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The Taste of Victory Experience: Breeders' Cup World Championships

Taste of Victory Stables at the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championship at Santa Anita Park
From left to right: Brian Richardson, Russ Sapienza, and Kyle Yost at the 2016 Breeders' Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most celebrated events in Thoroughbred horse racing. The best racehorses from around the world come to a single venue to compete in fourteen championship races in one weekend. Taste of Victory Stables has had the honor of competing at the Breeders’ Cup on two separate occasions.

Five of these fourteen races are held on the Friday of the Breeders’ Cup and are restricted to juveniles or two-year-olds - this day is dubbed “Future Stars Friday”. Nine more races are held on Saturday, headlined by the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Our first trip to the Breeders’ Cup was to race in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Mile, held on the Saturday card, at Santa Anita in 2016.

Our horse that year was What A View, a beautiful California-bred gelding by Vronsky out of the winning Manila mare Oceans N Mountains. What A View had won the Frank E. Kilroe (G1) and Thunder Road Stakes (G3) earlier in the year, but he would be facing tough competition like Tepin, a fantastic filly that won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile; multiple graded stakes winner Ironicus; Limato, a multiple G1 winning European star; and Alice Springs, a multiple G1 winner from Europe that had come stateside to finish 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf the year before.

Though What A View wasn’t able to properly show his skills against this extremely talented group and he ultimately finished unplaced, his even getting to the Breeders’ Cup gave all of his connections the thrill of a lifetime.

Taste of Victory Stables at the post position draw for the Breeders' Cup

Taste of Victory Stables was back at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup three years later, this time for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on “Future Stars Friday”. Our entrant was Hit the Road, a colt by More Than Ready out of the U S Ranger mare Highway Mary.

Hit the Road was coming into the Breeders’ Cup on a two-race win streak, having broken his maiden and then won the Zuma Beach Stakes. He was respected by horseplayers and went into the race as the fourth choice among fourteen runners.

Most of the field was bunched together at the finish of this exciting race and Hit the Road ultimately finished 7th (though only a handful of lengths off the winner) in a dead heat with Fort Meyers. Unfortunately, Hit the Road was disqualified from this position to last due to interference in the chaotic stretch run.

Hit the Road was slated to have a chance at redemption in the Breeders’ Cup in 2021, but had to scratch the day before the race due to a fever. It was a very disappointing moment for all of the connections of the horse, but we were glad that his illness was not serious and that he would continue to race and give us more excitement for years to come.

Though we may not have won any of our Breeders’ Cup attempts thus far, we are so grateful to have simply had the opportunity to be amongst the most highly regarded horses and people in this sport. It has always been our mission to give our co-owners the true horse racing experience, which includes both the highs of getting to the Breeders’ Cup and the lows of scratching prior to the big day.

We can only hope to give our co-owners more opportunities like these in the future!

From left to right: Brian Richardson, Russ Sapienza, and Erin O'Keefe with Hit the Road for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park
From left to right: Brian Richardson, Russ Sapienza, and Erin O'Keefe with Hit the Road for the Breeders' Cup


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