George Washington Definite for BC Classic
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 10/16/2006 11:53:45 AM
Last Updated: 10/18/2006 6:24:07 PM

Trainer Aidan O'Brien tosses George Washington's hat into the Classic ring.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Aidan O'Brien told The Independent Sunday that George Washington, Europe's leading miler, will be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) instead of the NetJets Mile (gr. IT), in which O'Brien will saddle Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem.

With Dylan Thomas out for the year following his poor effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), O'Brien will run last year's St. Leger (Eng-I) winner Scorpion in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).

"George goes for the Classic," O'Brien said. "We know he would have been short-priced favorite for the Mile, but winning the Classic would open the whole world to him. The one thing they need to do, to handle the dirt, is travel in their races - and that's what George has always done, as much as any horse we've ever had."

O'Brien had scheduled a work over the Fibresand surface at Southwell in England last Friday, but the trip was canceled due to fog. "When we couldn't fly, we took him home and worked him on the Polytrack, (at Ballydoyle)," O'Brien said. "Obviously that's not the same, but I do remember in the spring, when the ground was bad, and he had mud kicked in his face working, he never batted an eyelid."

Although many may not agree with O'Brien's and Coolmore's decision, it is a sporting gesture, as was sending Dylan Thomas for the Gold Cup, and adds another twist to an already intriguing Classic.

O'Brien and Coolmore have attempted to win the Classic on several occasions, and nearly pulled it off in 2000 when Giant's Causeway  , like George Washington, a top-class miler, was narrowly defeated by Tiznow  .

George Washington was bred by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables, who own and bred classic winner Barbaro, and own Showing Up, winner of Saturday's Jamaica Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT).

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