Locals return to Santa Anita in hopes of Breeders’ Cup repeats

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Romans was set to send out two young colts that we may see next year on the Kentucky Derby trail--Cleburne and Medal Count. Cleburne won the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs Sep. 7 and Medal Count is a maiden winner. The pair were set to attempt the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but news broke late Thursday that Cleburne suffered a bucked shin and will have to miss the race. The good news is that the injury is minor and the colt should recover quickly and be ready to step out onto the Kentucky Derby trail next year. Medal Count will have to bring home the Juvenile win for Romans. A field of 13 two-year-olds will take to the dirt in the 1 1/16 mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday.

Also returning to Santa Anita in hopes of a repeat victory is trainer Ian Wilkes. He’ll send out defending Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned. Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. will be in the saddle with hopes of grabbing his second Breeders’ Cup win. Fort Larned has had his ups and downs this year, winning only twice in five starts, both wins coming at Churchill Downs.

Lexington-based trainer Charlie LoPresti returns with defending Breeders’ Cup Mile champion and reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan. He’ll attempt to retain his crown in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in race 11 on Saturday. Although he comes in off a loss in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G2) at Keeneland, where he finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Romans’ Silver Max, it’s the only defeat since last year’s Breeders’ Cup for the six-year-old gelding.

Defending champ, Groupie Doll, will try to give trainer Buff Bradley another victory when she defends her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) on Saturday. Groupie Doll has not shown the brilliance she did coming into this race last year and appears the least likely of the group to grab the elusive back-to-back Breeders’ Cup win.