With Breeders’ Cup just around the corner, we’re getting ready to cheer on horses with Pennsylvania connections. Fourteen championship races will be conducted over the course of November 1st and 2nd, and here’s a few Pennsylvania horses to look out for while watching the Breeders’ Cup!

Kicking off Pennsylvania action in the very first race, Cambria is putting her unbeaten record on the line in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. A five furlong dash on the grass for 2-year-olds, the Juvenile Turf Sprint is the youngest of the fourteen Breeders’ Cup races and will conduct its second renewal in 2019. The Wesley Ward trained Cambria is a familiar face in Erie, having made her first two career starts at Presque Isle Downs. After breaking her maiden over the all weather track by 1 ¼ lengths, Cambria followed it up with a 2 ¼ length allowance win. She traveled south to Kentucky for her final Breeders’ Cup prep, where she earned a hard fought victory when beating the boys by a head in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. Cambria enters the Juvenile Turf Sprint with a record of three wins in three starts. 

Also representing Pennsylvania on the Future Stars Friday card is British Idiom, one of the expected favorites in the Juvenile Fillies. Sporting a record of two wins in two starts, British Idiom is sired by Diamond B Farm’s Flashback. Trained by Brad Cox, British Idiom started her career with a 3 ½ length maiden win at Saratoga. She backed up that victory with a dominating 6 ½ length score in the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. The Alcibiades Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the Juvenile Fillies, earning British Idiom an automatic spot in the starting gate. In winning the Grade 1 event, Flashback became the only Pennsylvania stallion to sire a Grade 1 winner in 2019. Flashback stood the 2019 season at Diamond B Farm for a fee of $3,500, with special consideration for mares foaling in Pennsylvania. His 2020 fee will be decided after British Idiom’s run in the Breeders’ Cup.


One of the best stories of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup is that of G1 Cotillion Stakes winner, Street Band, and jockey, Sophie Doyle. Doyle has been teamed up with Street Band for her past nine starts. Prior to 2019, Sophie Doyle’s lone graded stakes win came in 2015. This year, Street Band and Doyle have stormed to three graded stakes victories. Wins in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks and G3 Indiana Oaks adorned their resumes before finishing third in the G1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Street Band entered the Cotillion Stakes as the 7-1 fifth choice in the field of eleven. Sitting in second to last in the early stages, Street Band uncorked an explosive move around the far turn, rallying past the rest of the field and sweeping past the previously unbeaten Guarana to win going away by 2 ¼ lengths. The victory was the first Grade 1 for both Street Band and Sophie Doyle. Bred, owned, and trained by Larry Jones, Street Band will be touting the sentimental support of many fans when she steps into the Breeders’ Cup Distaff starting gate.

No stranger to Pennsylvania circuits, the 8-year-old Pure Sensation is attempting his fourth crack at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Pure Sensation garnered three stakes wins at Pennsylvania tracks in 2019, starting off with a hard fought, wire-to-wire victory in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National. He followed it up with a scintillating 4 ¼ length score in the G3 Parx Dash, a race he also won in 2016 and 2017. After finishing third in the G3 Troy Stakes at Saratoga, the Christophe Clement trainee returned to Parx and won his fourth consecutive G3 Turf Monster Stakes. Expected to be one of the favorites in the Turf Sprint, the big gray is expected to be rolling on the lead early. With 11 victories in 19 tries at the 5 furlong Turf Sprint distance, maybe the fourth time will be the charm for Pure Sensation in the Breeders’ Cup.

While Pure Sensation will likely be on the early lead in the Turf Sprint, he can expect to have some company in another Pennsylvania local. Shekky Shebaz called Erie, Pennsylvania, his home for the first two years of his racing career. Making the first 13 starts of his career at Presque Isle Downs, Shekky Shebaz was a regular face amongst the allowance ranks for trainer and owner, Adam Rice. His Presque Isle record tallied at 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds from 13 starts when entered in a $25,000 claiming race on the grass at Saratoga in July. Shekky Shebaz lead gate to wire, and although not claimed, his performance caught the attention of some big time New York connections. He was privately purchased by Michael Dubb, Madaket and Bethlehem Stables and transferred to trainer Jason Servis. Sticking to the grass, Shekky Shebaz lead all the way in the Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga to record his first ever stakes win. He followed it up with a close second place finish in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational. While he spent the first two years of his racing career quietly picking up checks at Presque Isle, Shekky Shebaz has quickly emerged as one of the most talented and promising turf sprinters in America.

Perhaps the most familiar Pennsylvania face in the Breeders’ Cup is Parx local, Spun to Run. Following his 6 ¾ romp in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile at Parx, the connections of Spun to Run decided to take their chances in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. All four of Spun to Run’s victories have come at Parx, and his only off the board finish in 10 career starts came when finishing fifth, beaten only 1 ½ lengths, in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby. Spun to Run broke his maiden at Parx in January before winning an allowance by 7 ¼ lengths in March. Away from the races for 4 months, Spun to Run returned in the G1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and finished third behind Kentucky Derby disqualified winner, Maximum Security. He made his return to his home base a winning one when fighting to a head victory in the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes. Following his close beat in the Pennsylvania Derby, Spun to Run dominated the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile and heads to the Breeders’ Cup in style. Spun to Run is trained by Juan Guerrero. 

Also expected in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is Parx Dirt Mile winner Coal Front. Coal Front started his season winning the G3 Razorback Handicap before traveling to Dubai to win the G2 Godolphin Mile. After two poor performances on his return to the states, Coal Front returned to form when winning the Parx Dirt Mile by ¾ of a length on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard. The Parx Dirt Mile marked the second victory in as many starts at Parx for Coal Front, who also won the G3 Gallant Bob Stakes in 2017.

The lone Pennsylvania-bred entrant in the Breeders’ Cup is slated to be G1 Rodeo Drive winner, Mirth. Mirth is a 4-year-old filly by Colonel John out of Di’s Delight by French Deputy. Bred by Barlar LLC, Mirth originally ran for Barlar and trainer Bernie Houghton. She was transferred to the ownership of Little Red Feather Racing and trainer Phil D’Amato in late 2018 and has been running in Southern California since. Mirth contended in allowances ranks, winning once, before finishing second in the Possibly Perfect Stakes in June. In September, Mirth made her graded stakes debut in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She made every pole a winning one, going wire-to-wire to win by 1 ¼ lengths. The distance of the Rodeo Drive, a mile and a quarter, is the same as the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. With one win and one second in two starts at the 10 furlong distance, Mirth appears primed to deliver her best effort in the Breeders’ Cup.

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is the centerpiece of the championship event, and upset Pennsylvania Derby winner, Math Wizard, is gearing up for another upset attempt. Before the fame from his 31-1 upset in Pennsylvania’s signature race, Math Wizard was picking up checks in minor Derbies and other stakes races. After being claimed by his current connections for $25,000, Math Wizard finished fourth in the G2 Wood Memorial and Oaklawn Invitational before running second in the G3 Ohio Derby and third in the G3 Indiana Derby. In his race before the Pennsylvania Derby, Math Wizard ran poorly in the G3 West Virginia Derby, his third race in six weeks, and a race in which trainer Saffie Joseph called “ a mistake running in” afterwards. Math Wizard’s 31-1 odds in the Pennsylvania Derby reflected his recent poor effort, but he put together the performance of a lifetime when rallying from last-to-first to steal the spoils by a neck. Math Wizard will likely be a longshot once again in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but who’s to say he can’t shock the world once more?

The Breeders’ Cup is always one of the most exciting times of the year, and having the chance to cheer for horses with Pennsylvania connections always adds to the excitement. Be sure to follow these horses at this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, and hopefully some of them will end up in the winner’s circle!


The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be broadcast on NBC Sports from 4:00pm to 8:00pm EST on Friday, November 1st, and 3:30pm to 8:00pm EST on Saturday, November 2nd. The broadcast will continue on NBC from 8:00pm to 9:00pm for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.


Cambria: 2 of 3 career starts at Presque Isle (Juvenile Turf Sprint)

British Idiom: sired by Pennsylvania stallion Flashback (Juvenile Fillies)

Street Band: Cotillion Stakes winner (Distaff)

Pure Sensation: PA Governor’s Cup, Parx Dash, and Turf Monster winner (Turf Sprint)

Shekky Shebaz: 13 of 16 career starts at Presque Isle (Turf Sprint)

Spun to Run: Smarty Jones and M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile winner (Dirt Mile)

Coal Front: Parx Dirt Mile winner (Dirt Mile)

Mirth: Pennsylvania bred (Filly & Mare Turf)

Math Wizard: Pennsylvania Derby winner (Classic)


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