keeneland)

You can find more interesting articles in our section on Horse Racing.

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