You don’t have to say it. I know what you’re thinking: None of the Thoroughbreds competing in this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are even remotely close to being senior citizens. And you’re right. They’re not.

But in a world where many horses retire by the time they’re 3 or 4, I think you have to recognize the seasoned campaigners who are still sound and excited to be competing at the highest level of their sport.

Here’s a rundown of few of the “older” racehorses I’ll be watching and rooting for at Keeneland this weekend:


Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Dirt MileLea, a 6-year-old chestnut stallion, is contesting his final race in the Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile before he retires to Claiborne Farm to stand alongside his sire, First Samurai. He’s a seasoned globe-trotter, having finished third in the Dubai World Cup, in the United Arab Emirates, earlier this year, and has looked ready to go during works each morning.


Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Distaff—This is a cool race from an “old” racehorse perspective: Nearly half the current field (6 of the 14 entries) are 5-year-olds. (But, as it were, none of them are grey, so I can’t use the “old grey mare” joke that would have been so perfect!) Watch for FrivolousMy Sweet Addiction, Wedding Toast, YahilwaWarren’s Veneda, and Sheer Drama in the Distaff.

Turf Sprint—In a field dominated by younger horses, 7-year-old Something Extra and 6-year-old No Silent top the group in the age department. Both have raced regularly this year and will be well-primed for their Breeders’ Cup starts.

Judy the Beauty

Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Filly and Mare Sprint—In another race mostly filled with younger horses, 6-year-old Judy the Beauty will have her work cut out. She’s run well at Keeneland in the past, however, so should be right at home.


Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Filly and Mare Turf—In many cases I’d be excited to find a 5-year-old in one race, let alone two (in this case, Watsdachances [IRE] and Secret Gesture [GB]). But this year’s Filly and Mare Turf also feature two 6-year-old mares who are looking for victory against the fillies. Both Hard Not To Like and Stephanie’s Kitten are strong, experienced contenders in this field.

Private Zone

Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Sprint—In a full field of 14, two 6-year-olds will be duking it out against some younger horses. Both Alsvid and Private Zone have campaigned well this year and should be ready to roll.

Grand Arch

Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Mile—Seven-year-old Obviously and 6-year-old Grand Arch are the eldest geldings in the Mile. Grand Arch is coming off a win in the Shadwell Turf Mile (run over the same turf course the Breeders’ Cup Mile will be held on) earlier this month, while Obviously has been lightly campaigned this year.

Big Blue Kitten

Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Turf—This is another race I’m super excited about because half of the 12 horses in the field are either 6 or 7 years old (in fact, just three of the horses are 3 or 4!). I love seeing these guys still racing at these ages! The oldest horses in the field are SlumberBig Blue Kitten, and the Argentine contender Ordak Dan, all 7. The 6-year-olds include Big John BTwilight Eclipse, and The Pizza Man.

Classic—Classic contender Hard Aces turned 5 this year and will be the oldest horse in the final race of the championships. He's reportedly only getting better with age. He’s already earned more than $420,000 this year, so he’ll be looking for a good finish against this field of younger horses. And, of course, I must mention that 3-year-old Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will be looking to win the first “Grand Slam”—the Triple Crown and a Breeders’ Cup Classic victory in the same year—before retiring to stud following Saturday’s race. Who’ll come home in front? We’ll have to wait and see!

Lava Man

Photo: Courtesy Keeneland

Meanwhile, there's another Thoroughbred who's garnered much attention since his arrival at Keeneland: 14-year-old Lava Man! This former racing champion is now teaching the next generation of racehorses the ropes as a pony for trainer Doug O'Neill. Lava Man always seems to enjoy his time on the track and it's so good to see his adorable face and perky ears!

Old or young, however, I’ll be wishing all the competitors safe trips this weekend!

Who are you excited to see run? Please share your picks below.