Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Declaration of War after winning the 2013 Queen Anne Stakes (G1) (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
Traditionally, the conventional dirt surface of the Breeders’ Cup Classic has restricted the international variety of the field. Last year, no horses outside North America competed in the Classic and So You Think was the sole foreign entrant in 2011’s renewal. This year, though, is different. Two top-class horses ship in from Europe for the Classic – Planteur and Declaration of War.
Meanwhile, the Mile has been one of the most competitive multi-national races. The French filly, Goldikova, reigned in this race for three consecutive years (2008-2010). Last year, Excelebration entered the Mile in an attempt to avenge the losses he had suffered at the hands of Frankel, only to cross the finish line fourth behind Wise Dan. In 2013, two quality European invaders will enter the gates for the Mile.
The Breeders’ Mile
As a sire, Henrythenavigator had Breeders’ Cup success last year with his son George Vancouver, who won the Juvenile Turf. This year, “Henry” is represented by Coolmore’s Cristoforo Colombo in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (first preference) or Turf Sprint. A promising juvenile last year, Cristoforo Colombo has had an average campaign as a 3-year-old. He ran fifth to Dawn Approach in the English Two Thousand Guineas and four months later, he crossed the wire eighth in the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes in his return to the races. In October, Cristoforo Colombo got his lone victory of 2013 on Dundalk’s all-weather track. Less than 10 days later, he was seventh beaten by four lengths in a listed stakes race at the Curragh.
In the Mile, Cristoforo Colombo will have to face Olympic Glory. The colt presents a formidable challenge to the highly competitive field, having won or placed in all but one of his starts this year.
Olympic Glory in the 2012 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere
He scored by one length in his seasonal debut, the Group 3 Aon Greenham Stakes on good to soft ground at the Curragh. Olympic Glory then finished 11th, defeated by a total of five lengths, in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and second to Moonlight Cloud in the Prix du Jacques le Marios, both Group 1s. In his second to last start, Olympic Glory was second in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. He earned the winner’s splendors in his most recent outing on the British Champions’ Day Card. In the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, he finished 3 ¼ lengths ahead Top Notch Tonto, Kingsbarns and Dawn Approach.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic
Trainer Marco Botti has had success when running horses in North America. He ambitiously sends Planteur to run for Breeders’ Cup glory against a deep Classic field. Planteur won his first start of 2013 – the Derby Trial Stakes – by one length on an all-weather surface. Next time out, he was third to Animal Kingdom in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and then ran second to Maxios in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan on soft turf. Planteur won his next start in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths on a soft course. Last time out, however, he was 12th out of 13 in the Prix Dollar.
Declaration of War wins the 2013 Queen Anne Stakes (G1)
In the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Declaration of War makes his final start before retiring to stud at Coolmore Stud’s Irish division. The 4-year-old son of War Front reached his potential in a year chalk-full of exceptional older horses and has proven himself as superior. In his seasonal debut, he won the Heritage Stakes by 2 ½ lengths, and then finished a disappointing fifth to Farhh in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. Next time out, he convincingly won the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes – a Group 1 test that serves as Royal Ascot’s opening race.
After the Queen Anne, Declaration of War finished a formidable second to Al Kazeem in the Eclipse Stakes and third to Toronado and Dawn Approach in the Sussex Stakes, both Group 1s. In Declaration of War’s next start, the Prix Jacques le Marois, though he crossed the wire fourth, he displayed superior skills and was arguably the best horse in the race. His final start before the Breeders’ Cup was the Group 1 International Stakes, with a definitive 1 ¼-length win over Trading Leather and Al Kazeem.