(Edited press release)
No one would have questioned trainer Barclay Tagg had he pointed his star 3-year-old turf horse Showing Up to the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. But Tagg--sighting an international field of older horses filled to the brim with top-class milers--has decided to bypass the Breeders' Cup all together with Showing Up. Churchill's loss is New York's gain. And for the Breeders' Cup, there's always next year.Showing Up is expected to win the 57th running of the Jamaica Breeders' Cup Handicap, a grade II prize worth $300,000. Ten 3-year-olds are entered in the Jamaica, which will be run at a mile and a furlong over the inner turf course at Belmont Park Oct. 14.Purchased for $60,000 in May of 2005, Lael Stable's Showing Up has developed into a stone-cold racehorse, a grade I winner and millionaire this season for Tagg. By a young sire Strategic Mission, Showing Up enters the Jamaica in search of his fourth stakes victory of 2006. So far, the colt has earned trophies in the Lexington (gr. II), Colonial Turf Cup, and grade I Secretariat. In fact, he's only lost twice in his seven-race career, finishing a respectable sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and a narrow third in the grade I Man o' War to Cacique, one of America's best turf horses heading into the Breeders' Cup."I expect more from him every time he runs, and it seems like you can do what you want with him," Tagg said. "He just goes out there and gets it done. I can't see running against older horses right now. I think the Mile's coming up real tough, and I don't gain anything by running in it. Even if he wins it, he's not going be champion turf horse. I hope I picked the right spot for him; I think this is easier than the Breeders' Cup Mile."Given the heavy rains Oct. 11 and the cool fall temperatures in New York, there is a good chance the turf course will have some give to it for the Jamaica. Tagg does not foresee a problem. Showing Up drew post 4 with jockey Cornelio Velasquez. Not surprisingly, the colt totes topweight of 124 pounds.Outperformance appeared to be headed in the same direction as Showing Up in June after he won the grade III Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont, but failed to fire in the Colonial Turf Cup (fifth) and American Derby (gr. IIT) where he ran 13th, prompting trainer Rick Violette Jr. to give him a layoff.The layoff did the trick as Outperformance returned to the track with a career-best second-level allowance victory at Belmont Sept. 9. "I think we ran him back a little too quickly in Virginia, and he came out of the race in Chicago with a lung infection," Violette said. "We kind of just took a step back, got him healthy, and he returned with a good-looking win. He's more mature and he's put on weight since the summer. We've got Barclay's horse to beat, but that's why we run the races."Outperformance, a colt by Aptitude, also has a hot trainer in his corner. After the second race Oct. 12, Violette had 10 victories from just 28 starters at the meet.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has entered a pair of battle-tested stakes horses in Carnera and Spider Power that look as good as Outperformance.The Field for the grade II Jamaica Breeders' Cup Handicap:PP. Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Weight
1. Kiss the Kid, Amy Tarrant, Mario Madrid, 113
2. Carnera, Kiaran McLaughlin, Eibar Coa, 116
3. Devil's Preacher, George Weaver, Fernando Jara, 114
4. Showing Up, Barclay Tagg, Cornelio Velasquez, 124
5. Presious Passion, Mary Hartman, Jose Espinoza, 114
6. Outperformance, Rick Violette Jr., Javier Castellano, 115
7. Oedipus O' Neal, Gary Contessa, Joe Bravo, 113
8. Kip Deville, Rick Dutrow Jr., John Velazquez, 115
9. Spider Power, Kiaran McLaughlin, Richard Migliore, 115
10. Irish Osprey, Edwin Merryman, Mike Luzzi, 113--Devil's Preacher will race with blinkers.