Part of the conventional wisdom surrounding Thoroughbred horse racing is that American horses are faster but only on shorter, dirt courses. When it comes to running long races on turf, European horses are superior.
Recent history at the Breeders' Cup Championship Series seems to bear this out. The premier turf race during the series—and, it can be argued, the most important turf race in the world—is the Longines Turf, a $4 million guaranteed purse second in prize only to the Longines Classic. Four of the last five champions have been from Europe, two from Great Britain, and two from Ireland. American horse riders will be quick to point out last year's victory of BRICKS AND MORTAR, the American Thoroughbred who, at five years old, became the 2019 Horse of the Year.
Can American horses keep the winning going in 2020's Longines Turf? The field of 17 horses is crowded with talent from around the world. America is represented by eight of the entrants. The balance of the posted horses come from Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland—which has five entrants.
Who is favored to win the Turf? It should be noted that this is a qualifying race. Only proven turf warriors can earn their way to the gate, implying that any of the 17 is capable of victory. Handicappers have not established a prohibitive favorite. At the top of the list, everyone is watching is the four-year-old Irish GHAIYYATH, with nine wins in 13 starts.
The next horse that seems set for glory is the three-year-old British Mogul, with four wins in nine starts. Also receiving a lot of buzz is the well-vetted, well-known American horse CHANNEL MAKER, who has been to the gate 36 times and brought in seven victories. Rated about the same is TARNAWA, another seasoned Irish four-year-old with 13 starts resulting in seven wins.
Regarded as being in the next tier of horses is the American horse UNITED, who has been to the post 16 times with seven wins. Two other American horses are seen as on par with one another in this tier: the four-year-old FACTOR THIS, with 12 wins in 32 starts, and four-year-old ZULU ALPHA, with 12 wins in 35 starts.
Also in line—and each capable of bringing home the win—are the American Thoroughbreds AQUAPHOBIA, GUFO, RED KING, and ARKLOW. Additional foreign entrants include Donjah of Germany, the French horse GOLD TRIP, and ORIGINAIRE, LORD NORTH, and LOVE, all from Ireland.
Photo: Factor This beats Somelikeithotbrown in the Dinner Party Stakes. Photo Credit: Jerry Dzierwinksi
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