There is no way of telling what might have been in any given race had circumstances been different. And it would be seem audacious to say that Rip Van Winkle was the best horse in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I), won by Sea the Stars, but a close look at the race reveals several reasons why that statement might have validity.
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).
If Sea the Stars does not make the trip to California, which seems more likely than not, and joins Rachel Alexandra on the absentee list, it will create a void never before seen in the Breeders' Cup.
Now that Rachel Alexandra is through for the year, it is time for Zenyatta, the defending Queen of all Turfdom, to take center stage, and her presence will be a welcome sight in a year where the Breeders' Cup has gone a bit haywire.
The chances of Sea The Stars being withdrawn from Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) due to soft ground appear slim to none, as the weather forecast calls for little or no rain through next Tuesday.
Circle the date Oct. 4 on your calendar. Your assignment is to pray for rain in France - enough to turn the Longchamp turf course soft. The softer the better.
Rachel Alexandra provided one of the great moments in the history of Saratoga when she scored a courageous head victory over older male rivals in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes Sept. 5.
Summer Bird secured his place atop the 3-year-old male division with his resounding victory in the slop in the $1-million Shadwell Travers Stakes.
This year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) is such an odd concoction of grass and synthetic horses and undistinguished older dirt horses it's difficult to make a worthwhile list of potential starters.
A story about Rachel Alexandra seems out of place in a column about the Breeders' Cup, but who cares. That's between Jess Jackson and the Breeders' Cup decision makers. Even though there will be no launching of the Rachel rocket on Nov. 7, it's still fun to "count down" to the imaginary blast off.
Are you looking for an early Volponi for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I)? Well, you just might have seen him on Saturday...on the grass...finishing second. When it comes to the hard-knocking Awesome Gem, who has his good days and his bad days, I can't help hearing Ralph Kramden (yes, I'm a Honeymooners fanatic): "One of these days...one of these days - "Bang! Zoom!"
One of the most popular victories in this year's Breeders' Cup was the dramatic score by Richie Migliore, aboard Desert Code, in the inaugural Turf sprint. It was Migliore's first Breeders' Cup or Classic win after so many years of frustration.
America once ruled the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). But "quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.' " With a synthetic surface introduced for the first time this year, leveling the playing field for the Europeans, Raven's Pass, like Edgar Allen Poe's mysterious bird, came tapping at our chamber door...then busted it down.
We'll start with the Classic, and this race is not for the faint-hearted. There are so many variables and question marks, it is a perfect race to look past a big favorite like Curlin and his closest pursuers on the odds board and search for the bargains, bombs, and overlays.
This is part 1 of our annual Breeders' Cup longshot column, and you can bet there will be lots of bargains available this year, in what is without a doubt the most perplexing Breeders' Cup in history.
Remember two years ago when Todd Pletcher sent a Napoleon-like army to the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, only to come away without a single victory? Well, that 17-horse assault is behind him, and now he returns to racing's biggest stage with a mere five-horse platoon.
This headline was originally written about Casino Drive, who will be discussed later. But Big Brown's retirement obviously takes precedence.
Now that we're in the eye of the Breeders' Cup storm, with the deluge of preps behind us and the main event only two weeks away, this is the perfect time to recognize a trainer and a horse whose accomplishments may have gone overlooked - Steve Asmussen and Red Giant.
While the "rivalry" between Curlin and Big Brown has manifested itself through the frequent and often frivolous comments from the horses' connections, there is a real rivalry over in Europe that may very well boil over into the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Talk about a hair-trigger decision. Following Curlin's victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), majority owner Jess Jackson said over he phone that the colt likely would ship to Santa Anita "in about a week" to test out the Pro-Ride surface. The next morning, Curlin was on a plane to California.
Undefeated Casino Drive, impressive winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) in only his second career start, is scheduled to return to the United States in mid-September to begin his preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 25, according to a spokesman for the Japan Racing Association.
With Curlin all but ruled out as a potential starter for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) by majority owner Jess Jackson due to the synthetic surface, it looks as though another division leader, Proud Spell, also will bypass the Breeders' Cup, according to trainer Larry Jones.
It was a great day for Washington racing and breeding, as fan favorite Wasserman defeated Canadian invader True Metropolitan and Southern California-based favorite Tropic Storm in a three-horse blanket finish in the $300,000 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Emerald Downs Aug. 17.
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