Classic Report: Post-Draw Strategy Unfolds
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Haskin: "Watch for Perfect Drift charging in the final furlong."
Several trainers immediately began plotting strategy following Wednesday's post position draw for the $4 milllion Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which likely will affect the two likely favorites, Pleasantly Perfect and Ghostzapper.

With Pleasantly Perfect drawing post 12 in the 13-horse field, it means last year's Classic winner will have to find his way to the inside or risk getting hung wide on the first turn. Although the turns at Lone Star are not as sharp as originally thought, they are short, and closers will be at a disadvantage if they get caught in traffic and have to wait for room. You don't want to get stopped, even briefly, with a 930-foot stretch waiting for you.

So, for a big, heavy horse like Pleasantly Perfect, it would seem worth it to lose a bit of ground in exchange for clear sailing. With his power and stamina, he is a horse who can certainly overcome ground loss. But getting caught in traffic on that short far turn is something that can prove disastrous.

Ghostzapper has a different kind of problem breaking from the rail. Even trainer Bobby Frankel, who believes the son of Awesome Again   is a budding superstar, admits the colt has one weakness. And that is, he does not like getting dirt kicked in his face. Unless he breaks sharply and presses, or even sets, the pace, it will be difficult for him not to get dirt kicked in his face.

Frankel, who believes Ghostzapper can do anything, may very well have jockey Javier Castellano go right to the front, or sit right inside Azeri, who will break from post 3 and has to show speed. That leaves the Roses in May, the horse that was expected to set the pace, sitting in the driver's seat from post 6. From there, John Velazquez, can see what is happening with Ghostzapper and Azeri and act accordingly.

Another scenario for Ghostzapper is to get lucky and hope Azeri and Roses in May can clear him, and Castellano can get to the outside of those two. In short, it makes for an interesting scenario up front.

Trainer Dale Romans would have loved for Roses in May to get a clear lead and dictate the race, either slowing the pace down or going fast, which would take the others out of their game plan and force them to run faster trying to keep up. That would take some of their kick away in the stretch.

Expect Funny Cide, breaking from post 9, to take up a position right behind the first three, with Newfoundland, who also hates dirt kicked in his face, taking up a position right outside him from post 10.

Dynever drew the outside post, and he will no doubt drop back and make one late run, which could help him in the long run. Birdstone drew perfectly in post 7, while Perfect Drift, breaking from post 4, will likely be in his usual position in the middle of the field, and hope the holes open for him at the right time. Kent Desormeaux rides for the first time, and he is a daring rider who would not be afraid to go for even the narrowest of holes. So watch for Perfect Drift possibly charging between horses in the final furlong.

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