BREEDERS CUP A DIVIDEND FOR MR MONEY
The Breeders’ Cup is the pinnacle of Thoroughbred horse racing. These “world championships” are run near the end of the calendar year and feature the best of the best in every division of the sport. Winning one of these races on the richest two days the game sees in North America is obviously a crowning achievement. In reality, however, making the starting gates for one of the 14 races is a bit of a reward, because getting there can be quite a challenge. One team in particular sees a trip to Santa Anita for the 36th Breeders’ cup as a dividend, but they hope to cash in for a lot more.
Mr Money has been one of the heroes in the Brett Calhoun barn for much of the year. After finishing a solid fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2018, big things were planned for this speedy son of Goldencents. But then a few minor setbacks on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail caused a change in the navigational chart Lacking the points to make the field for the 145th Run for the Roses, Calhoun chose a bit of a different path for his talented colt.
“After he ran well in the Breeders’ Cup we laid out a plan that would take us through the Louisiana route to the Kentucky Derby,” says Calhoun. “Unfortunately we had to battle some minor health setbacks and then he just didn’t run well enough in the Risen Star or Louisiana Derby. We decided then to cutback in distance and take a different path towards our year end goal.”
The Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby day was the first target and Mr Money ran like a hundred dollar bill. Turning in the best race of his career to date, Calhoun’s charge exploded down the stretch and won by a widening 5 ¼ lengths. Resisting the temptation of the Triple Crown’s second leg in the Preakness, the Money manager stuck to his plan. Continuing to develop physically and mentally, this son of Plenty O’Toole cashed with big efforts in the Matt Winn Stakes, Indiana Derby, and West Virginia Derby. Stepping into the grade 1 ranks in the Pennsylvania Derby in his last start, the Allied Racing Stable owned colt was caught at the wire after a courageous run on the front end of a talented field.
“Coming into the Pat Day Mile he was really thriving and just continued to get better,” says Calhoun. “Being around him all the time I really didn’t see the physical development until I looked at a picture of him from last year. It’s amazing how much he has matured and filled out. He ran a good race in the Pennsylvania Derby, but was just a little unlucky. If we had it to do over we might have done things a little differently. We didn’t expect to be on the lead, but looking back we should have just let him go. He is a free-running style horse and we don’t need to change that.”
After a successful summer that saw Team Money reap the dividends of an executed game plan, the Breeders’ Cup was a go. With good reason, Calhoun feels his prized colt has earned the right to compete on the game’s greatest stage. The Dirt Mile is the target on November 2. With highly regarded three-year olds Omaha Beach and Improbable also aiming at the same race, Money can shoot for some division bragging rights as well.
“We considered the Classic, but in the end we felt like the Dirt Mile was a better race for him,” says Calhoun, who won the Filly and Mare Sprint (Dubai Majesty) and Turf Sprint (Chamberlain Bridge) at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup. “The distance is more in his scope and he came out of the Pennsylvania Derby in great shape. It will be a cutback in distance and we think that could be really good for him.”
Speed and stamina are two of the traits that make Mr Money a prime timer for the Dirt Mile. One other advantage he has will be the gene pool. His pappy, Goldencents, was perhaps the greatest Dirt Miler in Cup history as he is the only two-time winner of the event. Interestingly enough, both wins came at Santa Anita.
“The bloodlines are certainly a plus for sure,” says Calhoun. “Mr Money has learned how to be a race horse this year and we are really proud of him. They call this the world championships for a good reason and we are excited to be in with a horse like this.”