American Pharoah has earned the title of the most transcendent talent in Thoroughbred racing this season.
But when discussion starts over which horse is most worthy of being deemed the world's best horse in training, those on the other side of the Atlantic can make a case that they house the sophomore runner that can best lay claim to that honor.
John Gosden has had his elite hands on some magnificent horseflesh. Yet the trainer of more than 100 Grade/Group I winners bestows some of his highest praise on Golden Horn, the classic-winning son of Cape Cross who stands as the 4-5 morning-line favorite for the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday.
A striking physical figure, Golden Horn has won seven of eight starts lifetime; in his only loss he was beaten by a neck in the Group I Juddmonte International at York on Aug. 19. As much as Golden Horn powered his way to victory in the Group I Investec Derby and Coral-Eclipse Stakes, his greatness-stamping moment came this month when he won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp over a field that included champion two-time Arc winning distaffer Treve.
An Arc winner has never prevailed in the Breeders' Cup Turf, though the sample size is small with only five attempting the feat. Statistics aside, Golden Horn's class makes him a favorite to stomp that trend into the grass.
"He probably has the most remarkable constitution of any horse I have trained," Gosden said after Golden Horn took to the Keeneland turf for the first time Thursday. "He shipped here weighing 2 kilograms more than he did when he flew to Paris to the Arc, and he put the weight back on very quickly when he got home from his exertions in the Arc.
"He has grown physically in the course of his 3-year-old year and matured. Ideally I would like to be coming to a race like this with a 4-year-old or 5-year-old, but he's retiring and going to stud, so this is our only shot at it."
Dirt Mile to be final career start for Liam's Map
Teresa Viola Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds' Liam's Map galloped over the Keeneland training track Thursday morning for Friday's Dirt Mile, which is scheduled to be his final start before retiring to stud at Lane's End Farm.
It was announced Wednesday that Lane's End had purchased an interest in the Grade I Woodward Stakes winner. On Sunday, Liam's Map and Classic contender Honor Code will arrive at William S. Farish's farm to get ready for their stud duties in 2016.