News and STORIES

O'Brien's Stable At Santa Anita

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday November 01, 2019
On Thursday, trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore team were on display, as 10 of the best Thoroughbred horses cantered at Santa Anita Park. 

"It's an absolute pleasure for us to come here," O'Brien said. "It's a beautiful climate, beautiful setting, and great racing. It's something we look forward to every year."

O'Brien was representing Justify with his gear, the Triple Crown winner and Coolmore American stallion. As O'Brien watched from a viewing area close to the finish line, he was joined by M.V. Magnier and other members of the Coolmore team. The trainer said he was happy with the horse's canter around the Santa Anita Track after being released from the quarantine barn.  

"I'm delighted with them. I asked (the riders) as they walked by, and they all seemed happy. It was just a canter around, and it seemed to go lovely," O'Brien said.

Twelve Breeders' Cup Wins

O'Brien is tied for third with Chad Brown on the list of all-time most Breeders' Cup wins. He currently has 12 wins, and he is looking to add to that number with his 10 starters in this weekend's Championships. His impressive runners have a good shot at making that happen. 

"There's a chance there with some of them," he said about his runners. "Maybe a few didn't get good draws, but that's the way it goes. It can't go perfectly all the time. They're all in good form."

One of those is Anthony Van Dyck. O'Brien will go up against Brown, who is a three-time Eclipse Award winner and considered the king of turf racing. 

O'Brien took the 2011 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) with St Nicholas Abbey. On the other hand, Brown has never won the race, but that could change with Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Horse of the Year favorite Bricks and Mortar. He is the 1 1/2-mile stakes' 9-5 favorite. 

The biggest threat to the 5-year-old will be Anthony Van Dyck, the 3-1 morning-line second choice. The last time he was in the United States, the son of Galileo finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

He also took the famous Investec Derby (G1) in June, but he has failed to make it into the winner's circle in his last three starts. In his most recent start, he finished third in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (G1) behind Magical, his stablemate and the 2018 Turf runner-up. Magical was set to run in the Turf but retired after falling ill. 

"We feel he has a very nice chance," said O'Brien, who is seeking an unprecedented seventh victory in the Turf. "We think he'll handle the track and the ground, the trip and the draw and everything else. He seems to be in good form."

Anthony Van Dyke will break from post 5. 

Others for O'Brien

Another one of O'Brien's horses, Arizona, a No Nay Never 2-year-old, is the 5-2 favorite in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America (G1T). He had an unfortunate draw and will be breaking from post 12 in a field of 14. 

"Arizona will like the track and the ground," O'Brien said about the winner of the Coventry Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. "The only thing not in his favor is the draw."

Circus Maximus is the 3-1 choice in the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T), but he drew post 9 in a field of 14. He took the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1) against older horses in his previous start, and he also won two races and finished second in his past four runs. All of those were in group 1 company. 

"He's in a good form, but he drew a little bit out. He's had a busy enough year, but he seems to be in good form. He's a very lazy horse back home, but when he races, he's better," said the 50-year-old master of Ballydoyle.

Other horses for O'Brien include Fleeting and Just Wonderful in the $2 million Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T); Tango and Etoile in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2T); Mount Everest in the Turf; and Fort Myers in the Juvenile Turf.