Archive for the ‘Breeders’ Cup Countdown’ Category

Pre-Entry deadline begins countdown

October 25, 2010

We’ve drawn now to only 12 days out of Breeders’ Cup 27 as the two-day extravaganza begins a week from Friday.  The deadline for pre-entries is tomorrow at 12:00 EDT and the fields will be announced on Wednesday.  For those of you interested in getting your handicapping started early, the Breeders’ Cup Advance Edition will be released by the Daily Racing Form on Wednesday.

In Breeders’ Cup related news, two of the main contenders for the $5 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic worked out this morning.  A recap of Blame‘s drill on the Polytrack can be found by clicking here as noted DRF clocker Mike Welsch caught the move at Keeneland.  Quality Road also worked five furlongs this morning and a recap of that move can be found here from the New York Racing Association.  Gio Ponti worked five furlongs in company with stablemate Winchester, who is pointing to the $3 Million Breeders’ Cup Turf.  Gio Ponti’s connections announced that he will be pre-entered in both the Classic and $2 Million Breeders’ Cup Mile, with a decision on where he will run coming the following week.

If you missed it, an announcement was made yesterday that Arc winner Workforce will be pre-entered in the Turf.  He will make his North American debut at Churchill Downs provided there is a bit of rain in Louisville leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.  His involvement gives Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farm a very strong hand in each of the three turf events for older horses in the Breeders’ Cup.  Midday will be a heavy favorite to win her 2nd straight Filly & Mare Turf and Proviso rates a strong chance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Trainer Bill Mott announce that 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Courageous Cat is no longer under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.  He was a strong 3rd in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on October 9 and seemed poised to make his 2nd start off a long layoff at Churchill but let’s hope he’ll just be freshened for a 2011 campaign.  Trainer Al Stall, Jr. said that he plans to enter Breeders’ Futurity winner J. B.’s Thunder in the $2 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but will wait to see which post position he draws before making a final decision on his involvement.

I’ll be back as the week progresses with news and notes on the 14 Breeders’ Cup races and will post the pre-entered fields for each right here.  An updated Breeders’ Cup Countdown will be posted on Tuesday.  Until then, enjoy a look at the last Breeders’ Cup Classic we saw at Churchill Downs.

 

 

Breeders’ Cup Countdown: The Saturday Slate

October 23, 2010

Last week’s rankings focused solely on the Friday races scheduled for Breeders’ Cup XXVII.  Here is a look at the 8 races slated to go on Saturday, November 6, 2010, only two weeks from today!

JUVENILE TURF:

1.) Biondetti – With the Americans not really distinguishing themselves this undefeated Group I winner in Italy will fire a big shot.  His Gran Criterium win is available here and was very impressive.

2.) Rogue Romance – A last to first win in the Bourbon showed his versatility as he broke his maiden at the Spa while contesting the pace.  Here’s to hoping he lands here rather than the Juvenile.

3.) Air  Support – Many are going to say that he got the better of Soldat because of the surface and better trip but the With Anticipation is simply not a fair race to judge these two.

4.) Banned – Handy allowance winner at Keeneland has come to hand at once with consecutive victories for a very hot barn.

5.) Soldat – The nation’s first graded stakes winner on turf among the juveniles as he crushed the field at Saratoga.  His price for this event improved with a loss to Air Support.

DIRT MILE:

1.) Tizway – Earned a much-deserved graded stakes win last time out and has kept terrific company during two injury plagued seasons.  This will be his coming out party.

2.) Here Comes Ben – His trainer has been on a tear at Keeneland and Churchill is his home track.  His Forego win opened everyone’s eyes and the mile distance is right up his alley.

3.) Crown of Thorns – Everyone’s darling off a strong effort in the Goodwood but this will be his dirt debut.  When he’s been healthy he’s been good enough to make noise in a race like this.

4.) Aikenite – While he can be called unproven against graded stakes foes, he’s returning to the trip that has yielded his two best performances (allowance win at Belmont, runner-up in Derby Trial).

5.) Gayego – Presque Isle win was decisive and this distance seems ideal for him, but his dirt efforts have left a bit to be desired and he’s sure to be overbet.

TURF SPRINT:

1.) Chamberlain Bridge – His trip at Keeneland in the Woodford was absolutely dreadful and Churchill has treated him well over the years.

2.) Silver Timber – After a defeat at short odds at Saratoga he was largely forgotten but the comebacker was solid, albeit with a perfect trip.

3.) Rose Catherine – Facing males is uncharted territory but this gal is an absolute win machine.  Her tactical speed makes her very dangerous.

4.) Grand Adventure – His Nearctic runner-up finish was better than it looks as he was close to the rapid pace that completely melted down.

5.) Central City – He will lead the brigade to the front end in what’s shaping up as a frenetic opening half-mile.  Don’t discredit his ability to get brave.

JUVENILE:

1.) Jaycito – He has ground to make up on the two favorites in this affair but it’s shaping up as a fast-paced race and he’ll certainly be in line to benefit from such a setup.

2.) Boys at Tosconova – He’s the poster child for the underwhelming campaigns of good horses nowadays but his trainer is deadly when given 60+ days to get a horse ready.

3.) Uncle Mo – Unbeaten and untested but there are question marks about whether he can rate, a 2nd turn and what exactly was behind him in those two smashing wins.

4.) To Honor and Serve – Really hope they opt to stay conservative with this colt and run him in softer races up in NY but he has a world of ability and will be dangerous off a smashing maiden win.

5.) J P’s Gusto – It looked like the pack had caught up to him when he gave way in the Norfolk at Hollywood but his accomplishments this year are vast.

MILE:

1.) Gio Ponti – Is it blasphemy to go against two-time defending champion Goldikova?  Perhaps but the Mile looks like a great spot for this Eclipse Champion off of a scintillating prep race.

2.) Goldikova – She’s back for Round 3 and will be at a new locale after dominating at Santa Anita.  She might be even better going into this try and will be awfully tough to beat.

3.) Paco Boy – Goldikova has been his Kryptonite with two narrow losses to her this year.  The firmer turf in America may help his chances as he caps a terrific career.

4.) The Usual Q.T. – He moved a tad prematurely in the Woodbine Mile but finished strongly.  He’s going to need to run the race of his life but has been admirably consistent on turf over the last 15 months.

5.) Courageous Cat – The 2009 runner-up will be making his 2nd start off a long layoff and probably gained a great deal in the Shadwell Mile.  An improved effort would hardly surprise.

SPRINT:

1.) Warrior’s Reward – Needs to uncoil that big long stride a little earlier than he’s accustomed to but his best efforts have come over this strip and every new player in here seems to be a speedster.

2.) Big Drama – His consistency is admirable and training at Calder will guarantee he has a great deal of stamina when he tries the biggest test of his career.

3.) Girolamo – The cutback looked like a good idea with a win in a weaker than normal Vosburgh.  He’s going to be overbet in here but rates a big chance.

4.)  Smiling Tiger – Rapidly improving 3YO won the Ancient Title with a gritty stretch drive.  Dirt is a question but his trainer is well versed with it.

5.) E Z’s Gentleman – Needed a race when 3rd behind Smiling Tiger and won his only start over this track on Derby day.

TURF:

1.) Behkabad – Arc 4th place finisher will have a great opportunity to avenge his defeat at Churchill in a race that keeps losing major contenders.

2.) Workforce – His participation is in doubt and you have to wonder if he’ll be ready off of a strong Arc win.  No Arc winner has ever won the Breeders’  Cup in the same year.

3.) Al Khali – Best of American hopefuls exits a tough trip 4th place finish in the Canadian International.  He needs a clean run in Louisville.

4.) Debussy – Arlington Million hero was a bit dull in the Champion at Newmarket but he was taken out of his preferred running style in there.

5.) Winchester – He’s the most accomplished of the American based hopefuls for this thing.  However, no one’s confusing him as one of the favorites in here given the top two.

CLASSIC:

1.) Blame – Blemish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup does not take away from his strong season and serious win credentials at his favorite track.

2.) Zenyatta – The perfect mare is poised to try for a 2nd straight Breeders’ Cup Classic but will meet her toughest challenge yet.

3.) Lookin at Lucky – The best of the 3YOs won his prep handily and will certainly roll into Louisville well-prepared by a masterful trainer.

4.) Quality Road – Must move forward off of a Woodward that was not as good as it appears on paper.  Pace scenario in Louisville may work against him.

5.) Fly Down – Could be the surprise package in this affair as his JCGC was a strong race.  Win over the track makes him appealing at a price.

Pre-Entries for the Breeders’ Cup will be released on Wednesday.  Until then, best of luck at the races!

Breeders’ Cup Countdown: The Friday Slate

October 18, 2010

We’re less than three weeks away from the 27th Breeders’ Cup, contested over two days at Churchill Downs on November 5th and 6th.  Each week leading up to it I’ll run down my top 5 in each division, which will be updated based on defections and different choices made by connections.  Here’s Part I, with Friday’s races as today’s focus.  Saturday’s races will be posted tomorrow.

MARATHON:

1.) A. U. Miner – Greenwood Cup winner finished a game third at Hawthorne and should appreciate
the longer trip under the Twin Spires.

2.) Prince Will I Am – Jamaica winner could end up here and he can seemingly run all day.  Sire won the Belmont and he broke his maiden over this track.

3.) Bright Horizon – Coolmore shipper just won a 2 mile event at The Curragh.  How he’ll handle the dirt is a huge question mark.

4.) Eldaafer – 2009 Brooklyn winner scored at Turfway in September and is actually better on conventional dirt.

5.) Alcomo  – 2010 Brooklyn winner can run all day but will come in fresh as he hasn’t been seen since July.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF:

1.) Winter Memories – Well-bred daughter of El Prado looked invincible making short work of
her Miss Grillo foes and looms one of the heaviest favorites of Day 1 of this year’s two-day bonanza.

2.) Tale Untold – Finished a close second in a big juvenile filly turf event across the pond and goes out for a trainer that’s had a huge year.

3.) New Normal – Natalma win at Woodbine looked even better after males went slower in the Summer that same afternoon.  Speedy filly will be on the engine.

4.) More Than Real – Bested by New Normal in first try against winners but her pedigree may prompt connections to try the dirt in the Juvenile Fillies.

5.) Together – Outfinished by Tale Untold but has already placed in another Group I in her juvenile season.  This outfit narrowly missed two years ago with Heart Shaped.

JUVENILE FILLIES:

1.) A Z Warrior – Dominating winner in the Frizette at Belmont as she proved clearly that dirt is her preferred surface.  She gives Bob Baffert a big chance for another Juvenile Fillies crown.

2.) More Than Real – Also a possibility for JF Turf but dirt could be in her future as her dam was a stakes winner on it.

3.) R Heat Lightning – Tough trip 2nd in the Frizette to the leader of this division but the important thing was that she handled the added ground without issue.

4.) Awesome Feather – South Florida invader has cleaned up on soft competition at Calder and has a pedigree that makes you say, “huh?” but she sure can run.

5.) Tell a Kelly – The last filly standing from a weak group out west handled two turns and more ground easily and is a logical contender.

FILLY AND MARE SPRINT:

1.) Dubai Majesty – TCA winner is incredibly versatile and scored a handy win over this strip in the Winning Colors in May.

2.) Rightly So – Off since Ballerina victory at Saratoga and you know she’ll be out there early but could get rubber-legged late.

3.) Sara Louise – 4th place finisher in this race a year ago will go 2nd off a layoff in this spot.  Will have to improve off of her Gallant Bloom but her best puts her right there.

4.) Secret Gypsy – Multiple graded stakes winner will come in off a brief layoff but has had a strong, and largely unnoticed, 2010 campaign.

5.) Champagne d’Oro – Moving back to dirt will seriously help her chances as she ran a dull race at Keeneland.

FILLY AND MARE TURF:

1.) Midday – Defending champion comes in on a three-race winning streak and the only filly to
take her down this year is retired.

2.) Red Desire – Have to believe she can offer a bit more in this event than she did in the Flower Bowl, especially if the course comes up firm.

3.) Sarafina – Unclear whether she’s coming over but it’s a certainty she’ll have a major say in the outcome if she does off a 3rd place finish in the Arc.

4.) Hibaayeb – Showed how much farther along the Euros are in this category when she took the Yellow Ribbon off of consecutive thrashings across the pond.  Lasix obviously helped this gal.

5.) Reggane – EP Taylor winner looked very sharp at Woodbine but she was nowhere near a Group I type in Europe.

LADIES’ CLASSIC:

1.) Blind Luck – Soon to be Eclipse Award winning 3YO filly lost nothing in a narrow defeat to
Havre de Grace at Philly while spotting that rival ten pounds.

2.) Havre de Grace – Not much separates her and the top pick and you have to like the tactical advantage she has on Blind Luck.

3.) Life at Ten – The older fillies and mares have looked a little less impressive than the 3YO fillies as the year wore on but this gal is at the head of the bunch.

4.) Evening Jewel – Still think dirt might be her best surface and this is a more logical spot for her than the 7 furlong Filly and Mare Sprint.

5.) Unrivaled Belle – Hasn’t been quite the same since taking down Rachel Alexandra, but she’ll be going 2nd off a short layoff and returning to the site of her best effort.

Silks provided by Horse Racing Nation. Click here to view their Breeders’ Cup Dashboard.