Bernardini had his final workout at Belmont Park Oct. 31 and is ready for his start in the biggest race of the year.
Following Sunday's deluge of Todd Pletcher works, and a pair by Kiaran McLaughlin's two stars, there still was enough activity at Belmont Park on a glorious fall morning Oct. 30 to keep one entertained.
In its first year of televising the Breeders' Cup World Championships, ESPN will air seven hours of coverage from Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Breeders' Cup coverage begins Nov. 4 at noon and continues to 7 p.m., and will be telecast in high definition.
Darley Stable's Bernardini turned in a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:02 2/5 at Belmont Park Wednesday, much to the satisfaction of trainer Tom Albertrani. His main rival for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Presented by Dodge (gr. I) will be Lava Man, whose trainer, Doug O'Neill, paid tribute to Bernardini.
A total of 121 Horses have been pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Pre-entries were due by noon Monday, and the Breeders' Cup racing directors/secretaries panel met yesterday to determine which horses would be allowed to run in the event a race was oversubscribed. The pre-entries were announced at 10 a.m. today.
There will be story lines aplenty in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). You want a battle of the royals? It's got it.
OK, so Bernardini supposedly is a lock in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And if he doesn't win, how can you look past Lava Man and Invasor? And Sun King, Brother Derek, and Europeans George Washington and David Junior also will get support. After that, good luck. But let's get bold and try to ferret out an early longshot.
The war between Coolmore and the Maktoums that was evident at the recent Keeneland September yearling sale is expected to move north on Oct. 7 when Susan Magnier's Dylan Thomas squares off against Darley Stable's Bernardini and Shadwell Farm's Invasor in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
- By Steve Haskin
The main topic of conversation at Belmont Park these days is the much-awaited showdown between Bernardini and Invasor in the Oct. 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
Unless something drastic occurs between now and Nov. 4, it looks as if Bernardini, Invasor, and Lava Man, barring injury, will be the top guns, although one of those three - Bernardini or Invasor- will taste defeat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
It was a sunny December afternoon, with temperatures reaching the 50s and gusty winds blowing in from the northwest. The 2,453 hardcore racegoers who ventured to Aqueduct Racetrack on this Friday in 2003 had no way of knowing that they were witnessing the birth of a future winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and the leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors.
The battle lines have been drawn for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and it is now time to plot strategy and assess the competition. And nowhere will that place with more intensity than in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Saint Liam, the probable favorite for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), had his final work before the $4 million race Monday morning at Aqueduct.
Rock Hard Ten, one of the favorites for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), has had his shipping plans to New York delayed because of a small bruise on his left front foot.
The biggest change for this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is that the order of the races will be different from past years.
Lord of the Game, a $10,000 claim who has gone on to become a grade II winner and bankroll nearly $540,000, worked Thursday morning over a fast track at Hawthorne Racecourse under jockey Eusebio Razo, as he prepares for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. II).
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, who had not worked since his surgery for a hairline fracture, added to his growing list of amazing feats when he drilled five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5 Friday morning, closing his final eighth in :11 2/5. Trainer Tim Ritchey said afterward the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is very much in the picture.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Jan. 17 Stronach Stable's 2004 Horse of the Year candidate Ghostzapper could make his 2005 debut at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
If you've had enough of presidential campaigns and elections, you might want to try your hand at predicting the winner of Thoroughbred racing's Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.
Bobby Frankel had it all figured out as he spoke with owner Ken Ramsey outside barn B2 two days before the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. He knew he had the best horse in the day's biggest race, the $4-million Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). More importantly, he was convinced he had the horse of a lifetime--the one all trainers dream about.
There are at least two trainers who think the correct move with Azeri is to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) rather than the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I). One is D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Azeri. The other is Patrick Biancone.
Although no horse has won the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) coming off a layoff of more than 49 days, Richard Mandella, trainer of Pleasantly Perfect, and Marylou Whitney, owner of Birdstone, are confident taking their respective horses to Lone Star Park for the Oct. 30 World Thoroughbred Championships off layoffs of 69 and 63 days.
They say Lone Star Park's dirt and grass surfaces are identical to those at Santa Anita Park, which may account for this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships drawing the identical number of pre-entered horses as last year, when the event was held at the Arcadia, Calif., racetrack.
Coolmore stallion Royal Academy, who attained milestones as both a yearling and as a racehorse, came through with one as a stallion. The 17-year-old stallion has sired his 100th stakes winner.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships comes to Lone Star Park. The question is, what to expect? Most fans and horsemen don't know a thing about Lone Star, mainly the dirt surface, grass course, and any track biases. So, sit back for the next eight weeks or so and follow the world's best horses on their journey to the unknown.
The San Gabriel Mountains could barely be seen against the black morning sky. Then, just before 5:30, a fiery glow appeared, illuminating the peaks off to the east. As in 1993, raging fires had broken out near Santa Anita, although these were some 40 miles away.
Richard Mandella won his fourth race on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship card, and Alex Solis continued a celebration that began Friday when notching his 4,000th win, as Pleasantly Perfect won the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Injuries and early retirements fail to diminish the field in the Big One.
Perfect Drift, whose connections are considering a run in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will work Saturday at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Empire Maker was made the 7-2 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I) in future book wagering conducted this weekend.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Ltd. on Monday released the first set of 2003 World Thoroughbred Rankings for six of the eight racing divisions that comprise the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Arlington Park was a tougher journey than anticipated for Stonecrest Farm's homebred Perfect Drift, but the 3-year-old gelding came out of the race little worse for the wear
There are five horses from this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) set to run Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). That is the most ever, the previous high being three, most recently in 1999.
Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said he believes any one of three or four different horses could be favored for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 26 at Arlington Park. Battaglia made War Emblem the 3-1 favorite in the 12-horse field.
Four contenders for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic completed their final preparations Monday, with another hopeful for the race turning in an unofficial work at Arlington Park.
Belterra is being taken out of training and will miss the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Wagering on the Unbridled filly in the Breeders' Cup Future Wager has been suspended.
On Tuesday night, most people were convinced Godolphin would run Fantastic Light in the Breeders' Cup Classic and Sakhee in the Turf. On Wednesday morning, those people were proven wrong when the Godolphin braintrust pulled a switcheroo that sent a shockwave of disbelief rippling through the backstretch.
Unlike his non-work last Friday, Fantastic Light lit up the Belmont track Tuesday, as he blazed five furlongs in :59 4/5 with jockey Frankie Dettori aboard, flying home his final quarter in :23 2/5 and galloping out a strong six furlongs in 1:12 3/5. Private clockers caught him a tick faster in :59 3/5. About an hour and a half later, Godolphin's other star, Sakhee, also showed more life, working his five furlongs in 1:01, with regular exercise rider Lee Roebuck up.
Jay Robbins didn't have to say a word following Tiznow's gallop Monday morning. He looked up at Pam York, aboard Andy the pony, and gave her a double thumbs up. This sure wasn't the same obstinate, cantankerous Tiznow we saw on Sunday.
The wide chasm that separates American and European horses was in evidence Friday morning, as Godolphin's big guns – Sakhee and Fantastic Light – both turned in pedestrian works over the main track, much to the satisfaction of assistant trainer Tom Albertrani.
The pre-entries are in, and things should start hopping over the next few days. Tiznow is scheduled to work at Santa Anita on Thursday, and Godolphin's dynamic duo of Fantastic Light and Sakhee will have important works on Friday, as will Macho Uno, with jockey Gary Stevens aboard. Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Aptitude is scheduled to work Saturday, depending on the weather.
Goodbye, Breeders' Cup. Hello, World Thoroughbred Championships. America's biggest day of racing is now the world's biggest day of racing. For the first time since its inception, racing's Greatest Show on Earth will not be dominated by American-based horses. The two largest international powerhouses--Godolphin and the Coolmore group--are not only heading to the World Thoroughbred Championships en masse, they are bringing all their heavy artillery. And this year, that means an array of European stars never before seen on one card, especially in the United States.
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.
D. Wayne Lukas is heading to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with longshot Orientate, winner of the Indiana Derby.
Godolphin announced Thursday that Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee will be sent to Belmont Friday for the Breeders' Cup and will be pre-entered in both the Breeders' Cup Turf and Breeders' Cup Classic.
It seems for every step forward the Classic takes, it takes two steps backward. Last weekend, it took three steps backward, with the defeats of Albert the Great, Tiznow, and Skimming, the last two at the hands of 39-1 shot Freedom Crest. On the other hand, Aptitude's 10-length tour-de-force in the Jockey Club Gold Cup was a break-out race that catapulted the son of A.P. Indy right up to the head of the class.
One more week and the Breeders' Cup Classic picture should come into focus. The Meadowlands Cup produced a definite starter in Include, who ran a huge race to finish third, and a possible starter in Gander, who led all the way to score a gutsy and well-deserved victory. Macho Uno finished third in the Ohio Derby and is still on course for the Classic.
With the second-largest crowd in Breeders' Cup history in attendance, California-bred Tiznow held off a strong closing kick from Giant's Causeway to win the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.
Stronach Stable's Euchre and Stonerside Stable's Freefourracing have been scratched from Saturday's Breeders' Cup races. Euchre has been bothered by a cough and Freefourracing has a minor bruise on a hoof.
If you feel it's difficult separating the top contenders in the Breeders' Cup Classic, we have several live longshots who should make things even more difficult. We'll get into more detail on these horses when we search out big prices and potential overlays in all the Breeders' Cup races on Friday.
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