Last weekend featured seven Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races that gave us plenty of excitement. There were close finishes, controversial endings, and dominating victories in many of the big stakes events. Here are the three horses who we felt stood out above the rest:
1. Midnight Bisou
Horse of the Year is becoming a real possible for this filly who has been a win machine all year long. She picked up victory number seven on the season last Saturday with a solid performance in the Beldame Stakes (G2). After a sharp beginning, Midnight Bisou found herself near the front up the backstretch, then turned for home with the lead. Wow Cat, her biggest challenger, came to her throat latch entering the stretch and let Midnight Bisou know that she was going to have to work for this victory. Midnight Bisou found more, though, opening up in mid-stretch for a 3 1/4-length win. She now heads to the Breeders’ Cup as a major favorite for the Longines Distaff, where a win would give her a real shot to be the Horse of the Year when it’s all said and done.
2. Code of Honor
When only five horses drew into the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), many felt that the race might be a bit boring, but that did not end up being the case. Right out of the gate, the Todd Pletcher-trained Vino Rosso had his mind on running, going straight to the lead. Turning for home, he was still in front, but Code of Honor was unleashing a furious rally from behind. The two came together multiple times in mid-stretch, giving their all in a tremendous stretch battle. Vino Rosso dug deep on the inside, refusing to let Code of Honor get past and hitting the wire ahead by a nose. However, the inquiry sign came up shortly after the finish, as did a jockey objection, and Vino Rosso was soon disqualified for bumping Code of Honor in the stretch. The decision did not sit well with the crowd; many fans and bettors booed Code of Honor as he entered the winners circle. Regardless, both gave all that they had, with neither of them deserving to lose. As for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, this only made things more confusing heading into the big race.
3. Imperial Hint
The little rocket has a BIG heart. Imperial Hint was supposed to have an easy time in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1), but Firenze Fire had other ideas on his mind. Breaking from the gate, Imperial Hint went right to the front while Firenze Fire sat off the lead in second. From the very start, the event turned into a match race; both outclassed the other entries. Turning for home, Firenze Fire made a gigantic move, passing Imperial Hint in mid-stretch. BUT, Imperial Hint would not go away easily, as he kept to task and kept battling along the inside. The two hit the wire together, and a very fortunate head bob went to Imperial Hint. A race like this will give both a solid level of fitness heading to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).