Classic Showdown, Stateside Stars, International Intrigue Highlight 2019 Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entries

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Horses race through the stretch on Breeders’ Cup Friday in 2016 at Santa Anita Park, which will host the 2019 World Championships. (Eclipse Sportswire)

With the 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic shaping up as a showdown between older horse McKinzie and 3-year-old Code of Honor and division standouts like Midnight Bisou and Bricks and Mortar looking to make their case for Horse of the Year honors, 188 horses were pre-entered in this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The event, featuring five races for juveniles or juvenile fillies Friday, Nov. 1 and nine more races Saturday, Nov. 2, returns to Santa Anita Park for a record 10th time.

The total of 188 horses pre-entered in this year’s Breeders’ Cup is down 15% from last year, when 221 horses were pre-entered for the event at Churchill Downs, which, like this year’s schedule, offered 14 races.

The 188 horses pre-entered this year is similar in number to the previous two times the event was held in Southern California: 187 in 2017 at Del Mar and 185 in 2016 at Santa Anita, although both of those events had 13 races as opposed to the current 14.

This year’s event has drawn 47 pre-entries from horses based overseas, comparable with the 51 pre-entered last year.

Click here for complete pre-entries for 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships

On the track, there will be plenty of North American-based standout horses competing in races ahead of the Classic, which, as usual, will wrap up the action Saturday.

In the most recent NTRA Top 10 poll, the top four horses are runners who will be competing in races outside the Classic.

Topping that poll is Bricks and Mortar, who will try to close out a perfect season and secure a fifth Grade 1 win this year when he starts in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, which is listed as his first preference. (Bricks and Mortar also is pre-entered in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, second preference.) The Turf is shaping up as a showdown between Bricks and Mortar and four-time Group 1-winning filly and last year’s Turf runner-up Magical.

Midnight Bisou (Eclipse Sportswire)

Midnight Bisou, second in the poll off an undefeated season that has included three Grade 1 wins in her seven starts, is entered in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Perfect in three starts this year is Sistercharlie, who like Bricks and Mortar is trained by Chad Brown. Last year’s champion turf female Sistercharlie, who is ranked third in the NTRA poll, will try for a second straight victory in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Rounding out the poll’s top four is crack sprinter Mitole, who like Midnight Bisou is trained by Steve Asmussen. Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap winner Mitole will try to secure a fourth Grade 1 win this season in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Those stars will race ahead of the $6 million Classic at 1 1/4 miles where a pair of horses who registered big wins at Saratoga Race Course this year will meet for the first time in Whitney Stakes winner McKinzie, a 4-year-old son of Street Sense , and Runhappy Travers Stakes winner Code of Honor, a 3-year-old son of Noble Mission.

The 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships will feature 14 races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million. The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by NBCSN and NBC. The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be broadcast live Saturday, Nov. 2 at 8:44 p.m. ET on NBC.

Among the statistical highlights in this year’s pre-entries:

  • There are 50 individual horses pre-entered after qualifying for automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
  • Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered 17 horses, the most among trainers.
  • Partnerships associated with Coolmore lead all owners with 18 horses pre-entered.

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