French trainer Robert Collet will be looking for a little revenge when he saddles Whipper in Saturday's $2,025,000 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
In last year's Mile over yielding turf at Lone Star Park Whipper finished a disappointing 10th, beaten 4 ¾ lengths by Singletary, who is seeking to become the first horse since Lure (1992-93) to win the Mile in back-to-back years.
"He's had a much better performance leading into this year than he did last," said Collet, who conditions the horse for Texan Richard Strauss. "He's come back for a little revenge."
Collet and Strauss have some experience in winning the Mile, having won the 1986 running at Santa Anita with Last Tycoon.
In discussing Whipper's disappointing effort last year, the trainer said the horse was suffering from a urinary infection and was also treated with Salix (formerly called Lasix), which caused him to urinate frequently. "Every 30 minutes he had to stop and pee," Collet said. "He won't be running on that (Salix) this year and he is healthy."
Whipper enters the race off a fourth-place finish, beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Starcraft, who will make his dirt debut in the Breeders' Cup Classic -- Powered by Dodge (gr. I), and fellow Mile contenders Gorella and Majors Cast. His lone win of the season came in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Fr-I), where he held well to win by a half-length.
Alister Donald of the International Racing Bureau called Whipper the value selection of the European runners this year. "Whipper does act like he like the soft ground and he is a much stronger horse than he was last year," he said.
The son of Miesque's Son could be making his final career start in the Mile. He has been sold for stallion duty and will stand the 2006 breeding season at Ballynash Stud in Ireland.
Whipper and jockey John Murtagh will break from post three. They are listed at 12-1 on the morning line.