With the 2012 Breeders Cup, the Super Bowl of Horse Racing if you will, now less than two weeks away I believe its time to “introduce” you folks to some of the contenders for each race.
I say “introduce” because lets face it….this is horse racing….and two weeks is like an eternity in some cases. Some of the horses I mention can be injured, switch races or their owners decide to go in another direction. In other words, at this point nothing is written in stone.
Whoever is entered where and whoever runs, this years Breeders Cup looks to be the typical east vs. west showdown(s) once again.
Friday, November 2nd
Race: 1- Juvenile Sprint
Trainer Todd Pletcher said unbeaten (3 for 3) filly Kauai Katie “will probably be kept in sprint races” and if that’s true, she looks like a standout to me in this race. This daughter of Malibu Moon won the three aforementioned races (her maiden race, Grade 2 Matron and Grade 2 Adirondack) by a combined 22 ¼ lengths.
Other contenders include Del Mar Debutante runner-up Beholder who is coming out of an 11-length allowance win at Santa Anita, Bern Identity, winner of the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes and a third place finish in the Grade 2 Hopeful Stakes.
Race: 2- Marathon
This race, run at one and three quarter miles, is wide open once again. How wide open has it been in the past? Well, the average winner over the last four runnings had 17.25 to 1 odds.
Eldaafer is a veteran in this race. He finished seventh in the 2009 running, won the 2010 running and finished sixth in last years running. Albeit, he’s been a little in consistent, he will merit some respect.
Other contenders include Worth Repeating, Caldoscopio, winner of two of his last three in Argentina and Brown Panther, who ships over from Ireland.
Race: 3 – Juvenile Fillies (Turf)
This is a tough race to figure out. Two year old fillies, who are inconsistent to begin with, running on the turf (as opposed to traditional dirt).
Sky Lantern has never been worse than second in five career starts in England, Spring Venture is unbeaten in Canada and Watsdachances is three for four in her career including winning the Miss Grillo Stakes in her last. Those three seem to be the most intriguing.
Race: 4- Juvenile Fillies (Dirt)
This one is perhaps the best and most competitive race out of the entire two days.
East Coast’s Dreaming of Julia showed immense talent while being nothing short of dominant in her first two starts and then showed sheer guts and determination while beating My Happy Face in her last race, will square off against West Coast’s Executivepriviledge. Executivepriviledge is 6 for 6 and showed the same talent and guts as Dreaming of Julia did thus far in her career.
Other notables include My Happy Face, who before battling Dreaming of Julia step for step, was an eye popping 21 maiden winner and Spring in the Air has never been worse than second in now four career starts
Race: 5- Filly and Mare Turf:
This might be the toughest race to figure out, in fact as far as betting it? I may pass completely. I mean it’s as wide open as the Grand Canyon with mares coming from all over the world to compete.
Zagora has been ultra consistent in the US, Tapitsfly is always dangerous, Nahrain from Great Britain almost won this race recently, Ridasiya is four for five lifetime in France, Lady of Shamrock is four for six this year and Market Mixing is also four for six this year and seems to like the Santa Anita turf course. I’m telling you, we are still 2+ weeks away but this race is making my head spin already.
Race: 6- Ladies Classic:
If the Juvenile Filly (Dirt) race isn’t the best race on the card, this one is. It is nothing short of an all-star line up and I, for one, can’t wait to see it.
Of course, Royal Delta, the defending Ladies Classic winner, leads the way but she will absolutely have her work cut out for her should all, or even any, of the other females show up in the entry box.
Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia are both mega-talented and are both undefeated.
The speedy Questing is at or near the top of the three year old filly’s, Grace Hall should not be overlooked, and the well named Include Me Out is four for six on the west coast this year.
Saturday November 3rd
Race: 1- Juvenile Turf:
Chad Brown looks to have this one locked up. If not with Balance The Books, who has won graded stakes in both New York and Kentucky, then with Noble Tune who is unbeaten in two career starts and also shows a graded stakes win.
Others that rank a chance are Dry Summer who if you forgive that last race where he didn’t run a step, appears to be the top west coast threat and we should probably keep and eye on Joha too.
Race: 2- Filly and Mare Sprint:
Groupie Doll certainly looks like the one to beat coming in off four straight wins including two in Grade: 1 races.
If It’s Tricky runs in this race (instead of the Ladies Classic) she could be tough. Turbulent Descent, with her eight for 13 career record is always dangerous, Musical Romance is back to defend her title as she posted an upset last year in this race.
Race: 3- Sprint (Dirt)
Another wide open race at this point, with Coil, who won the 2011 Haskell, being the new kid on the block. Defending BC Sprint winner Amazombie will be back, along with the speedy Trinniberg, Smiling Tiger will have to be respected if he starts also keep an eye on Justin Philip.
Race: 4- Sprint (Turf)
This one is shaping up about as tough as the two year old filly turf race.
California Flag, winner of the 2009 Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park, has started in every edition of the race since its 2008 inauguration. Bridgetown will be in his third straight appearance in the Turf Sprint (At three, he ran fourth, and last year he was second, beaten three-quarters of a length by Great Attack). Camp Victory is back for another try after finishing seventh in the 2011 edition and the well named Global Power is four for seven this year…Like I said….wide open race here.
Race: 5 – Mile (Dirt)
The (Dirt) Mile is also shaping up competitively. Key contenders include 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford, the talented Fed Biz, the speedy Tapizar, who will be a threat to take them wire to wire and Emcee, who appears to be on the improve with his four for seven lifetime mark.
Race: 6 – Turf (1 ½ Miles)
Hate to repeat myself but yet another race that show draw strong. Led by the stretch running Point of Entry, who is most likely the best grass horse in this country, other contenders include the quick from the gate and very handsome Turbo Compressor, Chincon, who is two for three this year, Slim Shadey, who is three for five at Santa Anita, Sea Moon who was second in this race last year and consistent Treasure Beach.
Race: 7- Juvenile (Colts)
Shanghai Bobby appears to be the one to beat in this race, which is annually one of my favorite races. Stable mate Archwarrior created a buzz on theSaratoga backstretch earlier this year and after winning his debut came fourth in the Champagne Stakes. I believe he might bounce back well in this race.
Bob Baffert’s Power Broker looks to be the west coasts best chance as he was narrowly defeated in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes. Less than a month later, Power Broker sailed to a 6 ½ length win in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park for his first career victory
Joha earned a trip to this race with a wire to wire victory in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last month. He’s now three for six in his career and has never run worse than third.
Race: 8- Mile (Turf)
I’m looking forward to this race to because perhaps the second best turf miler in the world, Wise Dan, should show up in the entry box. (In case you live under a rock, Frankel is far and away the best miler in the world).
Other threats to win this race are Arlington Million winner Little Mike, 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, and leading west coast turf runner Mr. Commons.
Race: 9 – The Classic
I think I have my betting strategy for this year’s classic already figured out. Game On Dude looks to be the horse to beat…I don’t think too many people will argue that. As for the rest of the horses that will be entered, throw a blanket over them and pick one.
The list includes Dullahan, Flat Out, Fort Larned, the stretch running Ron The Greek, the titanic Mucho Macho Man and To Honor and Serve amongst others.
The problem I’m seeing is that the aforementioned six horses are all a tad too inconsistent for me to bet with any confidence.
Soooo… I’m thinking of wheeling Game On Dude with all in an exacta and in reverse as well. (All with Game On Dude). Sounds logical right?….oh wait…this is horse racing, where logic sometimes doesn’t count for anything.
Thanks for reading.