Archive for October, 2012

McLaughlin benefitting from planning ahead

Though his horses are facing some of the toughest fields in this weekend’s 15-race Breeders’ Cup World Championships lineup, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin currently has one key advantage over some of his fellow East Coast-based brethren: He’s already at Santa Anita Park.

With Hurricane Sandy throttling the East Coast, travel plans for some of the more notable Breeders’ Cup contenders and their connections are – no pun intended – up in the air. Though a plane full of New York horses, including all of Bill Mott’s contingent, Grade I winner Point of Entry and undefeated champion Awesome Feather, got into Santa Anita Park Monday morning, likely Juvenile favorite Shanghai Bobby, stablemate Dreaming of Julia and multiple graded stakes winner Mucho Macho Man are among the horses who may not get out until Wednesday.

Count trainers Todd Pletcher, Shug McGaughey, Kathy Ritvo, and Graham Motion among the human pack trying to get out of dodge as well. Thanks to some fortuitous planning nearly a month ago, McLaughlin and his Breeders’ Cup lineup were able to escape from New York this past Saturday, saving himself the stress of being at Mother Nature’s mercy.

“We shipped on Saturday morning from Greentree (training center) to Newburgh which is two hours and then they flew on to Kentucky and flew on out here,” said McLaughlin, who will saddle Questing in the Ladies’ Classic, Emcee in the Dirt Mile, Alpha in the Classic, and Fortify in the Juvenile. “We feel very fortunate to have gotten out on Saturday. We got lucky, we planned it a month ago but the horses shipped great.”

While Questing is part of arguably the best field depth wise on the Breeders’ Cup card, Emcee has been training as strongly as any horse in McLaughlin’s care. The dark bay son of Unbridled’s Song – who had also been pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint,  took the Grade I Forego at Saratoga on September 1 and has thrown down bullet moves in each of his last four works, including a four furlong breeze in :47.40 at Greentree on October 26.

His quirky nerves have necessitated that Emcee be put in a special, more spacious stall while at Santa Anita.  At least McLaughlin’s nerves don’t have the added stress of merely trying to get his horses on the grounds for the biggest race of their careers.

“We had a decision to make with Emcee between the Dirt Mile and Sprint,” McLaughlin said. “We felt like the six furlongs is a little like the Kentucky Derby with a full field – one has a great trip and 12 of them have a rough trip. The Dirt Mile takes all that out of it, no bad post. He’s never been a mile or a two turns but we feel like he can do it and wants to do it.”

 

 

Game On Dude works for Breeders’ Cup Classic

From today’s Santa Anita Park notes:

Likely Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Game On Dude worked seven furlongs under regular rider Rafael Bejarano on Santa Anita’s dirt track Sunday morning in 1:25 for next Saturday’s $5 million World Championship event at 1 ¼ miles.

Game On Dude, who worked in company with Blueskiesnrainbows (six furlongs in 1:13.60), was one of 12 Baffert horses on Sunday’s work tab.

Others in their final major drills for their Breeders’ Cup engagements next Friday and Saturday included Sprint contenders Coil and Capital Account, one-two finishers in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, four furlongs in 48.20 and 48.60, respectively; Fast Bullet (Sprint), four furlongs in 48.20; Power Broker (Juvenile), ridden by Bejarano, in company with Title Contender (Juvenile), each a bullet 59 flat for five furlongs.

Also, Fed Biz (Dirt Mile), four furlongs in 48 flat, breezing; and Contested (Filly & Mare Sprint), six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.40.

“He worked like he’s been working right along,” Baffert said matter-of-factly of Game On Dude, owned in part by baseball icon Joe Torre. “It was his last workout (before the Classic). So far, so good.

“Coil and Capital Account went really nice; Fast Bullet went real nice, and Power Broker went real nice with Title Contender. Contested worked really fast early but I didn’t think she was going that fast.”

Baffert said he was satisfied with how his Breeders’ Cup candidates were doing at the moment, but cautioned, “a lot can happen in a week.”

In other Breeders’ Cup news:

 

Unbeaten My Miss Aurelia (Ladies’ Classic) worked four furlongs for Steve Asmussen in 48 seconds, breezing. “Very happy, very excited” is how the trainer summed up the move.

Juniper Pass (Marathon) worked five furlong for trainer Ray Bell in 1:00.60, while Monument (Juvenile) went six furlongs for John Sadler in 1:13.20.

Turf workers at Santa Anita Sunday included Bridgetown (Turf Sprint) and Doubles Partner (Mile) for Todd Pletcher, four furlongs in the identical time of 46.80; California Flag (Turf Sprint), four furlongs under Joe Talamo in a bullet 46.20 for Brian Koriner; and Tale of a Champion (Turf Sprint), four furlongs in 47 flat for Kristin Mulhall.

Bourbon Bay was declared from the Turf by trainer Neil Drysdale.

Know More, pre-entered in the Juvenile and the Juvenile Turf, will run in the Juvenile Turf, trainer Doug O’Neill said.

Amazombie’s fourth in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6 was the worst finish in his last 18 starts. The defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint king had never been worse than third in 17 straight races prior to that, winning nine and being disqualified from a 10th when he was moved from first to third in the Los Angeles Handicap in May of 2011.

Since a maiden victory in her first start on Dec. 13, 2009, the John Sadler-trained Switch (Filly & Mare Sprint) has run in stakes races 22 straight times, 13 of them Grade I’s, winning two and earning more than $1.3 million for owners Lee and Susan Searing (CRK Stable).

Three flights carrying European-trained horses entered to run in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships next Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, and one more shipment is due Monday.

First to arrive Saturday around 12 noon was a private charter from England with four runners owned by Dubai’s Maktoum family that originated from Stanstead Airport near London.

Next to arrive was a flight from Luxembourg with French-trained contenders early evening after a refueling stop in Winnipeg, Canada, and another flight touching down soon after from Stanstead with English-trained runners as well as one for Irish-based trainer Dermot Weld.

The fourth and final flight from Europe due Monday will be a private charter from Ireland with the Coolmore team eight strong trained by Aidan O’Brien, led by defending 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf hero St Nicholas Abbey and Excelebration, one of the favorites for the Mile.

Breeders’ Cup decision still looms for Dullahan

From today’s Santa Anita Park notes:

Multiple Grade I winner Dullahan worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s dirt track Saturday morning under Tammy Fox in a minute flat, after which trainer Dale Romans said a decision on whether the Pacific Classic winner would run in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic or the $3 million Turf at Santa Anita next Saturday would likely not be rendered before Monday’s deadline.

“I thought he went really good,” Romans said shortly after the 9 a.m. drill. “I haven’t talked to her (Fox) yet, but he went fast and he looked good doing it.”

Dullahan is pre-entered for the Classic at 1 ¼ miles on dirt and the Turf at 1 ½ miles.

“We’ll talk to her and Jerry (Crawford, owner, who races as Donegal Racing). It’ll be Jerry’s decision. We’ll have a meeting with her and see what she says. There’s no rush, but by entry time on Monday, we’ll have it settled by then.”

Dullahan’s three career wins have all come on synthetic surfaces. The 3-year-old son of Even the Score is winless in four turf starts and winless in six races on traditional dirt.

Asked his thoughts about that, Romans was resigned to his fate. “Well,” he said, “they wouldn’t change this to Poly for me, so there’s nothing I can do about it. We’ll see what happens.”

Shackleford, second in last year’s Dirt Mile, went five furlongs with Fox up in a minute flat as the 2011 Preakness winner prepares for another go in the Dirt Mile. Also for Romans, Little Mike (Turf or Mile) worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s grass course in 1:01.80, while Moonwalk (Juvenile Fillies Turf) went the same distance in 1:01.60.

Also, unbeaten Juvenile Fillies favorite Executiveprivilege worked six furlongs for Bob Baffert in 1:14.20 in company with stablemate Sir Allison, who was clocked in 1:14.80. Martin Garcia was aboard Executiveprivilege, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano in the Juvenile Fillies.

Elsewhere: Super Ninety Nine (Juvenile Sprint) worked five furlongs for Baffert in 59.40 with stablemate Candrea, who was timed in 1:00.60; Marathon contender Commander, winner of his last six starts, worked five furlongs for trainer Troy Taylor in 1:00.40; Smiling Tiger (Sprint) went four furlongs from the gate in a bullet 46.80 for Jeff Bonde; Love and Pride (Ladies’ Classic) and Tara from the Cape (Juvenile Fillies Turf) worked in company on the main track for Todd Pletcher, each going in 48 seconds flat;

Also, Capo Bastone (Juvenile), six furlongs in 1:11.60; Lady of Shamrock (Filly & Mare Turf), seven furlongs in 1:28.20; Under Review (Juvenile Turf), six furlongs on grass in 1:14.60 and Switch (F&M Sprint), six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.20, each worked for John Sadler; Second City (Sprint and Dirt Mile), six furlongs in 1:14 for Ben Cecil; and John Scott (Dirt Mile), five furlongs in 1:00.40 for Carla Gaines.

“Her work was good,” Sadler said of Switch’s second straight bullet move. “She’s ready to go. She likes this track and she likes this distance (six furlongs).”

Other turf workers Saturday included Gervinho (Juvenile Turf, four furlongs in 48.40 for Carla Gaines); In Lingerie (F&M Turf, four furlongs in a bullet 46.60 for Todd Pletcher); Turbo Compressor (Turf, four furlongs in 47.40, also for Pletcher); Reneesgotzip (F&M Sprint, five furlongs in 59.40 for Peter Miller); Dry Summer (Juvenile Turf, six furlongs in 1:13.80 for Jeff Mullins); Stormy Lucy (F&M Turf, six furlongs in 1:14.60 for Frank Lucarelli); and Bourbon Bay (Turf, six furlongs in 1:13.40 for Neil Drysdale).

Renee’s Queen was 38-1 when she won Del Mar’s Juvenile Fillies Turf on Sept. 3 and will be of like odds if she runs in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, but that doesn’t dissuade Eric Guillot.

“I’ve won eight graded stakes with horses that were 25-1 or higher,” the trainer said.

 

Among Breeders’ Cup candidates scheduled to work at Santa Anita Sunday are Classic favorite Game On Dude and Turf Sprint contender California Flag, winner of that event in 2009.

 

ROMANS, SHACKLEFORD TURN BARN 76 INTO EQUINE THEATRE

 

Thanks in large part to the power of Twitter, Facebook and the welcoming hospitality of trainer Dale Romans and crew, a crowd of approximately 80 horse lovers descended upon Santa Anita’s Barn 76 at 11 a.m. Saturday, as Romans presented stable stars Shackleford (Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile), Little Mike (Breeders’ Cup Turf ), and Dullahan (Turf or Classic) to the enthusiastic gathering, most of whom were armed with cameras.

“This is all thanks to Laura Hernan,” said the self-effacing Romans. “She handles our social media and she said we’ve been getting all kinds of requests to meet ‘Shack,’ and so I decided today would be the best day to try and accommodate as many people as possible.

“Both ‘Shack’ and Dullahan worked five eighths this morning and they both went in a minute, which is the third best time of the morning.”

Along with a large gathering of fans, HRTV was on hand to document the “Meet and Greet,” as Romans first addressed questions regarding how his horses trained earlier and then brought each horse out individually to pose for pictures.

Before Romans brought out his first horse, Little Mike, a winner of this year’s Arlington Million, one of the attendees told Romans, “Somebody (in media) said that Shackleford worked too fast and that he might be over the top.”

To which Romans quipped, “Tell him to get a trainer’s license . . . He trains fast and he runs fast.”

Next out was recent Pacific Classic winner Dullahan, of whom Romans said, “This is the only horse in the history of racing who has three wins and all three have been in Grade I races.”

When asked if Dullahan would be entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the 1 ½-mile Turf, Romans said, “I’ll talk to Tammy (Fox, who is Roman’s chief exercise rider, assistant and life partner) tonight and we’ll make a decision. If was up to me, I’d run him in the Classic, but we’ll discuss it.”

The morning’s main event came when Romans paged Shackleford, a winner of last year’s Preakness and this year’s Grade I Metropolitan Mile Handicap and Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes.

When the 4-year-old son of Forestry emerged from his shedrow, there was no doubt that he is the Romans’ stable star. The striking chestnut posed calmly with his ears pricked and turned his head from time to time to take in the shutter-clicking throng.

“Shackleford, he knows he’s the king,” said Romans. “He’s an absolutely special horse. When he won the Preakness, they always have a big party at the barn afterwards and there must’ve been a thousand people come by to pet him.”

After approximately five minutes, Romans asked if anyone had a mint. Several people said they did, and at that point, Romans allowed about 25 people, mainly small children, to come forward and have their picture taken with the barn’s leading man.

“I always thought he was a super cool horse and we wanted to give him a good name,” said co-owner and breeder Mike Lauffer, who had been on-hand earlier for Shackleford’s final Breeders’ Cup breeze. “We visit North Carolina a lot and the Shackleford Banks are part of the barrier islands off the coast. They are populated by wild horses that are believed to be descendents of a Spanish shipwreck in the 1700s.”

Champion Animal Kingdom works at Keeneland in advance of Breeders’ Cup

It has been a long and taxing road to get to this point. But on a perfect fall morning Friday, that last serious piece of work toward champion Animal Kingdom’s return to the races took place over the Keeneland turf.

Team Valor’s 2011 winner of the Kentucky Derby put in his last major move in advance of his expected start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, covering five furlongs in 1:02.60 on the turf, working in company with Badleroibrown.

With trainer Graham Motion watching from the grandstand, Animal Kingdom broke off a few lengths behind his stablemate but had picked up enough to draw even around the turn. The two continued through the lane about on even terms before Animal Kingdom edged away, finishing about a half length in front.

“I just wanted him to do a nice work kind of within himself, and I think that’s what he did,” Motion said afterwards. “I was a little surprised how soft the (turf) was. I think it worked out very well. He’s had some hard works at Fair Hill (in Maryland), so it wasn’t about him having a real hard work today. I wanted him to do something within himself before he leaves tomorrow.”

Animal Kingdom has not raced since winning a 1 1/16-miles allowance race on the Gulfstream Park turf  in February. The well-muscled son of Leroidesanimaux was then sidelined with a stress fracture of the ilium  that knocked him out of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

In coming back in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park, Animal Kingdom is definitely being thrown into the deep end. Among the challengers he isto face are multiple Grade I winner Wise Dan and Group I winners Excelebration and Moonlight Cloud.

“I’d be afraid to do it with some horses, but he’s just got such a remarkable attitude,” Motion said of Animal Kingdom. “It’s a big challenge. Just really everything has gone without  a hiccup. For fear of jinxing myself, he hasn’t missed a work, he hasn’t missed a week. If anything had gotten in the way, I wouldn’t have done this, but he’s gotten us here.  It’s kind of hard to come back and find a race for a Derby winner.”

Algorithms to enter stud at Claiborne

Starlight Racing’s undefeated Algorithms, who was retired from racing earlier this month, will enter stud at Claiborne Farm for 2013, according to an announcement made by farm representative Bernie Sams.  The son of leading sire Bernardini will stand for $7,500 and will be syndicated.

Trained by Todd Pletcher Algorithms, won three races in three starts.  He broke his maiden in June of his 2-year-old year at Belmont by 5 1/4 lengths, ran down the competition to win an allowance race at Gulfstream by a length, then propelled himself onto the national stage with a convincing five-length win over champion Hansen in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes.

“This horse was very straightforward.  He was one of everyone’s favorites as a yearling and came to us early because he did everything right,” said Pletcher.  “He went from an impressive maiden win to a competitive allowance race, then successfully took a big step up in the Holy Bull.”

Algorithms was slated to run in the Grade II Fountain of Youth against eventual Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags but was scratched the day of the race due to a splint on his right front leg.

“I thought this horse was one of the best prospects I’ve bought in years,” said Frank Brothers, who purchased Algorithms for Starlight Racing.  “He had a presence, great balance and conformation, and was light on his feet.  He has the pedigree, was out of a top class mare – he looked to have the whole package.”

Bred in Kentucky by Oakbrook Farm, Algorithms is  out of the graded stakes mare Ava Knowsthecode, who is the dam of four graded stakes winners.  In addition to Algorithms, she has produced Hutcheson Stakes winner Keyed Entry; Miami Mile winner Successful Mission; and Woody Stephens winner Justin Phillip.

Second Lasix mix up occurs at Keeneland

For the second time during the Keeneland Fall Meet, a mix up happened with regards to a horse on the card being administered the anti-bleeder medication Lasix by state veterinarians.

On Wednesday, the Paul McGee-trained Infrattini won the day’s fourth race despite not being given the pre-race shot of Lasix as requested by his connections. According to Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the mistake happened when information regarding Infrattini’s location was not updated in the record-keeping system that says which horses are to receive the race-day medication.

“It was our mistake,” Scollay said. “The horse was originally scheduled to be in the receiving barn and the trainer elected to bring him to his Barn 23. He notified the stall man, the stall man notified us. We made incomplete changes in our records.

“We have two different record keeping systems. One is for the pre-race exam that is computerized and that information was updated. So the veterinarian for the pre-race exam saw the horse. The problem was we have a separate record keeping system for the Lasix and the location was not changed on the Lasix records. The location change was not recorded on the Lasix paperwork and by the time we realized the horse hasd not been treated, we were past the deadline and we reported it to the stewards.”

McGee said the state veterinarians were apologetic and that he was given the option to scratch Infrattini, who was sent off as the 7-to-5 favorite.

“They did mention they are trying to iron things out and get it right,” McGee said. “Obviously it’s not what I wanted to happen but it did.”
“Obviously we don’t want to make mistakes,” Scollay added. “We’re pleased the horse was able to compete and we’re pleased the horse was successful and that his owner and trainer didn’t suffer any consequences.”

The start of the Keeneland meet marked the beginning of a new commission rule that states private veterinarians are no longer allowed to administer race-day Lasix and that such practice is only allowed to be carried out by state vets.  On the opening day of the meet, the Rusty Arnold-trained Exothermic was mistakenly given a Lasix shot when he was not supposed to receive one.

Lasix has to be administered no closer than four hours out from a horse’s race. In order to prevent a mistake like the one that occurred Wednesday from  happening again, Scollay said they would now do a roll call by radio five minutes to each race’s Lasix deadline to ensure that each horse scheduled to be treated has.

“In September, Turfway recored seven horses  that were not treated (by the deadline) and those were by private vets,” Scollay said. “Human mistakes are going to get made and all you can to do is try to not to repeat mistakes that were made in the past. The horseman have been very cooperative and we are confident this (new rule) will be successful.”

Upperline withdrawn from Fasig-Tipton sale, retired to Stone Farm

The owners of 2012 multiple graded gtakes winner Upperline announced Wednesday they have made the unanimous decision to withdraw the 5-year-old mare from the Nov. 5 Fasig-Tipton Select Sale  in order to keep her in partnership as a broodmare.

The daughter of Maria’s Mon,  who most recently scored a victory in the Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland, on Oct. 21, will retire to Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm.

Partners Mike Stidham, John Adger, Jack Hodge and  Hancock all agreed that, while Upperline certainly has commercial appeal, she also has everything they could hope for in a broodmare prospect – ability, pedigree, class and conformation.

“She has given us so much of herself with her courageous performances on the race track that we decided we didn’t want to let her go,”  Hancock said in a release.  “Instead, we are looking forward to her promising career as a broodmare and to the foals she will produce.”

Bred by Stonerside Stable and trained by Michael Stidham, Upperline raced four years and was graded stakes-placed at two, as well as being a stakes winner at three, four, and five.  She won nine races and placed another nine times, including 15 stakes races, and has the unique distinction of having won her first start at 7 furlongs and her last start at 1 1/2 miles.  In addition to the recent win at Keeneland, Upperline’s notable victories include the Grade III Arlington Matron, the Bewitch  and the Arlington Oaks.   She retires with earnings of $772,988.

UPPERLINE will arrive at Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky, later this week.

Total of 180 pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Breeders’ Cup release:

Led by multiple Grade I winner Game On Dude, defending Ladies’ Classic champion Royal Delta, dominating turf stars Wise Dan and  Point of Entry,  and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, 180 horses, including eight defending or former Breeders’ Cup Champions, have been pre-entered for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 2 and 3.

The total of 180 pre-entries is down slightly from 2011, when 193 horses were pre-entered for the 15-race, two-day event. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Santa Anita Park after being contested at Churchill Downs for the past two years. There will be six Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Friday and nine Breeders’ Cup races on Championship Saturday.

 

The Breeders’ Cup will be televised live by the NBC Sports Network and NBC. For the first time, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be televised live and in prime time on NBC (8-9 p.m. ET).

 

Since the event’s inception in 1984, 11 winners of the Classic have been voted Thoroughbred racing’s Horse of the Year, and this year, several horses could lay claim to that title with a Classic victory. This Classic is led by 5-year-old Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert. In 2011, Game on Dude held the lead into deep stretch in the Classic at Churchill Downs, only to be overtaken in the final yards by 15-1 Drosselmeyer.

 

This year, Game On Dude has returned to win four races in six starts, including the Californian, the Hollywood Gold Cup and most recently the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park, where he has won all five of his career starts. Baffert has won eight Breeders’ Cup races in his Hall of Fame career, but has yet to win the Classic.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott won last year’s Classic with Drosselmeyer. Mott, who also trained 1995 Classic winner Cigar, has pre-entered four horses for this year’s race: Ron the Greek, Flat Out and To Honor and Serve. Champion filly Royal Delta has been pre-entered in the Classic as a second choice with first preference for the Ladies’ Classic.

Others pre-entered for the Classic include Grade I winners Alpha, Brilliant Speed, Dullahan, Fort Larned, Richard’s Kid and Pool Play along with Handsome Mike, Mucho Macho Man, Nonios. Nonios has been cross-entered, with first preference in the Dirt Mile, while Dullahan has second preference in the Turf.

Morton Fink’s homebred gelding Wise Dan, one of the most versatile horses in training this year, leads this year’s pre-entered field of 13 for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 5-year-old son of Wiseman’s Ferry has won 4 of 5 this year, his lone defeat coming by a nose in Churchill’s Grade I Stephen Foster on the main track to Ron the Greek. Trained by Charlie Lopresti, Wise Dan broke a track record in winning Keeneland’s Ben Ali in April and has won three straight on turf this summer, the Fourstardave at Saratoga, the Woodbine Mile in September and Keeneland’s Shadwell Turf Mile in his last start October 6. A Mile victory would place Wise Dan squarely in the Horse of the Year picture.

The Mile also is set to mark the return of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who has not started since winning an optional claiming race at Gulfstream on Feb. 18 for Team Valor International and trainer Graham Motion.  Little Mike, who won the Arlington Million in August and the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans, will cut back for the Mile.

Europeans have enjoyed great success in the Mile and will be led by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s 4-year-old Excelebration who gained an automatic berth into the race with his Breeders’ Cup Challenge win at Deauville in the Group I Prix Jacques le Marois on August 12.  Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Excelebration  followed up that triumph by winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 2.

Freddy Head trained Goldikova to an unprecedented three consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile wins. This year he brings George Strawbridge Jr.’s 4-year-old filly Moonlight Cloud, who nearly defeated Black Caviar at Royal Ascot in June in the Diamond Jubilee, but since then has won two major races in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville and the Prix de Moulin at Longchamp on September 16.

 

Championship Friday will feature one of the most talented fields ever for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles. Besilu Stable’s 4-year-old filly Royal Delta, the defending champion, leads the nine pre-entered. The 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, trained by Mott, looks ready to defend her title off a romping 9 ½-length win in Belmont’s Sept. 29 “Win and You’re In” Beldame.  She added that victory to her wins in the Delaware Handicap  in July and Churchill’s Fleur de Lis in June.

Royal Delta’s many challengers include Stronach Stable’s Awesome Feather, who will put her unbeaten 10-for-10 record on the line for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Of Course won the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs in 2010 to cap off a championship  2-year-old season and, after battling tendon issues, returned from an eight month layoff to win Belmont’s Nasty Storm by 11 ¼ lengths in a dazzling 1:33.47 for the 1-mile in her Ladies’ Classic prep.

Love and Pride and Jay Em Ess Stable’s Include Me Out, the 1-3 finishers of Santa Anita’s Grade I Zenyatta on September 29, are two 4-year-old fillies who have been pre-entered. The former, a 4-year-old daughter of 1992 Classic winner A.P. Indy trained by Todd Pletcher, enters in career form, having also won the Saratoga’s Personal Ensign in August over Royal Delta. Include Me Out, a 4-year-old daughter of Include, earned an automatic berth into the Ladies’ Classic with her win in Del Mar’s Clement Hirsch in August for trainer Ron Ellis, and won a pair of graded stakes at Santa Anita this winter in the La Canada in January and Santa Margarita in March.

The 3-year-old fillies are extremely formidable in the Ladies’ Classic, led by  My Miss Aurelia, the reigning Juvenile Fillies winner and Godolphin Racing’s homebred Questing, the 1-2 finishers of Parx Racing’s Cotillion on September 22. My Miss Aurelia is a daughter of Smart Strike who stayed unbeaten in six lifetime starts with her determined head victory over Questing, a daughter of Hard Spun who won the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama this summer at Saratoga for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.


Royal Delta, Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia, Amazombie (Sprint), Musical Romance (Filly & Mare Sprint), California Flag (Turf Sprint), St Nicholas Abbey (Turf) and Eldaafer (Marathon) are all defending or returning champions pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

In defending his title in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, run at 1½ miles, St. Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom earlier this year, is expected to face a major test in the Phipps Stable’s 4-year-old Point of Entry, who has won five in a row and three straight Grade I’s: the Man ’o War at Belmont in July, Sword Dancer at Saratoga in August and the Turf Classic at Belmont September 29. Slim Shadey and Turbo Compressor, the 1-2 finishers of Santa Anita’s John Henry September 30, are also pre-entered.

The complement for the Turf is the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, run at 1 ¼ miles on Championship Friday. Glen Hill Farm’s 4-year-old filly Marketing Mix earned a berth into the race with her course and distance win in the Rodeo Drive on Sept. 29, and along with Zagora, second in Belmont’s Flower Bowl (GI) Sept. 29, tops the U.S. contingent. Their task could be a tall one, however, as several Europeans have already been pre-entered, led by Nahrain, second in the Filly & Mare Turf last year, who earned a berth into this year’s race with her win in the Flower Bowl  at Belmont Park; I’m a Dreamer, winner of Arlington Park’s Beverly D. in August; Ridasiyna, a winner of 4-of-5 starts this year, including the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp, and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Fugue, second in the Yorkshire Oaks.

This year, both the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint will be run on Breeders’ Cup Saturday. Defending champion 5-year-old mare Musical Romance returns in the 7-furlong Filly & Mare Sprint against the 4-year-old Groupie Doll, a winner of four consecutive graded stakes races, including most recently the Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland; and Test Stakes  winner Contested, for trainer Bob Baffert.

Trainer Bill Spawr has the 6-year-old gelding Amazombie back to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Amazombie, a winner twice in five starts this year, including the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar, and two Baffert runners, Coil, who won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, and Capital Account, who won the Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar, lead the West Coast contingent. From the East comes 3-year-old The Lumber Guy, winner of the Vosburgh Stakes, and Forego Handicap winner Emcee for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

The 2011 Preakness winner, Shackleford, returns to try to improve on his second-place finish in last year’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile against Kelso Handicap winner Jersey Town and San Diego Handicap winner Rail Trip.

Each year, the 2-year-olds bring a certain air of excitement to the Breeders’ Cup, with the present meshing with thoughts of the future, and this year should be no different as both the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies are loaded with potential. The Juvenile Fillies offers a scintillating matchup between the West Coast’s divisional leader Executiveprivilege and the East Coast’s counterpart Dreaming of Julia, who are a combined 8-for-8, with the former earning an automatic berth in the track and distance Chandelier Stakes on Sept. 29, and the latter earning a berth with a win in Belmont’s Frizette on Oct. 6.

The Juvenile could culminate a perfect season for Shanghai Bobby, who twice earned automatic berths into the race with wins in Saratoga’s Hopeful in September and Belmont’s Champagne on Oc. 6. Stiff opposition could come from track and distance winner Power Broker, who broke his maiden and gained an automatic berth in the Grade I FrontRunner Sept. 29 for Baffert.

A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 15 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races, with the exception of the Dirt Mile (12). Breeders’ Cup Limited has adopted a field selection system to select runners in the event that fields are oversubscribed. This system ranks horses in order of preference based on Breeders’ Cup Challenge race winners, a point system, and the judgment of a panel of racing experts.  The field-selection system was implemented after the taking of pre-entries on Monday to rank the oversubscribed fields.  The Racing Secretaries and Directors Panel ranked all horses pre-entered in the oversubscribed races.  After pre-entry, any vacancies in the fields will be filled by horses in order of panel preference. Entry for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will be by 10 a.m. PDT on Oct. 29.  At the time of entry, a maximum of 14 horses (or 12) will be accepted for each race based on the order of preference established at pre-entry.

 

There will be one or two also-eligible horses for each Championship race. The also-eligible horses will be designated in accordance with the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel’s order of preference for each Championship race that is oversubscribed at the time of pre-entry. Scratch time for all Championships races to be contested on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday will be 8 a.m. PT Nov. 2.

Breeders’ Cup race order finalized

 The Breeders’ Cup announced today the final race order for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park. While all of the Friday races will remain in the same order when announced earlier this month, there were three changes made to the Saturday program.

The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (formerly Race #8) will now be run as the sixth race on Saturday. The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (formerly Race #10) will now be run as the eighth race and the $1.5 million  Breeders’ Cup Sprint (formerly Race #6) will now be run as the 10th race.

“With the Sprint drawing a large and talented field this year, we thought it would be best for our fans to bolster the latter portion of Saturday’s card by placing it in third to last position, preceding the Mile and the Classic,” said Bob Elliston, Breeders’ Cup Chief Operating Officer. “Closing Saturday’s card with the Turf, Sprint, Mile and Classic should reward the sharp handicapper with big value returns.”

The official race order and post times for the November 2-3 programs at Santa Anita are as follows with  Breeders’ Cup World Championships races listed in bold:.

Friday, November 2

 

1.          Allowance                                                                                                11:15 am                              

2.          Allowance                                                                                               11:48 am                              

3.          Allowance                                                                                                12:23 pm                              

                 

4.  $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint                                               1:06 p.m.              

                                                                                 

 5. $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. II)                                              1:48 p.m.              

               

6.  $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I)                            2:28 p.m.
                                                              
7.  $2 million  Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)             3:08 p.m.
                                                 
 8$2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I)                  3:48 p.m.              
                                                                                
9.  $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I)                                   4:30 p.m.

 

10.  Twilight Derby (GII)                                                                                      5:15 pm                                                

Saturday, November 3

1.  Damascus Stakes                                                                                         10:05 am              

2.  Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Preview Stakes                                               10:35 a.m.

                                                 

3.  Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Sprint Preview Stakes                                               11:10 a.m.

 

4.  $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I)                                        11:50 a.m.

               

5. $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I)                               12:35 p.m.

                                                                                 

 6. $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I)                                 1:14 p.m.              

                                                                                                 

 7. $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I)                                            1:57 p.m.

                                                                               

  8. $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I)                        2:36 p.m.

                                                               

  9.  $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I)                                                       3:18 p.m.

                                                               

10. $1.5million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I)                            3:58 p.m.

                                                                               

11. $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I)                                                      4:40 p.m.

                                                  

 12. $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I)                                                5:30 p.m.

 

Graded stakes winner Alternation to remain in training

Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Alternation, a multiple graded stakes winner of nine races and more than $1 million, will remain in training next season, the operation announced Tuesday.

The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor out of the Seattle Slew mare Alternate won five of seven starts this year, all stakes, and enjoyed a four-race win streak that included the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap, Grade III Pimlico Special and Grade III Razorback Handicap. In his most recent start, Alternation finished last of six as the favorite in the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup on October 6.

“I feel that this is an important time in racing to keep some of the familiar stars on the track,”  owner Josephine Abercrombie said in a news release.  “For that reason, and because I thoroughly enjoy the thrill of competition, I have decided to keep him in training and target some top races next year.”

After some freshening on the farm, Alternation will return to the stable of trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

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