Iroquois and Pocahontas Stakes Part of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series
Churchill Downs 11-day September meet opens Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday’s card is one to watch with a pair of ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races.
The $150,000 Iroquois (G3) and $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (G2) were both moved up to the September schedule in 2013, and the winners of those two juvenile races will qualify for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies.
In the four years since Churchill moved the Iroquois to its abbreviated September meet, no Iroquois winner has gone on to win the Sentient Jet Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. Last year, Not This Time just missed with a runner-up finish as the favorite to Classic Empire after romping in the Iroquois by nearly 9 lengths. But Not This Time also suffered an injury during the Breeders’ Cup race and was retired.
The 2017 Iroquois Stakes has several promising 2-year-old colts nominated, including Free Drop Billy, an unlucky Hopeful Stakes runner-up. Fellow Dale Roman’s trainee Hollywood Star is entered after finishing 2nd in the Saratoga Special, and Bashord Manor Stakes winner Ten City is also shooting for an Iroquois Stakes score and all-fees paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup.
The 2014 three-year-old champion female Untapable won the 2013 Pocahontas Stakes and went on to win the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff over a year later. Last year, Pocahontas winner Daddy’s Lil Darling finished 4th in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
Who will be this year’s Pocahontas winner and make some noise at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar? Snowfire is one to watch after finishing 4th in the Schuylerville Stakes, as is Kelly’s Humor, who was no joke in winning the Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park. Sultry and Harbor Lights are a pair of sharp maiden winners to watch.