BC Friday International Horses

Breeders’ Cup statue at Keeneland in Lexington, KY (Photo by Jarrod Horak)

By Jarrod Horak

The BC Friday international horses should be competitive in the three turf races at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 3. I will go through and analyze all of the BC Friday international horses below.

BC Juvenile Turf Sprint

Tiger Belle (IRE) is 3-for-5 with a runner-up finish and all five races were at five panels on turf. Two of her wins were in Ireland. She shipped to France and captured a Group 3 on Aug. 31, and runner-up Dawn Charger won the Prix Eclipse (G3) on Sept. 16 and was 2nd in the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons Laffitte on Oct. 7. She is one of the more interesting BC Friday international horses. 

Big Evs (IRE) won a Group 3 race in Great Britain in August. He was nowhere in his next Group 1 start, and bounced back with a Group 2 score at Doncaster on Sept. 15. His overseas turf sprint form is not bad, and if an invader fires in this spot, he might be the one. 

Givemethebeatboys (IRE) was an early bloomer in Ireland with back-to-back turf sprint wins in May including a Group 3 score at the Curragh. He was 4th, 3rd, and 4th in his last three turf sprint stakes starts and others seem more appealing. 

Starlust (GB) misfired in his bow, was part of the exacta in his next five starts (3 wins), and was 5th of 9 at 22-1 in a Group 1 at Newmarket last time. The Group 3 winner is probably not good enough to win but Frankie Dettori should give him every chance to succeed.  

Cherry Blossom (IRE) had it going on in July and August with a win and a pair of runner-up finishes. She placed in a Group 2 on Aug. 24 and exits an okay 4th of 11 in the Cheveley Park (G1) at Newmarket. She probably wants a bit more real estate to work with. 

Valiant Force (KY) was 2nd in his bow and finished 5th behind Givemethebeatboys (IRE) second time out. He picked up a stunning win at 150-1 in the Group 2 Norfolk, and was 5th of 9 in the Group 1 Prix Mornay on Aug. 20. He must prove that his lone win was for real.    

Also-eliglble Asean (IRE) needs two defections to get in and is unlikely to run in this spot. He is also entered in the Golden Mile Stakes, which is the first race on Friday at Santa Anita.

BC Juvenile Fillies Turf

Laulne (FR) is an overseas transplant now conditioned by Phil D’Amato. She fired in all six turf sprints in France. She won a Group 3 turf sprint in July and hit the board in her last two starts vs. Group 2 and Group 3 company including a neck defeat on Sept. 16. They paid $793k for this one in 2023 and she is bred to handle this distance. 

Content (IRE) exits a decent Group 3 win at the Curragh for Aidan O’Brien and she was 20-1 in that 10-horse affair at one mile on turf. The daughter of Galileo has the look of a filly on the improve. 

Porta Fortuna (IRE) might be a contender in this spot for Donnacha O’Brien. She is 4-for-6 with two minor awards. She won a pair of Group 3 races earlier this year and exits a victory in the Cheveley Park (G1) at six panels on Sept. 30. Can she handle the added ground of this race? 

Carla’s Way (IRE) won her 6 1/2 furlong turf bow in Great Britain at 5-2 odds and the runner-up was a next out winner. She was 8th of 17 in the Group 3 Albany second time out and Porta Fortuna handled her in that race. She was 2nd in a Group 2 turf sprint on Aug. 26. Darnation won the latter race and scored again in the May Hill (G2) on Sept. 14. This filly exits an extended sprint turf score vs. Group 2 rivals at Newmarket. She beat Ylang Ylang (GB) last time and that one returned to capture the Group 1 Fillies Mile at Newmarket on Oct. 13. The $437k Starspangledbanner filly has good company lines.

Les Pavots (IRE) finished in the top three in all six starts in France. She won a Group 2 at seven furlongs on heavy ground on Aug. 19 and was 3rd of 10 in a flat mile Group 1 at Longchamp on Oct. 1. She will have to overcome a tough post and must prove that she can handle firm footing. 

BC Juvenile

Ecoro Neo (KY) has scratched.

Cuban Thunder (IRE) was sharp in overseas turf sprints in April and May. He went off form after that and has lost his last four starts by a combined 63 1/4 lengths. 

BC Juvenile Turf

River Taber (IRE) brings consistent overseas turf sprint form to the table for Aidan O’Brien. He won his first three starts including the Group 2 Coventry, and was 3rd in his last two Group 1 starts. He is not out of this if he handles the added ground of this race, and O’Brien’s main rider Ryan Moore opted for this one.  

Unquestionable (FR) might be the right one for Aidan O’Brien. He was competitive in all five starts but only scored once. His victory was a sharp score at six furlongs on May 27 and he missed by a head in a Group 2 on July 2. He missed 3rd by a head in a Group 1 turf sprint on Aug. 12, and showed improvement in a runner-up finish in a Group 1 at seven panels on Oct. 1. Frankie Dettori rides this one.

Mountain Bear (IRE) was 3rd in a Group 2 race on Aug. 1. He is 2-for-7 overall and exits an all-weather extended sprint win in a 14-horse field on Oct. 6. Aidan O’Brien has some better runners in this race but he is not completely out of this.