July 16, 2024

Hanson: Horses I’m most looking forward to watching in 2020

Concrete Rose and jockey Julien Leparoux capture the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) at Belmont Park on July 6, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography

Some, like Mitole, have already been retired. Others, like Omaha Beach, will soon follow.

While the 2020 racing season will mostly be without stars like the above two and others, next year promises to feature plenty of exciting runners both in the U.S. and Europe that have already graced their presence before us.

Looking beyond obvious domestic choices like Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou, and international ones like Enable and Pinatubo, here are a few prominent runners I look forward to watching in the coming year.

Concrete Rose

Dominated the 3-year-old filly turf division through early August when an injury prematurely ended her campaign before she could tack on other significant prizes like the inaugural Jockey Club Oaks and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). The success of Cambier Parc in the latter flattered her, and with the 2020 Breeders’ Cup in her backyard at Keeneland she’s poised to have a potentially spectacular season.


One of the few high-profile juvenile colts that remained unexposed by season’s end, his Breeders’ Futurity (G1) victory was one of the more eye-catching of the year turned in by anyone in his peer group. An untimely ankle chip injury sidelined him prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) though connections are hopeful he can still play a prominent role on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail. Regardless, he figures to play an important part in the division during the year.


Regally-bred Maryland native went into winter quarters following a 13-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), improving her record to 3-for-4 for trainer Graham Motion, who also trained her Breeders’ Cup-winning dam Shared Account. Like Concrete Rose, she could evolve into an even better 3-year-old.


Our first international selection developed into one of Europe’s top middle-distance 3-year-olds after a narrow loss in the Epsom Derby (G1). Arguably the best colt to come out of that race, he proceeded to win three group events, including the Juddmonte International (G1) in a thriller over Crystal Ocean. Fourth beaten four lengths by Waldgeist in a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) contested over highly-testing ground, he figures to be a major factor wherever he might appear if the footing is suitable.


While Pinatubo was one of the most highly-rated European juveniles of the young century this season, it’s hard to forget this fellow Godolphin color bearer was turning heads just 12 months earlier when an excellent 3-for-3. Unfortunately, an injury and subsequent recovery sidelined him throughout 2019, though the latest reports are that he should be back for a reasonably full 2020 campaign. Hopefully, his best is yet to come.