Nonetheless, an interesting winner turned up in lightly raced 3-year-old Happy Saver, who showed determination in coming through on the inside to score by three-quarters of a length. Making just his fourth lifetime start, Happy Saver outran fellow 3-year-old Mystic Guide (winner of the 2020 Jim Dandy Stakes, USA-G2), and earned a "Win and You're In" slot for the Classic. Should he start and win, he would become the most lightly raced Classic winner ever; he would also be the first to win the race while unbeaten.
He would not be the first such winner for his family, however, for he comes from a distinguished clan indeed. Sired by 2010 Kentucky Derby (USA-G1) winner Super Saver, who is now in Turkey, Happy Saver is a great-grandson of 1992 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise, who scored a previous Breeders' Cup Classic success with her Seattle Slew son A.P. Indy.
A.P. Indy rode his Classic success to titles as the American champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year in 1992 and later became a champion sire and broodmare sire in North America, but he is far from Weekend Surprise's only claim to fame. The daughter of Secretariat also produced 1990 Preakness Stakes (USA-G1) winner Summer Squall (by Storm Bird), a good sire; Grade 3 winner Welcome Surprise (by Seeking the Gold); and listed stakes winner Eavesdropper (by Kingmambo).
As a Grade 3-winning daughter of a champion broodmare sire from a female family that has turned up top producers for generations, Weekend Surprise was a genetic treasure trove, and her descendants continue to share the wealth. A.P. Indy and Summer Squall were both expected to make good sires and did so, but their lesser half brothers Honor Grades (by Danzig; Grade 3-placed) and Tiger Ridge (by Storm Cat; winner) also became better sires than their race records warranted, spreading the influence of Weekend Surprise to New Zealand and South Africa, respectively. As for Weekend Surprise's daughters, five of them have become the first or second dams of graded or Group stakes winners.
The most recent addition to the quintet is Lassie's Legacy (by Deputy Minister), whose name alludes to her Grade 3-winning and multiple stakes-producing granddam Lassie Dear (by Buckpasser). She won only one of her eight starts and did not have any stakes winners among her eight named foals, but her multiple stakes-placed daughter Happy Week (by Distorted Humor) produced Happy Saver as her fifth foal. Happy Week's most recent foals are a 2019 Candy Ride filly named Happyfew and a 2020 full sister to Happy Saver, already given the name Happy Charger.
Happy Saver would have to defeat a substantially larger and deeper field to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, and even if he does, that might or might not give him an Eclipse Award in a year that has turned all manner of expectations inside out. It is to be hoped that he will reappear in 2021 and give everyone a chance to see whether he has the makings of a great champion or was just a pleasant surprise during a week in October.