Classic Draw Sets Strategy in Motion
The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic should have enough star appeal with Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace to create a great deal of interest nationwide. But the 1 1/4-mile event is far from a two-horse race.
Thirteen top-class horses were entered Oct. 31, with Horse of the Year honors on the line for Havre de Grace, Stay Thirsty , Flat Out, and Game On Dude. A victory by any of them would all but assure an Eclipse Award.
A victory by
The son of Indian Charlie drew post 12 under John Velazquez, with only To Honor and Serve , another fast horse who wants to be on or near the lead, outside of him. That means both horses will have to break sharply in order to get a good position and not get hung wide on the first turn.
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Havre de Grace, second choice at 3-1, drew post 10, putting three brilliant horses close to each other, making for a competitive opening quarter-mile. In fact, the horse who is expected to outrun everyone, Game On Dude, drew post 8, which will enable his jockey, Chantal Sutherland, to dictate positioning by either cutting over to the inside or floating Havre de Grace,
“This horse is doing great right now and he will be on the lead,” said co-owner Bernie Schiappa, who owns Game On Dude with Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust, and Mercedes Stable.
As for the other top contenders, Flat Out, a generous 6-1 on the morning line, drew post 2, while the European invader So You Think, third choice at 5-1, drew well in post 5.
“He’s doing as well as he could be possibly be doing,” Pletcher said following the draw. “He has settled in really well. It’s a tall order, but he’s come a long way since May.”
As for entrymate Stay Thirsty, who drew post 9 and is 12-1 on the morning line, Pletcher said: “He’s doing great and he’s super sharp. His energy level is high, and he might have a lot to say about the end of it.”
When the post positions were drawn, Rick Porter, owner of Havre de Grace, was quick and to the point. “I like where we are,” he said. "Perfect."
No winners would be more popular than Flat Out and his 70-year-old trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey. “He’s sharp right now (following a blistering :58 3/5 work Oct. 30) and he’s in very good shape. It’s starting to get exciting," Dickey said.
What makes this renewal of the Classic even more interesting is that the race drew three horses that have competed in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), including the past two winners, Drosselmeyer and Ruler On Ice. Drosselmeyer is trained by Bill Mott, who also has To Honor and Serve, winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) in his last start.
The race also attracted the first-, second-, and fourth-place finishers of this year’s Travers Stakes (gr. I), as well as Prayer For Relief, winner of three graded
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