With Anticipation had raced on grass only once prior to this season, finishing third in an allowance race in 1998 at Delaware Park. But now he is one of the top contenders for the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). The almost white gelding is nearly flawless over the surface this year. He would have been five-for-five on grass if he hadn't been disqualified after finishing first in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) in July.
Bred and owned by George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable, With Anticipation (by Relaunch) started his 2001 campaign on dirt, where he finished sixth in the seven-furlong Eillo Stakes and last of nine in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I). Switched to turf, he has reeled off victories in an allowance at Keeneland, the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs, the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) at Saratoga, and, most recently, the Man O' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, site of this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Running relaxed on the lead in the Sept. 8 Man O' War, With Anticipation cruised to 2 1/4 length victory in a field that included the globe-trotting German-bred Silvano and Ela Athena, who finished second to Fantastic Light in last year's edition of the race. Pat Day, the winning rider, didn't have to do too much work. After With Anticipation shook off a brief challenge from Ela Athena on the first turn, Day sat motionless down the backstretch aboard his confident mount.
With Anticipation was produced from the Saros mare Fran's Valentine. She finished first in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in 1984, but was disqualifed and placed 10th after she swung out in sharply in the upper stretch and knocked Pirate's Glow off stride and into Bessarabian.
Strawbridge, With Anticipation's owner and breeder, won the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) in 1994 with a 16-1 shot, Tikkanen. Sheppard, With Anticipation's trainer, saddled Storm Cat, who would become a great sire, to finish second in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Day has finished first with his mounts 11 times in Breeders' Cup races. Those efforts include a victory with Theatrical in the 1987 edition of the Turf.