Hard-Knockers Line Up for BC Marathon
The $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. II) drew a field of 10 older runners headed by Alberto Ibáñez's Argentinian-bred Ever Rider, looking to follow the path taken last year by the winning Calidoscopio, along with millionaire Pool Play for the 1 3/4-mile event Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Ever Rider, a 5-year-old son of Argentinian stallion Rider Stripes, qualified for the Breeders' Cup with a victory in the June 21 General Belgrano (Arg-II). Last year, Belgrano winner Calidoscopio, at age 9, catapulted himself to the headlines with a 4 1/4-length upset in the Marathon at odds of 17-1.
Conditioned by Maria Munoz, Ever Rider has been training steadily at Santa Anita since arriving in the U.S. in early August. He drew post 4 in the Marathon, and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. For a full feature on Ever Rider and his connections, click here.
Old-timer Pool Play, who will make his 41st start for owner William S. Farish Jr. and trainer Mark Casse, is among those entered in this year's edition. With earnings of more than $1.3 million, the 8-year-old Silver Deputy horse is the veteran of the field.
Pool Play's last win came in the 2012 edition of the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), and he also owns a grade I victory in the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap. But he finished sixth last time out in the Sept. 28 Homecoming Classic Stakes won by 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victor Fort Larned at Churchill Downs. Eurico Rosa Da Silva rides from the 9 hole.
Also coming out of the Homecoming Classic is Chad Schumer's third-place finisher Worldly, the 2011 Prairie Meadows Handicap winner. The 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy will be the first Breeders' Cup starter for Brendan Walsh, a former assistant to Eddie Keneally who went out on his own in 2011.
Worldly had two runner-up efforts prior to his Churchill bid—a late-closing second by a head to Prayer for Relief in the Aug. 17 Governor's Cup Stakes at Remington Park, and a runner-up finish to Golden Ticket in the July 27 renewal of the Prairie Meadows 'Cap. Walsh has drafted the services of David Flores, who was aboard Worldly in the Homecoming Classic. They leave the far outside.
North American Thoroughbred Horse Company's Commander comes off his second straight victory in the 1 3/8-mile BC Premiere's Handicap (Can-III) at Hastings Racecourse Oct. 14, a race he took wire-to-wire by 1 1/4 lengths. The 5-year-old Broken Vow gelding has won five of eight starts in 2013, and four of his past five outings for trainer Troy Taylor. Aaron Gryder, who won the Marathon last year on Calidoscopio, gets the mount from the 3 hole.
Gold Starr Racing's Indian Jones was runner-up in the Sept. 2 Greenwood Cup (gr. III) going 1 1/2 miles at Parx Racing two starts back to 2010 Marathon winner Eldaafer by a game nose in his graded stakes debut. The 6-year-old son of Smarty Jones came back from that effort to run a late-closing second in a Sept. 26 one-mile allowance at Laurel Park. Phil Aristone trains, Angel Castillo will ride from post 6.
London Bridge, a 3-year-old son of Arch , will make his North American debut after eight starts and three wins in Europe. The colt was fourth in his most recent start, the Aug. 15 Prix Michel Houyvet at 1 7/8 miles at Deauville; he set the pace but weakened in the final furlong. His three victories for trainer J.F. Hughes this year in listed stakes were earned on or near the front end. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the mount from the 7 hole.
Homebred Old Time Hockey was fourth in the Sept. 29 John Henry Turf Classic (gr. IT) and also ran fourth for trainer Tom Proctor in the Aug. 24 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT). Winner of the 2012 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT), which was his last victory, the 4-year-old Smarty Jones gelding has raced the past 14 times on turf and returns to dirt for the first time since January of 2012, when he was third in a Gulfstream Park maiden special weight in his second start. Jose Lezcano rides from the rail.
RAP Racing and David Jacobson's Cease, claimed for $100,000 from Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider and trainer Al Stall Jr. this summer at Saratoga Race Course, returns to stakes contention for the first time since a runner-up finish by half a length to Pool Play in the 1 1/4-mile Hawthorne Gold Cup. The 6-year-old War Chant gelding was fifth in the 2011 Marathon. He stretches out from the seven furlongs he ran last time out, when he won an optional claimer at Belmont Park Oct. 10 by 1 3/4 lengths. David Cohen gets the mount from post 2.
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