NEW YORK (Sept. 5, 2019) – Led by A Thread of Blue and Henley’s Joy, a field of nine 3-year-olds has been entered for the brand new “Win and You’re In” $1 million Jockey Club Derby, which anchors an outstanding program of turf racing at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., live this Saturday, Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Saturday’s 90-minute show marks the seventh of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In Series – Presented by America’s Best Racing” on NBC and NBCSN from some of America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2 on NBC and NBCSN. Complete series TV schedule can be accessed here: http://www.breederscup.com/challenge-series Saturday’s broadcast also will include the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies, on the Belmont Park turf course, and the $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint from Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Kentucky, featuring two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal.
NBC Sports’ coverage of the Jockey Club Derby will feature commentary and discussion led by Ahmed Fareed, Eddie Olczyk, Kenny Rice, Britney Eurton and Matt Bernier.
The winner of the 1 ½ mile Jockey Club Derby, which includes horses from Great Britain, France and Canada, as well as the United States, will earn an automatic berth into the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The Jockey Club Derby is also the third leg of Belmont’s “Turf Trinity” for 3-year-olds. Henley’s Joy, trained by Mike Maker for Bloom Racing Stable, won the first leg of the series, the Belmont Derby (G1) on July 6, and Leonard Green’s A Thread of Blue, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Jose Lezcano, won the second leg, the Saratoga Derby Invitational at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 4.
Henley’s Joy captured the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Derby by three-quarters of a length at odds of 20-1 for his first victory of the year, but in the Saratoga Derby, the chestnut son of Kitten’s Joy had to swing very wide into the stretch and could only manage a fifth-place finish, beaten 4 ½ lengths.
A Thread of Blue, however, had things all his way in the Saratoga Derby, breaking sharply at the start and securing a comfortable lead into deep stretch, while holding off the fast-closing Digital Age (IRE) for one-length victory. A Thread of Blue, who has won times in five starts this year, will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Klaravich Stables’ Digital Age, a bay son of Invincible Spirit, has won three-of-five starts for three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. Digital Age, the 5-2 favorite morning-line favorite in the Jockey Club Derby, won his first two career races at Tampa Bay Downs during the winter, and then made a big score by taking the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on May 4. Subsequently, he finished fourth, beaten two lengths in the Belmont Derby and then was second in the Saratoga Derby. Digital Age will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Down from Canada come’s L and N Racing’s Tone Broke, who won the last two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. A bay son of Broken Vow, trained by Steve Asmussen, Tone Broke took the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 23 and then the 1 ½-mile Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine on Aug. 17, with both races run on turf.
Shipping in from England is Earle Mack and Team Valor’s Spanish Mission. Trained by David Simcock and ridden by Jamie Spencer, Spanish Mission won the Bahrain Trophy (G3) by four lengths at Newmarket in July, and was recently third in his last start on Aug. 1, beaten by a neck in the Qatar Gordon Stakes (G3) at Goodwood.
OTI Racing’s Irish-bred San Huberto, ships in from France for trainer Fabrice Chappet. A three-time winner from five starts, San Huberto won the Prix Club Hipico Concepcion – Prix Michel Houyvet at 1 ¾-miles on Aug. at Deauville.
The 1 3/8-mile Belmont Oaks is the final leg of the “Turf Tiara,” for 3-year-old fillies, which started with the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks and continued with the Saratoga Oaks Invitational in August. Three European runners lead the race, including Stella Thayer’s Wonderment (IRE), who seeks her first win since the Group 1 Criterium de Saint Cloud last October in France; Love So Deep (JPN), trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, who enters the race off of a close second in the Group 2 Darley Prix de Pomone at Deauville, and His Highness the Aga Khan’s Edisa, who had two runner-up efforts in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche on July 27 at Deauville, which came after running second in the Group 2 Prix de Malleret at Saint Cloud. Edisa is trained by Alain Royer-Dupre, who won the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf with Lashkari in 1984.
Shipping in from California is Lady Prancealot (IRE), who has never finished off the board in five starts this year for trainer Richard Baltas. Lady Prancealot won the Grade 3 Honeymoon at Santa Anita two starts back before finishing third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17.
The ”Win and You’re In” Runhappy Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs is shaping up as one of the stronger turf sprints of the year. Run at six furlongs, the Turf Sprint has attracted Rockingham Ranch’s reigning two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal, who is still looking for his first win after four starts this year. The 7-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic ended 2018 with a win at Churchill Downs in the Turf Sprint for trainer Peter Miller but has been a bit unlucky this year, as he’s run well without winning, including a third-place finish in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan in Dubai in March. The main challenge should come from Amy Dunne’s Leinster, who won the 5 ½-furlong Troy Stakes (G3) in course-record time at Saratoga in a breakthrough performance for trainer Rusty Arnold.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races (13 Grade 1 events and one Grade 2 race) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown. The 2019 Kentucky Derby posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms – up 10% from last year’s race (15.0 million) featuring eventual Triple Crown winner Justify and marking television’s largest Saturday audience since the NFL Divisional Playoffs (Jan. 12, 2019).