Champions line up for 29th Breeders' Cup
Date Posted: 10/29/2012 9:20:53 PM
Last Updated: 11/1/2012 5:58:06 PM
Breeders' Cup Classic favorite Game On Dude, defending Breeders' Cup Ladies'
Classic winner Royal Delta, 2011 Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom and grass
course stars Wise Dan and Point of Entry lead the marquee among the 171 horses,
including 26 from Europe and five also-eligibles, entered to run in the 29th
Breeders' Cup World Championship races to be held Friday and Saturday at Santa
Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious global event, the Breeders' Cup
consists of 15 races worth a total of more than $25 million and hosted by Santa
Anita for the sixth time with six races on Friday and nine on Saturday to be
televised on NBC Sports Network and NBC. For the first time, the $5 million
Breeders' Cup Classic will be televised live and in primetime on NBC from 8-9
A complete list of Breeders' Cup entries is available at
Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa's five-year-old
gelding Game On Dude has been installed as the 9-to-5 morning line favorite in
the 1 1/4-mile Classic and will break from post position 5 in a field of 12. A
son of Awesome Again, Game On Dude leads a formidable team of 10 Breeders' Cup
contenders trained by Bob Baffert. Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode him for the first
time winning the 1 1/8 miles Awesome Again Stakes over the track on September 29
and will be back aboard Saturday.
Leading challengers to the favorite in a wide-open renewal of the Classic
will be the Bill Mott-trained team of Preston Stable's two-time Jockey Club Gold
Cup winner Flat Out and Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable's Ron the Greek,
impressive winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in early March over the track and
distance. Flat Out drew post 2 and Ron the Greek leaves from post 10.
Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith's five-year-old Irish-bred
St Nicholas Abbey won the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf over the Churchill Downs
course last year and is back to defend his title in the 1 1/2-mile test leading
a team of nine Coolmore invaders from Ireland trained by Aidan O'Brien, drawing
post three in a field of 12.
However, the morning line favorite's role at 3-to-1 in the Turf will go to
Phipps Stable's four-year-old Kentucky homebred Point of Entry breaking from
post 1 with regular jockey John Velazquez in the saddle for trainer Shug
McGaughey. The son of Dynaformer is regarded among the best turf runners
produced in the U.S. in recent seasons and goes into the race on a five-race win
streak, most recently scoring Grade 1 wins in the Sword Dancer Invitational at
Saratoga and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park.
In somewhat of a surprise development, trainer Dale Romans has opted to send
both Priscilla Vacarezza's five-year-old gelding Little Mike and Donegal
Racing's three-year-old Dullahan in the Turf. Both were pre-entered in two races
with Little Mike's other choice the Mile and Dullahan the Classic. Little Mike
posted his biggest victory in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million and Dullahan has
done his best work on synthetic tracks, winning the Blue Grass Stakes at
Keeneland in the spring and the Pacific Classic against older horses at Del Mar
While the Classic and Turf highlight the nine Breeders' Cup races Saturday,
the title defense by Besilu Stable's four-year-old filly Royal Delta in the $2
million Ladies' Classic at 1 1/8 miles will clearly be the highlight of Friday's
action with jockey Mike Smith aboard for trainer Bill Mott in a field of eight
fillies and mares. The daughter of Empire Maker was installed the 9-to-5
favorite and breaks from post 6.
Royal Delta sealed an Eclipse Award campaign winning the Ladies' Classic at
Churchill Downs by 2 1/2 lengths last fall for Mott but sold for $8.5 million
days later at the Keeneland November sales to Besilu owner Benjamin Leon with
Mott retained as trainer. Royal Delta goes into the race after a stunning 9
1/2-length victory in the Beldame Stakes at Belmont. Mott pulled off the rare
Ladies' Classic-Classic double last year with Royal Delta in the former and
upset winner Drosselmeyer in the latter.
However, in the path of Royal Delta's title defense are two undefeated
fillies -- Stronach Stable's 10-for-10 four-year-old Awesome Feather, trained by
Chad Brown, and Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton's three-year-old My Miss
Aurelia, winner of all six career starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. Both
fillies won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in their respective two-year-old
seasons. Royal Delta is one of eight defending or returning Breeders' Cup
champions entered for Friday and Saturday.
A particularly deep and accomplished field of nine was drawn for Saturday's
$2 million Breeders' Cup Mile with Morton Fink's five-year-old gelding Wise Dan,
Team Valor International's 2011 Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom among the
star players and Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's
four-year-old Excelebration leading a team of several accomplished
European-raced contenders in the race.
Trained by Charles Lopresti, Wise Dan breaks from post 2 as the 9-to-5
morning line favorite after posting three consecutive major victories, including
the Woodbine Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Excelebration was very
impressive winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last out on October 20. Trained
by Aidan O'Brien, the son of Exceed and Excel was top-class all season, but had
to settle for second-best on three occasions behind the highly-acclaimed Frankel
during the campaign.
Animal Kingdom is an intriguing prospect in the Mile for trainer Graham
Motion as the homebred son of Leroidesanimaux makes only his second start since
suffering an injury in the 2011 Belmont Stakes and first since winning a turf
allowance at Gulfstream Park in February, exiting that race with another injury.
$2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, two-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles --
Starlight Stable's undefeated Shanghai Bobby (2-to-1) breaking from post 4
in a field of nine. A son of Harlan's Holiday trained by Todd Pletcher,
Shanghai Bobby won all of his four starts in New York, most recently the
Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on October 6 by five lengths;
$1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint, three-year-olds and up, six furlongs
-- Thomas Sanford and trainer Bill Spawr's six-year-old gelding Amazombie
won the Sprint at Churchill Downs last year and has been made the 4-to-1
favorite to repeat on Saturday in a full field of 14;
$1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, three-year-olds and up, one mile --
Michael Lauffer, W.D. Cubbedge and partners' 2011 Preakness Stakes hero
Shackleford for trainer Dale Romans is the 2-to-1 morning line favorite in a
field of nine, breaking from post 6 alongside Godolphin Racing's Forego
Stakes winner Emcee, the second choice at 5-to-2 for trainer Kiaran
McLaughlin in post 7;
$1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, fillies and mares, seven
furlongs -- Fred and William Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns'
four-year-old Kentucky homebred filly Groupie Doll has been made the
even-money morning line favorite from post 9 in the field of 10 after
posting four consecutive graded stakes victories, the last in the
Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on October 6;
$1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, two-year-olds, one mile on turf
-- Juddmonte Farm's Dundonnell is the 4-to-1 morning-line favorite in a full
field of 14 with one more also-eligible. The Kentucky homebred won two of
four starts in England this year for trainer Roger Charlton and drew post 6
after finishing second as the odds-on favorite last out at Doncaster on
September 15; and
$1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, three-year-olds and up, about 6
1/2 furlongs on turf -- Melnyk Racing Stable's five-year-old Bridgetown,
runner-up in this race last year at Churchill Downs for trainer Todd
Pletcher, drew post 9 in a full field of 14 with two others also-eligible.
Winner of the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland in his last start, Bridgetown was
made the 9-to-2 favorite in the wide-open event.
Completing the line-up for Breeders' Cup Friday:
The European team looks very strong in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly &
Mare Turf with five contenders, including Andrew Lloyd-Webber's English homebred
four-year-old filly The Fugue as the 7-to-2 favorite breaking from post 4 in a
field of 12 after finishing a game second last out in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks
at York. Among her principal rivals will be Darley Stable's English homebred
four-year-old filly Nahrain, runner-up in this race last year to longshot
Perfect Shirl at Churchill Downs and winner of the Flower Bowl Invitational at
Belmont Park on September 29 in a second trip to America for trainer Roger
A strong possibility appears likely for an undefeated two-year-old filly to
seal an Eclipse campaign in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies for
the third straight year, following Awesome Feather in 2010 and My Miss Aurelia
in 2011, and both still perfect going into the Ladies' Classic later on the
Mike Pegram and partners' Executiveprivilege, five-for-five for trainer Bob
Baffert, is the 2-to-1 morning line favorite breaking from post 2 in the 1 1/16
miles test after winning the Chandelier Stakes last out on September 29 by 6 1/4
lengths over the track and distance.
Executiveprivilege's chief rivals in the field of eight will be Stonestreet
Stable's pair of Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie, both also unbeaten at
three-for-three in New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, the former winner of the
Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.
$1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, two-year-old fillies,
one mile on turf -- Ben Keswick's English-based Sky Lantern was made the
3-to-1 favorite in a wide-open field of 14 with two others listed also-eligble.
Trained by Richard Hannon, the daughter of Red Clubs won the Moyglare Stakes
last out at The Curragh on September 9;
$500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, three-year-olds and up, 1 3/4 miles --
Shortleaf Stable's three-year-old Atigun, fourth in both the Travers Stakes
and Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last two starts for trainer Ken McPeek and
was installed the lukewarm favorite at 9-to-2 in a full field of 14; and
$500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, two-year-olds, six furlongs --
Bruce Chandler and partners' Merit Man, winner of his two starts at Del Mar
and Santa Anita for trainer Bob Hess Jr., was made the solid 8-to-5 favorite
and will break from post 3 in the field of seven.
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