The John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr-IT) World Thoroughbred Rankings remained unchanged for a second week in a row when the results of the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr-IT, Sept 21) at Kentucky Downs, and Belmont Park's Jamaica Handicap (gr-IIT) the following afternoon failed to impress the panel of international handicappers. No doubt the tabulation will be shaken up after the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational (gr-IT) over 12 furlongs this weekend at Belmont, and Woodbine's $1.5 million Canadian International (Can-IT) over the same trip on the same afternoon, Sept 29.
Augustin Stable's With Anticipation will head the cast at Belmont, and he appears the main home-based runner with a chance to repel what is expected to be another powerful European invasion for the Turf. Horses from across the Atlantic have taken the $900,000 winner's check in the last three years. Jonathan Sheppard-trained With Anticipation, a 7-year-old by Relaunch who finished seventh in last year's Turf to Godolphin's Fantastic Light, has collected consecutive Gr-I races in his last three starts: Monmouth's United Nations Handicap, Saratoga's Sword Dancer Invitational, and Belmont's Man o' War Stakes.
Augustin and Sheppard also made the headlines last weekend when 6-year-old Rochester, a son of Green Dancer, shipped down from Pennsylvania to collect the Kentucky Cup Turf. Rochester's accomplishments are far behind those of With Anticipation, but last year's Sycamore Breeders' Cup Handicap winner nonetheless drew clear under Eddie Martin Jr. to win the Cup by 2 1/2 lengths over Nowrass, who is not pointing for the Turf. Turf intended Continental Red finished third over the 1 1/2 miles, seven lengths behind the winner, with Cetewayo another two lengths back in fourth.
Dogwood Stable's Finality proved best in the Jamaica at nine furlongs, rallying past rivals in the late stages to win by one length over the field of nine in 1:46 3/5. The Todd Pletcher trainee was ridden by John Velazquez. Union Place finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Chiselling in the race restricted to three year olds. Chiselling, the Secretariat Stakes (gr-IT) winner in his last start, had beaten Finality by a nose in the Lexington Stakes (gr-IIIT) in July, but didn't threaten the winner, a $100,000 Saratoga yearling by Dehere, in the Jamaica.
Horses of particular interest on the work tab in the last week include Beat Hollow, trained by Bobby Frankel, who is ranked alongside With Anticipation on 125 pounds, two pounds below topweights Golan and Grandera. The Juddmonte Farms runner went six furlongs at Belmont, Sept 22, in 1:16.05. Also, North East Bound, second in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr- IT), who covered five furlongs at Monmouth Park, Sept 18, in 1:01.20.