Breeders' Cup 2000 Preview: Play Ball! (part 2)

Continued from part 1

Here's how the races shape up:

Distaff: This is one of the two races that didn't overfill, as the presence of Riboletta and Beautiful Pleasure has frightened off many of the older fillies and mares, keeping down the number of pre-entries to 10. Heritage of Gold is back for another try after being humbled by 3-year-olds Plenty of Light and Spain in the Spinster Stakes. The younger generation will be well represented by major stakes winners Jostle, Plenty of Light, Spain, and Surfside. Crimplene, winner of three group I stakes, will be the lone European representative.

Juvenile Fillies: The absence of a standout in the division has resulted in 17 fillies pre-entering. Although Raging Fever is undefeated in five starts, there are many who feel she might not be as effective around two turns. Baffert is extremely confident in his Oak Leaf (gr. I) winner Notable Career.

Mile: Once again there is nothing even resembling a standout, which has brought 24 horses from all over the U.S. and Europe. Just finding a favorite is hard enough, never mind the winner. Top American horses include Ladies Din, Affirmed Success, Forbidden Apple, War Chant, Hap, and King Cugat, while the large European contingent will be headed by Arkadian Hero, Indian Lodge, Distant Music, Muhtathir, and several other top-class milers.

Sprint: This promises to be a wide-open battle between 3-year-olds and older horses, with last year's runner-up Kona Gold the likely favorite among the 19 horses pre-entered. The 3-year-olds will be represented by stakes winners More Than Ready, Trippi, Caller One, and the filly Dream Supreme. Another filly who should be a threat is Honest Lady. The two Europeans pre-entered are the well-traveled Agnes World and Godolphin's Bertolini.

Filly & Mare Turf: The recent defeats of the top two American grass fillies Perfect Sting and Snow Polina have made this race much more wide-open, although only 14 pre-entered. Two supplementary entries from the U.S. have been pre-entered--Colstar, upset winner of the Flower Bowl Handicap (gr. IT) and Caffe Latte, who finished fourth, beaten only a length in last year's inaugural running. Three Europeans have pre-entered, headed by the top-class Petrushka, who could wind up as the favorite.

Juvenile: As we said, this could very well be the strongest Juvenile in the history of the Breeders' Cup. Despite the number of classy colts, 19 horses have pre-entered, with a dozen of them having the credentials to win. Adding intrigue to the race is the presence of Godolphin's Noverre, a half-brother to Arazi, who thrilled the racing world with his incredible victory in the 1991 Juvenile, also run at Churchill Downs.

Turf: With the lack of a true American star, it was surprising "only" 16 were pre-entered. The late additions of European stars Montjeu and Kalanisi have added a good deal of luster to this race, which had been regarded as a wide-open affair with no real standouts. Canadian International (Can-IT) winner Mutafaweq and Man o' War (gr. IT) winner Fantastic Light, both owned by Godolphin, reinforces the strength of the European contingent.

Classic: Fusaichi Pegasus certainly hasn't scared anyone off, as 16 horses were pre-entered, including supplementary entries Tiznow, Captain Steve, and Gander. Albert the Great joins Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant's Causeway, Tiznow, Captain Steve, and Pine Dance to form a powerful 3-year-old force, which should dominate the wagering. Lemon Drop Kid, Golden Missile, and Cat Thief, once the creme of American racing, will attempt to regain their best form after recent defeats.