UPI Horse Racing Weekend Preview

Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races roll in this week from Japan, Peru, Brazil and especially from the ongoing Royal Ascot meeting, which already has provided thrills aplenty and offered up some intriguing prospects for November's World Championships.

Perhaps topping the list was Auguste Rodin's impressive victory in Wednesday's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes. The Coolmore-campaigned dual Derby winner landed last year's Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita and earned a "Win and You're In" repeat trip with the Ascot win. Coolmore's "lads" and trainer Aidan O'Brien, however, continue to suggest he might point toward the Breeders' Cup Classic instead -- opening up historic potential.

The 4-year-old is a son of Japan's late breed-shaping sire Deep Impact, himself a son of Sunday Silence. His dam, Rhododendron, runner-up in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, is by Coolmore's late breed-shaping stallion Galileo. Deep Impact, Sunday Silence and Galileo. My goodness.

It's true that Auguste Rodin has tossed in a couple clunkers among his massive wins but O'Brien Wednesday said those were his fault and he now has the colt figured out. He and jockey Ryan Moore, between them, certainly got the job done as Auguste Rodin battled to a victory that was much more impressive than the final 3/4-length margin.

Other highlights from the first three days of the spectacle:


Charyn earned a berth in the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile with a victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes in the first race of the meeting. The 4-year-old Dark Angel colt won by 2 3/4 lengths from Docklands and has turned into a star for trainer Roger Varian. His only defeat in four starts this year came in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes where he was second to Audience, who finished fifth in the Queen Anne.

Australian invader Asfoora scored in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes, formerly the King's Stand, and was rewarded with a "Win and You're In" invitation to the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The 5-year-old mare by Flying Artie flew home 1 length in front of Regional. The favorite, 2023 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Big Evs, settled for third.

The third Group 1 of the day, the St James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-old colts at 1 mile, ended in a dramatic showdown between Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Rosallion and Henry Longfellow, with Rosallion prevailing by a neck. Metropolitan, winner of the French Guineas, was third and Notable Speech, winner of the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, finished seventh as the favorite as Godolphin suffered through a slow start to the Royal meeting.


The Prince of Wales's Stakes was the big deal but there was plenty more on offer in a trio of Group 2 affairs.

Illinois and Highbury provided a 1-2 finish for Coolmore in the Queen's Vase for 3-year-olds at 1 3/4 miles. Illinois, by Galileo, is another budding star for the Irish "lads" and O'Brien said he'll be given time to mature and find his way. He warned he shouldn't be labeled a Cup-type horse as he has more to offer than staying races.
Running Lion, a daughter of Roaring Lion, ran out a 2-lengths winner over Laurel for the father-son Gosden training team in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 mile on the round course. And Leovanni led home an all-longshot trio in the Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-olds. Long shots? How about 22-1, 50-1 and 50-1? The favorite finished 12th.

Kyprios and Ryan Moore winning the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday, picture Liesl King


The Gold Cup is always a highlight of the meeting and Kyprios rose to the occasion, winning a stirring stretch battle over Trawlerman at the end of the 2 1/2 miles -- Coolmore over Godolphin. The victory was all the more dramatic as Kyprios nearly died of complications of a joint infection after winning the race in 2022. O'Brien heaped praise on the entire team that coaxed him back to form.

Coolmore also emerged victorious in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes for 3-year-old fillies as Port Fairy outgamed Lava Flow in the closing yards. O'Brien said the winner looks like an Irish Oaks-type filly. Shareholder scored a "Win and You're In" invitation to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with a late-running win in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes.

Around the World, Around the Clock

While Royal Ascot hogged the early limelight, there are three other Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" events Sunday: The Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen in Japan (Longines Breeders' Cup Turf); the Group 1 Grande Premio Brasil (ditto); and the Group 1 Gran Premio Pamplona (Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf) in Peru.

Back in North America
The 3-year-olds

Saturday's $500,000 Grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown drew 10 3-year-olds. The favorite? Brad Cox-trained Louisiana Derby winner Catching Freedom, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness. If he performs, don't count him out of the championship picture.


Musical Mischief, Misty Veil and Corningstone top a cast of 10 for Saturday's $250,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Thistledown.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Society and Vahva rate 1-2 on the morning line for Saturday's $250,000 Grade III Chicago Stakes at Churchill Downs. Society, trained by Steve Asmussen, was last seen finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last November. Vahva, from Cherie DeVaux's barn, comes off a win in the Grade I Derby City Distaff.


Crystal Quest looks imposing in a field of nine for Sunday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park. Full Nelson was doing well until he ran into a buzzsaw in the Grade III Transylvania at Keeneland.

Filly & Mare Turf

Chad Brown saddles three of the 10 in the main field for Saturday's $150,000 Wild Applause for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct. There are two "main track only" types.

Turf Sprint

Saturday's $100,000 Goldwood Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park has 10 plus two also-eligibles with Queen of the Mud as the 3-1 morning-line pick.

Stormcast is a narrow favorite in a nice field for Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Alywow for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine.