Parading should be sitting on a huge race coming into the Goodwood.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Parading should be sitting on a huge race coming into the Goodwood.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Countdown to the Cup: Goodwood Parade

Smorgasbord of stakes horses trying to earn their place in the Breeders' Cup.

You can’t say there isn’t enough to choose from when handicapping Saturday’s $350,000 Goodwood Stakes (gr. I), with a smorgasbord of stakes horses all trying to earn their place in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).


A victory by seven or eight of the 10 starters would not come as a surprise, and there should not be a clear-cut favorite. It looks as if Mine That Bird and Colonel John will command a good of interest at the windows, with Richard’s Kid taking action off his Pacific Classic (gr. I) win at odds of 24-1.


But there is a potential wise guy horse in the field, who should be sitting on a huge race, and that is the 6-year-old Parading. It is difficult to predict just how much action this Shug McGaughey-trained son of Pulpit will take following his fourth-place finish in the Pacific Classic, in which he was beaten only 1 3/4 lengths. But the feeling here is that he will get bet, and that he is going to be tough to beat.


In his last two trips west, he was a well-beaten fifth in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) before his improved performance in the Pacific Classic. But those races were both at 1 1/4 miles, and Parading was coming off two-month layoffs each time. Parading went into the Pacific Classic off just three half-mile breezes over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga and ran as if he were a bit short, making a strong move to get within a head of Einstein at the eighth pole. He remained in California, breezing a half mile, followed by five-furlong drills in 1:01 2/5 and 1:00 4/5, both handily.


Not only will he be tighter going into the Goodwood, but it’s important to note that he’s run in three 1 1/8-mile stakes in his career and has won them all (two on turf and one on Polytrack), so it’s quite possible that nine furlongs is his best distance. Also, his best Beyer numbers put him right there with the others.


By leaving him in California, McGaughey obviously means business and is giving him every opportunity to earn a spot in the Classic. Everything seems to point to him having a big shot in here.


It is also important to mention that there is very little speed in the race. In fact, Tres Borrachos is the only speed. Although he’s been known to throw in some clunkers, as he did in the Pacific Classic, he also has moments where he shines, and he can get very brave on the lead if left alone, as he was in his second-place finish in the Hollywood Gold Cup at 23-1. The big question is how he’ll perform on Pro-Ride, a surface on which he is 0-for-3, all out-of-the-money finishes. He had a third and a seventh on Santa Anita’s Cushion Track before it switched to Pro-Ride. His works were only ordinary on Pro-Ride this summer. He now trains at Hollywood Park, where his works are noticeably faster. But if he does handle the track and gets an uncontested lead, which he should, and is on his game, he could take them a long way.


A potential overlay is Tiago, depending on how close he is to regaining his form from last year when he was a rallying third in the Classic, beating out all the other American horses, and his form from two years ago when he won the Goodwood. He also finished fast to be second in last year’s Goodwood. He only has the one poor turf race in the Brubaker after being out since February dealing with physical problems.


The only unknown factor, as far as the pace, is European invader Gitano Hernando, who has shown some tactical speed racing on turf and all-weather in England. But there is a big question whether he has the speed to pressure Tres Borrachos.


The Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland will feature an interesting East vs. West showdown, as the brilliant, hard-knocking Informed Decision, from Jonathan Sheppard’s barn, squares off against the speedy Carlsbad, winner of seven of nine career starts in California and early on in Arizona. She is now trained by Jeff Mullins. Both fillies are coming off impressive scores and should put on quite a show.


The difference between holding the Breeders’ Cup on dirt and synthetic: 16 entered, with two also-eligibles, for the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) over Keeneland’s Polytrack compared to six entered in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) on dirt at Belmont.


If Life is Sweet is ever going to upset her illustrious stablemate Zenyatta one would think it’ll be over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride, over which she won the Santa Margarita (gr. I), La Canada (gr. II), and El Encino (gr. II) earlier this year. That would certainly make for one weird winner’s circle scene.