The results of this past weekend only further confused the Classic picture. Guided Tour showed a new dimension in the Kentucky Cup Classic, stalking the front-running Balto Star the entire way before wearing him down. But trainer Niall O'Callaghan doesn't seem too excited about throwing him in with tougher company at Belmont Park. O'Callaghan will discuss the options with the gelding's group of owners before committing one way or the other. Guided Tour has now won three straight grade II stakes, and four grade II's this year. But in his only start against Tiznow, he was soundly defeated in the Santa Anita Handicap, which may account in part for O'Callaghan's reluctance to head for Belmont Park.
On Sunday, E Dubai, the big favorite in the Super Derby, blew a 5-length lead turning for home after battling through some wicked fractions over a deep, muddy track. E Dubai, who crawled home his final quarter in :28 2/5, looks to be a confirmed front-runner, and the Godolphin braintrust will have to decide whether the Breeder's Cup Classic fits his style, especially with the presence of Tiznow and Albert the Great. Godolphin also has Fantastic Light, who will be making his dirt debut in the Classic. Outofthebox, who came from last to nail E Dubai, has really improved since his runner-up performances in the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes. The son of Montbrook, despite the lethargic closing quarter, showed a lot of grit to run down E Dubai over a demanding track.
Speaking of Tiznow, last year's Horse of the Year worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Santa Anita Monday with Chris McCarron aboard. Trainer Jay Robbins said no decision will be made about where the colt runs next until they see the weights for the Oct. 7 Goodwood Handicap next Monday. The other option is to ship back east for the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It looks as though Macho Uno could join the Gold Cup field after undergoing a bout with colic. A decision will be made in the next day or two whether to ship to Thistledown this Thursday for the Ohio Derby or wait for the Gold Cup. The other confirmed starters for the Gold Cup are the Nick Zito pair of Albert the Great, who worked 5 furlongs Monday in :59 2/5, and A P Valentine, and the Bobby Frankel-trained Aptitude, who turned in a sharp 6-furlong work in 1:11 3/5 on Sunday. Another possibility is the Japanese-bred grass horse Fusaichi Zenon, who was fourth in the Man o'War Stakes.
If Macho Uno runs in the Gold Cup, he loses the services of Gary Stevens, who has committed to ride Albert the Great. Jerry Bailey, who was aboard Macho Uno in his Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory, has already signed up to ride Aptitude.
Another key race coming up is Friday's Meadowlands Cup, which marks the return of Pimlico Special winner Include, who has recovered from a splint injury. With Red Bullet out of the picture with a muscle tear, Include's main foes likely will be Broken Vow, Gander, and Generous Rosi.
In addition to Tiznow (if he runs), the Goodwood Handicap will draw the always dangerous Skimming and the hard-knocking Dixie Dot Com, who was unable to get a flight to Kentucky for the Kentucky Cup Classic.