Damascus tops Breeders' Cup Saturday undercard

Breeders' Cup Saturday at Santa Anita kicks off with three $100,000 stakes, the highlight being the seven-furlong <a target="_blank" href="http://www

Breeders' Cup Saturday at Santa Anita kicks off with three $100,000 stakes, the highlight being the seven-furlong Damascus for three-year-olds.

Politicallycorrect cuts back from nine furlongs after registering a three-quarters of a length win over Grade 1 King's Bishop hero Willy Beamin in the September 30 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. Runner-up in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby earlier in the year, the Kitten's Joy gelding will have to wear down the likes of Mile High Magic and Private Zone to win again.

Mile High Magic, trained by Bob Baffert, has never finished worse than third in six career outings. Favored each time he's run, the gelding has dropped two straight as the odds-on choice, including the Jim Kostoff at Fairplex Park, a two-turn 6 1/2-furlong dash.

Former Panamanian mainstay Private Zone went unplaced in two Polytrack outings at Del Mar following his re-importation, but fared better last time against a tough field in the Gallant Bob at Parx Racing. Dueling through splits of :21 2/5 and :43 4/5, Private Zone weakened to third late behind Grade 3 winner Well Spelled and Grade 2 victor Trinniberg.

Also in the Damascus lineup is Grade 1-placed Brother Francis, who has fared better on turf and synthetic surfaces than on conventional dirt.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Preview, at about 6 1/2 furlongs, has attracted two European shippers -- Ascot debut winner Snow King and Group 1 Cheveley Park fourth Upward Spiral.

The American contingent is led by Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship victor Scherer Magic and Zuma Beach runner-up Den's Legacy. Belmont maiden winner Mico Margarita and course-and-distance maiden winners Moulin de Mougin and Our Firm Cat are others of note.

The program kicks off with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Sprint Preview, which attracted a small field of five to go seven furlongs. The favorites figure to be Bares Tripper, a dominating winner of the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex, and Unusual Way, who romped by 11 lengths in the Wine Country Debutante in her dirt debut at Santa Rosa. Also in with a chance is Truly Marie, who went unplaced in two grass stakes following a wire-to-wire maiden score on the main track at Del Mar.

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