The Breeders' Cup World Championships success last year of five European-trained horses at Santa Anita Park really made everybody sit up and take notice. There were a record 31 European-trained raiders in 2008 and the number is set to be matched or even surpassed this year.
Perhaps the best method of handicapping this year's perplexing Breeders' Cup Classic is to make a checklist comprising every major handicapping category that pertains to the race and see who qualifies in the most categories.
"We are going to California," proclaimed Ken Ramsey after his homebred 2-year-olds Lisa's Kitten and Kera's Kitten each captured victories in a pair of $100,000 stakes over the turf course at Retama Park on the night of Oct. 24.
Three-time grade I winner Summer Bird, the leading candidate for an Eclipse Award in the male 3-year-old division, worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 under regular rider Kent Desormeaux after Oak Tree's second race Oct. 25.
Stronach's Einstein, one of the top American hopes for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, zipped a fast five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Oct. 25 in the veteran star's final pre-race training move over his home track.
Unhappy with her recent workouts over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride track, trainer Bob Baffert said Oct. 25 that he is not planning to pre-enter two-time champion Indian Blessing in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 6.
At 3, Quality Road is among the elder statesmen of Todd Pletcher's Breeders' Cup contingent, much of which is comprised of talented 2-year-olds.
Zenyatta worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 at Hollywood Park Oct. 23 in her first work since winning the Oct. 10 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I). Jockey Mike Smith was aboard, and the mare worked in company with Green Day and Sabina Fay.
Trainer Mike Maker shipped in a pair of Kitten's Joy juveniles owned by prominent owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey hoping their performances will propel them to the World Championships Nov. 6 and 7 at Santa Anita Park.
Canadian champion and two-time grade I winner Kodiak Kowboy will be entered in the Nov. 7 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park even though his experience on synthetic tracks is limited and he has enjoyed his greatest success on dirt.
It can be argued that this year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) is as perplexing and wide open as any time in the event's 26-year history. Between the parity of the top older horses and the wild card factor of Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface, handicappers will have plenty of choices come Nov. 7
IEAH Stables' Breeders' Cup shopping spree continued with the purchase of controlling interest in the English-trained 2-year-old stakes winner Radiohead, who will be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
For the first time in eight months, Chip Woolley Jr. was walking on his own two feet Oct. 22.
The Breeders' Cup and Betfair Group Limited announced Oct. 22 that they have reached an agreement permitting common-pool wagering on this year's championshp day races Nov. 6-7 during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet.
Whatever name you want to give them, Todd's Tots, Pletcher's Pups, you can be sure you'll be hearing from Todd Pletcher's 2-year-olds in the Breeders' Cup juvenile races, and more importantly on next year's Triple Crown trail. That's when they really will shine.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Macho Again will skip the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 7, due to a cough he developed following his breeze Oct. 17.
The Breeders' Cup announced Oct. 20 that the pre-entered fields for all 14 Breeders' Cup World Championships races will be released on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. ET.
Team Valor International announced Oct. 20 that Gitano Hernando, upset winner of the Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) in his North American debut, will not run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.
Breeders' Cup management is working on a five- to 10-year rotation of racetracks to serve as host sites for the World Championships.
The Breeders' Cup announced Oct. 19 that 300 North Capital, a Pasadena, California-based institutional investment manager, has been named an official promotional partner of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
On April 17, 2008, American racing fans were immersed in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and no one was even giving the Breeders' Cup a second thought. But across the Atlantic, there was a scene being played out that would have a far greater effect on the Breeders' Cup than anyone could have imagined.
Chip Woolley Jr. sees the glass as half full for Mine That Bird in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) during Santa Anita Park's Oak Tree meeting Nov. 7.
Favored Gotta Have Her proved her superiority over Santa Anita's hillside turf course once again Saturday when the versatile mare slipped through an opening at the rail approaching mid-stretch and drew off to win Oak Tree's $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Field Commission found room at the top of the lane and took over approaching the sixteenth-pole on his way to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-II) Oct. 17 on the Woodbine turf.
Favored Champs Elysees, in likely the final race of his career, went out on top with a come-from-behind victory in the $1,927,556 Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine Oct. 17.
Lahaleeb produced the biggest upset in the 54-year history of Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) Oct. 17 when she came from off the pace in the stretch to win the $964,356 test for fillies and mares at odds of 44-1.
The Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over captured the final European leg of the Breeders' Cup Challenge on Champions' Day at Newmarket on Oct. 17, winning the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I)and earning a possible berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Summer Bird, winner of the grade I Belmont Stakes, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, had his first work over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface, breezing five furlongs in 1:02 in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Trainer Ken McPeek said Oct. 16 that he plans to send his Breeders' Cup juvenile quartet to Santa Anita on Oct. 19.
House of Grace caught Smart Seattle at the wire to register a nose victory in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, which was taken off the turf and transferred to Keeneland's Polytrack Oct. 15 at the rain-slickened Lexington track.
As we all know there is always an angle or two we can latch on to in the Breeders' Cup. The trick is finding them among the morass of stakes horses that line up for the 14 races. There probably are more chances of landing a longshot on a synthetic surface, because, in all honesty, does anyone really know how to handicap these races?
Marsh Side returns to defend his title in the $2-million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) over the Woodbine turf course Oct. 17 against a field that includes German group I winner Jukebox Jury.
Coming off a group I win in Ireland, Rainbow View can sew up a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) next month with a victory in Woodbine's $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) on the turf Oct. 17.
The Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) and E.P. Taylor (Can-IT) are the headliners of Woodbine's Oct. 17 card, but not to be forgotten is the $500,000 Nearctic (Can-IIT), a six-furlong turf sprint that offers the winner a chance at the $1-million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint next month at Santa Anita.
With a spot into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on the line, the $150,000 JP Chase Morgan Jessamine Stakes has attracted a full field of 12 Oct. 15 at Keeneland.
Marty Wolfson, who saddled Edmund Gann's It's a Bird in last year's Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III), appears to have the solid favorite in the 2009 renewal with Gann's 4-year-old Motovato, a winner of three of four starts at the Calder Race Course meet.
There is so much to discuss after the weekend's stakes extravaganza, but one race that likely had the most profound effect on the Breeders' Cup was the Goodwood Stakes (gr. I).
Last weekendfs racing helped to clarify the Breedersf Cup picture for runners from Godolphin Racing, including Gayago, Girolamo, and Cocoa Beach.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird will remain at Santa Anita and point to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Oak Tree on Nov. 7, trainer Chip Woolley said Monday morning.
Barry Abrams plans an unprecedented first when the Oak Tree Racing Association hosts the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Nov. 6 and 7.
Trainer Mary Hartmann came west looking for firm turf for her star Presious Passion and found what she was looking for. The 6-year-old son of Royal Anthem hooked a paceless field and strolled gate to wire for a 2 1/2-length victory in Oak Tree's $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 11.
Godolphin's good fortune leading up to the Breeders' Cup continued at Santa Anita Oct. 11 when 6-5 choice Gayego stormed down the center of the track to register a one-length win in Oak Tree's $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I).
Interference in deep stretch cost Juddmonte Farms a chance to win their own race, as their English homebred Proviso crossed the wire first in the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) but was disqualified for veering out sharply inside the sixteenth-pole. The disqualification gave the victory to Brushwood Stable's Mushka, who crossed the wire second by 2 1/4 lengths, but likely would have gone by Proviso had her path not been impeded.
Interactif may have stamped himself as the horse to beat in next month's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT), as he turned in a dominating performance in the $125,000 Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 11 at Keeneland.
Bear Tough Guy outfought Korvette Kid over the long Woodbine stretch to register a neck victory in the $197,149 Grey Stakes (Can-III) for 2-year-olds Oct. 11.
Versatile Cowboy Cal went gate to wire to win the $150,000 Oak Tree Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf course Oct. 10, and earned the right to advance to the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) next month.
As professional as ever, undefeated Zenyatta equaled Personal Ensign's 13-race winning streak to begin her career, sweeping past the pacesetters in upper stretch to capture Oak Tree's $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in characteristic fashion Oct. 10.
Europeans got an early start on the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) this year when British import Gitano Hernando, ridden by Kieren Fallon, upset favored Colonel John in Oak Tree's $350,000 Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 10.
Battling with pacesetter Karelian through the stretch, Court Vision poked his nose in front just before the wire to win a thriller in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 10 at Keeneland. It was the first win in six tries this season for the 4-year-old son of Gulch, who will now go on to the Breeders' Cup.
Homeboykris collared Discreetly Mine in the homestretch and drew clear late to win the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 10. Dublin, the 3-5 favorite in the field of six 2-year-olds, finished fifth.
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