November 2nd, 2023

Claiborne’s Significant Influence at the 2023 Breeders’ Cup

The Elite Championship Races Include 19 Entries from Claiborne Female Families

Story by B. Jason Brooks


Claiborne Farm’s influence will again be felt this year at the 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santia Anita Park on Friday and Saturday, November 3rd and 4th.  In addition to entries sired by Claiborne stallions, a significant share of the fields hail from female families bred by the Hancock family at their legendary Paris, Kentucky farm.

An analysis of the tail-female lines of the current 169 Breeders’ Cup entries (including also-eligible entries) shows that an impressive 19 (or 11 percent) have tail-female lines descending from 14 different Claiborne female families, 7 of which are grade 1 winners (identified below).

Demonstrating the versatility of these families, the entries are spread throughout 12 of the 14 championship races, with 3 each in the Sprint, Turf Sprint, and Juvenile Turf, 2 each in the Distaff and Juvenile Fillies Turf, and 1 each in the Classic, Mile, Filly and Mare Turf, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, and Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Moira winning the 2023 G2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine. Credit: Michael Burns via The Bloodhorse

The family of British-bred Claiborne foundation mare Peroration has the most Breeders’ Cup entries with three, all from the branch of her granddaughter, Arthur “Bull” Hancock, Jr.-bred Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks winner Damaged Goods.  They include: Nyquist filly Crimson Advocate in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, winner of the group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out; Ontario-bred Ghostzapper filly Moira in the Filly and Mare Turf, a grade 2 winner this year and 2022 Canadian Horse of the Year; and, Irish-bred stakes-winning No Nay Never colt Mountain Bear making his first start stateside in the Juvenile Turf.

Three Claiborne families each have a pair Breeders’ Cup entries.  The family of Claiborne foundation mare Bourtai will be represented by globally-ranked multiple group 1-winning Japanese-bred Ushba Tesoro, by his native stallion Orfevre, in the Classic and grade 2 winner Hard To Justify, by Triple Crown winner Justify, in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.  (See more on Ushba Tesoro and the family of Bourtai on the Claiborne Farm Blog here.)  Claiborne-bred mare Gradation will be represented by grade 1-winning Uncle Mo filly A Mo Reay in the Distaff and Ontario-bred grade 1-placed Cairo Prince colt My Boy Prince in the Juvenile Turf.  The family of British-bred foundation mare Rough Shod will be represented by grade 1-winning Uncle Mo filly Adare Manor in the Distaff and Bernardini colt Ecoro Neo in the Juvenile.

Ushba Tesoro wins the 2023 G1 Dubai World Cup. Credit: Dubai Racing Club.

Ten additional Breeders’ Cup entries will each represent different Claiborne families or individual Hancock-bred mares.  Four of them are grade 1 winners, including: globally-ranked 2022 Eclipse Award-winning horse Elite Power (from the old family of Hancock foundation mare War Song) defending his title in the Sprint; Into Mischief filly Gina Romantica (from the Claiborne family of Irish-bred Winsome Way) in the Mile; Vronsky gelding The Chosen Vron (from the family of British-bred Fairy Ray) in the Sprint; and, Outwork filly Brightwork (a descendant of Claiborne-bred mare Black Belle) in the Juvenile Fillies.

Four graded or group stakes winners from Claiborne families include: grade 1-placed Twirling Candy horse Gear Jockey (from the family of British-bed Maid for Walking) who is making his third career Breeders’ Cup start this year in the Turf Sprint; grade 2-winning Not This Time horse Arzak (from the family of British-bred Venturesome) in the Turf Sprint; dual Japanese group 3-winning Frosted colt Jasper Krone (from the family of Rose Bower) in the Turf Sprint; and, grade 3-winning Bayern colt Speed Boat Beach (from the family of Lea Moon) in the Sprint, his second career start in the race.

Elite Power. Credit: Coady Photography via The Bloodhorse

Two additional notable Breeders’ Cup entries from Claiborne families include stakes-winning Air Force Blue colt Air Recruit (from the family of British-bred Gallice) in the Juvenile Turf and Mo Town filly Mo Fox Givin (from the family of Irish-bred Careless Nora) who is an also-eligible entry for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Given the success that horses from Claiborne families have had so far this year, the large number of entries represented in the Breeders’ Cup is no surprise.  In the United States, winners of 33 graded stakes races, including 7 grade 1s, are from Claiborne families.  And, demonstrating Claiborne’s international influence, horses from Claiborne families have won an impressive 14 group 1 races in Great Britain, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru (all top-tier Part I countries or races as identified by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities).

The late Flatter.

In addition to the 19 Breeders’ Cup entries from Claiborne families, 5 will represent stallions who stand or stood and Claiborne.  Blame will be represented by grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks winner Wet Paint in the Distaff and international sire War Front will be represented by dual grade 2-winner Masteroffoxhounds in the Mile.  Entries by the late Claiborne stallion Flatter include grade 1-winner Search Results in the Distaff – her second career start in the race – and grade 3-placed Flattery in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.  Trappe Shot – who stood at Claiborne from 2012 to 2019 – will be represented by grade 2-winner One Timer as an also-eligible entry for the Turf Sprint, his second career Breeders’ Cup start.  When adding these 5 by Claiborne sires to the 19 from Claiborne female families, the total comes to 14 percent of the all Breeders’ Cup entries, further enhancing the farm’s influence at this year’s world championships.

With the Claiborne families and sires making up more than a seventh of the entire Breeders’ Cup entries, one can expect the impressive results to continue this weekend and throughout the remainder of the year.

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