Say what's the word? Well at Belmont Park on Saturday, it was Johannesburg, who remained unbeaten when he won the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Down to defeat went the Bob Baffert-trained Officer, who was on the rail in striking position but could not handle the pressure. Later, Baffert said Officer shut down after displacing his palate.
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.
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 has shifted gears with his two top unbeaten 2-year-olds, Officer and Habibti, deciding to keep them in California for their final preps prior to the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park instead of sending them to New York for a pair of grade I races in early October.
Three Chimneys Farm announced it will sponsor a stakes race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. The $100,000 race, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds, will be called the Three Chimneys Juvenile.
Stronach Stable's Macho Uno will not make it to the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but he will not require surgery to get back to the racetrack. Last year's 2-year-old champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner apparently is sore from bone-density immaturity.
Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) winner Thunder Bertie, a Churchill Downs-based contender for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, worked a sharp five furlongs Saturday to complete her serious training for the race. Other juveniles working toward Breeders' Cup races were Macho Uno, Holiday Thunder, and Xtra Heat.
"No child shall be left behind" -- one presidential candidate's sound bite -- fails to work in the Thoroughbred classroom, as 19 of those pre-entered at the head of the juvenile class of 2000 have proven to be in the accelerated program.