If ever there was a hunch bet going into a race, the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 27 in New York boasts one of the great ones of all time. With policemen and firefighters being hailed as heroes in the wake of the terrorist attack on the city's World Trade Center, what better play could there be than Officer?
Trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to buck 17 years of history when he sends Habibti postward in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). A Kentucky-bred daughter of Tabasco Cat racing for Saudi Arabian Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp., Habibti will come into the World Thoroughbred Championships unbeaten but with only two starts.
Because the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) has been run only twice, it's hard to say there have been trends in the 1 1/4-mile event. But a few things have been established: The race has drawn full fields of 14, and those fields have been pretty deep. This year there won't be 14, but the field is evenly matched.
Never underestimate the handicapping abilities of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. "I think the 3-year-olds are better than the older horses and I'm very confident heading into the race," Frankel said in the days leading up to the Oct. 6 Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
How odd is the field for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I)? It will not include the winners of the grade I Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Travers, Whitney, Woodward, and Pacific Classic. But it will include the winners of the group I English Derby, Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Irish Two Thousand Guineas, St. James's Palace Stakes, Hong Kong Cup, and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. It seems as if the wires got crossed somewhere along the way.
If the over and under on the number of Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) runners who had their final prep in England or France was 25, you would probably take the under, wouldn't you? This writer would have. But, counting them up shows 27 Sprint starters have shipped in from France or England. And, not surprisingly, more have finished last -- six -- than first -- one.
By Richard Migliore -- On Oct. 27, it is highly appropriate that we celebrate racing's greatest day in New York. I urge we all do it with the same indomitable spirit that has been guiding every New Yorker the past month. I urge we all do it with that same spirit, at one of the greatest racetracks, in the greatest city, in the greatest country.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Those who say sports and politics do not mix are either immune to reality or, quite possibly, unfamiliar with Thoroughbred racing. Can there be a stronger link between the two seemingly unrelated pastimes than there is between world leaders and the international sport of kings, queens, sheikhs, and princes?
D. Wayne Lukas, the leading trainer in Breeders' Cup history with 16 victories, worked four horses scheduled to start in the World Thoroughbred Championships on October 27. With overnight rains, the Belmont Park track was labeled muddy with the dogs up.
A contingent of Southern California horses competing in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is scheduled to ship to New York on Oct. 23.
D. Wayne Lukas is heading to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with longshot Orientate, winner of the Indiana Derby.
Fantastic Light, Arc d'Triomphe winner Sahkee and Noverre will ship tomorrow from England to Belmont Park, where they will compete in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 27th, said Adrian Beaumont, director of racecourse services for the International Racing Bureau.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup officials said Thursday the new "Great State Challenge" program has the potential to open up many new sponsorship opportunities for horse racing. The program, which will feature the top state-breds in the country, will be held sometime in the last three months of 2002.
Defending steeplechase champion and Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner All Gong is among the nine horses pre-entered Tuesday in the $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase set for Oct. 20 at Far Hills Races in Far Hills, N.J.
Pedigree Analysis for Spook Express
Plans may be changing for Sakhee, who wasn't coming to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I), but after a scintillating run in the Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) he may indeed head to New York.
The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf got even tougher to figure out after the Oct. 5 WinStar Galaxy Stakes at Keeneland. South African-bred Spook Express rolled home from last to first in the nine-horse field for the 11th victory of her career.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Aptitude was a man among boys in the Gold Cup, but he'll get a sterner test in the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic.
Depending upon the outcome of discussions at its board meeting Oct. 9, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association may announce the details of a proposed regional Breeders' Cup program during its annual meeting Oct. 10-11 in Lexington. It would entail six races worth $1.5 million.
Lailani, bred in Great Britain, is by Unfuwain, winner of six of 10 career starts in the late 1980s. The son of Northern Dancer won two group II and two group III events in his career and earned $489,367.
Janet has won two of the premier turf events for fillies and mares in California this year, but it appears she's not going to the Filly & Mare Turf. After a super last-to-first win in the grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita Park Sept. 29, trainer Darrell Vienna and owner Jed Cohen said they had no interest in paying a supplemental fee of 9% of the $1-million purse.
Breeders' Cup Limited released Friday the race order, post times, and wagering options for the 10 races being run on Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Day.
Miscellaneous racing news
European Group I winners Black Minnaloushe and King Charlemagne are being considered for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Filly & Mare Turf Pedigree Analysis: England's Legend
Last year, the day before the Breeders' Cup, officials from the organization and the TV Games Network traveled to Ohio to strike a deal allowing Winticket.com, Beulah Park's account-wagering subsidiary, to accept wagers on the eight races. Eleven months later, with the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships asoon approaching, no agreement is in place to cover the same situation.
Two-time Breeders' Cup-winning owner Ernie Paragallo has pledged $1 million to the NTRA Charities-New York Heroes Fund.
BC Filly & Mare Turf Update
Mile Pedigree Analysis: Irish Prize
The cancellation of the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Sept. 15 due to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., has left some trainers scrambling to get their fillies and mares ready for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Oct. 27.
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