With the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) shaping up as a showdown between older horse McKinzie and 3-year-old Code of Honor, and division standouts like Midnight Bisou and Bricks and Mortar looking to make their case for Horse of the Year honors, 188 horses have been pre-entered in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The event, featuring five races for juveniles or juvenile fillies Nov. 1 and nine more races Nov. 2, returns to Santa Anita Park for a record 10th time.

The number of pre-entries is down 15% from last year, when 221 horses were pre-entered for the event at Churchill Downs, which, like this year’s schedule, offered 14 races. The total is similar to the past two times the event was held in Southern California: 187 in 2017 at Del Mar and 185 in 2016 at Santa Anita, although those events had only 13 races.

This year’s event has drawn 47 pre-entries from horses conditioned overseas, four fewer than last year. Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered 17 horses, the most among trainers. Partnerships associated with Coolmore lead all owners with 18 pre-entries.

There were 50 horses pre-entered after qualifying for automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

There will be plenty of North American-based horses competing in races ahead of the Classic, which, as usual, will wrap up the racing Saturday. In the most recent NTRA Top 10 poll, the top four horses are runners who will be competing in races outside the Classic.

Topping that poll is Bricks and Mortar, who will look to cap a perfect season and secure a fifth grade 1 win this year when he starts in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T), which is listed as his first preference. He is also pre-entered in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T) as second preference. The Turf is shaping up as a showdown between Bricks and Mortar and four-time group 1-winning filly and last year’s Turf runner-up, Magical.

Midnight Bisou, second in the poll off an undefeated season that has included three grade 1 wins in her seven starts, is entered in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Perfect in three starts this year is Sistercharlie, who, like Bricks and Mortar, is trained by Chad Brown. Last year’s champion turf female, Sistercharlie, who is ranked third in the NTRA poll, will try for a second straight victory in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T).

Rounding out the poll’s top four is crack sprinter Mitole, who, like Midnight Bisou, is trained by Steve Asmussen. The Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) winner will look to secure a fourth grade 1 win this season in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

Those stars will race ahead of the $6 million, 1 1/4-mile Classic, where a pair of horses who scored big wins at Saratoga Race Course this year will meet for the first time: Whitney Stakes (G1) winner McKinzie, a 4-year-old son of Street Sense, and Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) winner Code of Honor, a 3-year-old son of Noble Mission.