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.
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.
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).
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.
Tim Ice said again that he would nominate Summer Bird to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), as well as the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I), both at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 7. He was confident about Summer Bird's ability to handle either surface, but said the Classic was the more likely choice.
Summer Bird continued his meteoric rise to the top of the Thoroughbred ranks, as he turned back fellow 3-year-old Quality Road to win the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) by a length Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
Though his racing career began just seven months ago, Summer Bird has accomplished extraordinary things in a short period of time. The Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Shadwell Travers (gr. I) winner will try to defy the odds once again when he faces older horses for the first time in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
A trio of contenders for the Oct. 3 $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) had their final tune-ups for the 1 1/4-mile race on a busy morning at Belmont Park Sept. 26.
The son of Elusive Quality worked five furlongs in 1:01.14 in preparation for his next start Oct. 3 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes and Shadwell Travers (both gr. I) winner Summer Bird left his connections with wide smiles the morning of Sept. 19 after a solid workout for the 3-year-old's next engagement, the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
It's time to accept the fact that Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta are not going to meet. As the cliche goes, that ship has sailed.
Trainer Tim Ice answers questions about Summer Bird, winner of the Belmont Stakes and the Travers, and much more.
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.
Enjoying the attention a day after Summer Bird's decisive 3 1/2-length win in the Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 29, trainer Tim Ice was entertaining the possibility of reaching his ultimate goal, the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), without a race over Santa Anita's synthetic track.
Summer Bird continued his meteoric rise to the top of the nation's 3-year-old ranks, as he rolled through the slop for an easy 3 1/2-length score in the $1-million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
With more than an inch of rain in the forecast overnight and into tomorrow, an off-track appears likely for the $1-million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
Jason, Tom, and Les Instone of twinspires.com preview the Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I). Watch Now
A pair of quarter cracks may have kept Quality Road out of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but nearly four months later the record-setting 3-year-old will get his shot at the next best thing -- the Mid-Summer Derby.
As soon as trainer Kiaran McLaughlin found out Rachel Alexandra would be running in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 5 he quickly contacted the owner of his Woodward hopeful Asiatic Boy, about the possibility of heading to California.
Edward P. Evans' Quality Road put in his final breeze before the Aug. 29, grade I, $1-million Shadwell Travers at Saratoga Race Course, covering five furlongs over the muddy main track in :59.68, fourth fastest of 24 at the distance on the morning of Aug. 24.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird breezed five furlongs over the main track at Saratoga Aug. 22 with Kent Desormeaux up. The time for the move, seventh best of nine at the distance, was 1:00.91 over a muddy track.
Kent Desormeaux climbed aboard Summer Bird Aug. 15 as the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner put in his first serious work for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) over the main track at Saratoga.
Saratoga is already the only racetrack in the country where fans can catch a glimpse of all three 2009 classic winners, and on Friday, Aug. 21, three lucky individuals will win a chance to meet one of these great horses face-to-face.
Gulfstream Park added the name of unbeaten champion Zenyatta to the list of superstar nominees whose fees have been waived to the 2010 Donn Handicap (gr. I).
Looking ahead to a possible start on the grass in the fall, trainer Tim Ice had Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird galloped the morning of Aug. 12 over the Oklahoma turf course as part of his preparations for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) Aug. 29 at Saratoga Race Course.
Gulfstream Park has waved the nomination fees for grade I winners Mine That Bird, Rachel Alexandra, Summer Bird, and Quality Road to next year's Donn Handicap.
Indian Blessing, the champion female sprinter of 2008, is set to breeze Aug. 8 as she points towards a return to the races in the $300,000 Ballerina (gr. I) on Aug. 29.
Quality Road came out of his record-setting performance in the Aug. 3 Amsterdam (gr. II) in good condition and will be pointed toward the Aug. 29 Shadwell Travers (gr. I) as planned, trainer Todd Pletcher reported Aug. 4.
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.
Rachel Alexandra turned in yet another dominating performance in a campaign for the ages when she captured the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park Aug. 2.
Although Rachel Alexandra has been installed as the 4-5 favorite for the $1.25-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 2, she could face stiff competition from several of the six 3-year-old colts entered against her.
A sore foot could keep Atomic Rain from taking on BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird in the Aug. 2 Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.
BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra had her final workout July 27 at Saratoga as she continues to prepare for her next start in the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Sunday, Aug. 2.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird put in his final work for the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I), breezing five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 July 26 with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.
Monmouth Park announced the purse for the 42nd running of Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 2 has been boosed by $250,000 to now total $1,250,000.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird, expected to take on Preakness (gr. I) champion Rachel Alexandra in the Aug. 2 Haskell Invitational (gr. I), worked 1:13 4/5 for six furlongs at Monmouth Park July 19 as he continues to prepare for the $1 million event.
Edward Evans' homebred Quality Road worked five furlongs in 1:01.41 July 17 at Belmont Park and is on track to make his first start in more than four months in the $150,000 Amsterdam (gr. II) at Saratoga on Aug. 3.
The winner of the BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) is in top condition and ready for the $1 million, grade I stakes Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park, which could include Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird.
Summer Bird, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in his last effort, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 the morning of July 12 at Monmouth Park.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Papa Clem had their first works over the Monmouth track July 6 in preparation for the $1-million Haskell Invitational Aug. 2.
Two leading contenders for the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 2 worked five-eighths of a mile over a fast track at Monmouth Park the morning of July 6.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird rolled into the Monmouth Park stable area at 5:30 the morning of July 3 and settled into his stall in Barn 3 as he prepares for his next start, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. 1) on Sunday, Aug. 2.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird will not breeze this weekend as originally planned in preparation for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 2, according to trainer Tim Ice.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird, and Peter Pan winner (gr. II) winner Charitable Man are all targeting the Shadwell Travers (gr. I) later this summer at Saratoga, but will take different paths to the "Mid-Summer Derby."
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Similarities in the pedigrees of Summer Bird (by Birdstone) and Gabby's Golden Gal (by Medaglia d'Oro) provide some insights into the bloodlines of their young sires.
One of the strangest Triple Crowns in memory has come to an end, leaving being a flood of memories and wild and wacky moments.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird obviously loves New York. He loves it so much that he could return this summer to run at Saratoga Race Course in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) and the Aug. 29 Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I).
It was a bird that won the June 6 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, but it was not Mine That Bird but rather Summer Bird that won the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Jason, Tom, and the Wizard preview the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Watch Video
Insight into the pedigrees of this year's Belmont contenders is only a click away. This easy-to-read report includes pedigree analyses from Alan Porter and Avalyn Hunter. Order your copy today and separate the contenders from the pretenders.
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