Circle the date Oct. 4 on your calendar. Your assignment is to pray for rain in France — enough to turn the Longchamp turf course soft. The softer the better.
Yes, it is a selfish request, as no one wants to see thousands of dejected European racing fans, but considering what a soft course that day would mean for the Breeders Cup, we have to at least give it a shot, whether you believe in divine intervention or not.
A soft course would mean that European megastar Sea the Stars likely would be withdrawn from the Prix de l’Arc d Triomphe (Fra-I) and could very well point for the Breeders’ Cup Classic instead.
Sea the Stars’ trainer John Oxx said in the Sporting Life: “If we miss the Arc then we'll have to look at the two races that are left, which are
“We'll have to look at that but the horse tells you what to do. He has to still be in good form and giving us the right signals. It's very late in the year for a horse that has had a
Remember those words “seriously consider
Even if Sea the Stars runs in the Arc, perhaps the five weeks between that race at the Breeders’ Cup will entice the colt’s connections to take a shot anyway. But as Oxx said, he’s been running all year, going all the way back to the
Speaking of Sea the Stars, the British bookmakers are quoting him between 2-1 and 9-4 favorite for the Classic. Zenyatta is basically 4-1 across the board. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Rip Van Winkle, who gave Sea the Stars all he could handle in the Eclipse Stakes and then came back to the Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) can be had from 9-2 to 6-1. Summer Bird’s odds range from 4-1 to 8-1.
That brings us to the huge overlay, and that is Mine That Bird, who obviously doesn’t even get respect in
Rachel and Euro fillies: no comparison
There have been published comments recently stating that Rachel Alexandra’s conquests over males is not as big an accomplishment as one might think, because it is done all the time in Europe.
It’s true that fillies face and defeat colts on a much more regular basis in Europe than they do in
Europeans as a whole (Sea the Stars and the top Ballydoyle runners are an exception) do not run steadily throughout the year and have much easier campaigns than American horses. You’d be hard-pressed to find any European filly that has ever defeated males in May, August, and September, as Rachel Alexandra has done.
Almost all the European filly conquests over males come in the fall. They do not win classics and they rarely win a midsummer stakes against males.
For example, no filly has won the English Derby since 1916. There is no record of a filly winning the 2,000
In short, even in
It is difficult to compare racing in Europe to racing in
Was that Discreet Cat cruising to another brilliant victory in the Godolphin silks Sunday at
Dale Romans was one perplexed trainer following Swift Temper’s victory in Saturday’s Ruffian Handicap (gr. I)
He couldn’t understand why his filly, who had won the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) and Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) this year and placed in four other stakes, was being short-changed by the media.
“She’s a very talented filly,” he said. “I don’t know why she’s been so underrated this year. You never see her mentioned among the top fillies and mares. I don’t know the reason why, but I don’t think she’s gotten much respect. Besides than the top two or three, she’s as good as anybody. But I guess the turf writers don’t like her. Change that; give her some respect.”
You got it, Dale. She deserves respect after dropping back from two 1 1/4-mile races to 1 1/16 miles around one turn and defeating 1-5 favorite
The daughter of
Juveniles to watch
Keep an eye on the first three finishers of a six-furlong maiden race Saturday, all of whom look to have a good deal of potential, especially when the distances stretch out. The winner, Quick Ride, from the Nick Zito barn, is a son of Afleet Alex, and he turned in a strong performance to sweep to the front turning for home and win going away by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:10 4/5. Runner-up Litigation Risk, by Closing Argument, broke slowly and closed steadily along a wide-open rail to finish a solid second, four lengths ahead of Unbridled Fury, who also broke slowly, was stuck in traffic, then ducked to the rail and got up for third all on his own. The son of Broken Vow has an efficient low action and reaches out with great extension. Watch out for him going longer.
A New York-bred juvenile who can run is Bwana Jake, a son of Forestry who broke his maiden Friday by 10 3/4 lengths in 1:09 3/5 over a sloppy sealed track for Bruce Levine and Len and Louise Riggio’s My Meadowview Farm. Three races later, WinStar Farm’s Maria’s Mon colt, Super Saver , broke his maiden at a mile by seven lengths in 1:38 1/5 for Todd Pletcher. In the next race, the Zito-trained Thomas Got Even, by Stephen Got Even, broke his maiden by 9 1/2 lengths in 1:26 1/5 for seven furlongs. So, either the sealed track became noticeably slower after the first race or Bwana Jake is a horse you definitely want to keep an eye on.
Two exciting prospects scheduled to square off in Saturday’s Futurity Stakes (gr. II) are D’Funnybone, 10 3/4-length winner of the Saratoga Special (gr. II) for Rick Dutrow, and the brilliant maiden winner, Discreetly Mine, a half-brother to Discreet Cat and Pretty Wild who romped by 6 1/4 lengths at Saratoga. Another intriguing colt who could show up is Successful Score, who broke his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths at