It's not Ali/Frazier but the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 4 in Louisville, Ky., the hometown of former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, is being billed as a showdown between Bernardini and Lava Man.
With nonstop rain pelting Churchill Downs on Friday morning, trainer Mark Casse called an audible and opted to leave Charles Laloggia's Skip Code in the barn rather than work in preparation for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Some bits of Breeders' Cup XXIII trivia to throw in the conversation while you debate this year's fields.
STD Racing and Jason Wood's Lava Man, gearing up for a showdown with Bernardini in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, worked six furlongs in 1:15 over Keeneland's Polytrack on Friday, Oct. 27.
Breeders' Cup officials hoping the Nov. 4 World Championships at Churchill Downs will produce a record crowd for the event should be pleased with the long-range forecast.
A few minutes after King of the Roxy broke his maiden in his second start July 2 at Hollywood Park, Barry Irwin was on the phone speaking with his Team Valor partner, Jeff Siegel. Now they have a contender for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Talk about beginner's luck. The very first horse that Ronald Borgese owned is taking him to the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The horse's name is Nightmare Affair, but he's been a dream come true for his New York-based owner.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Oct. 26 that a John Deere X304 riding mower tractor with a retail value of $3,499 will be given away at the November 4 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.
One area where there are certainly no guarantees is the weather. But, should the 10-day forecast hold true, it will be a nice Breeders' Cup day Nov. 4 in Louisville, Ky.
It's not often that things go according to plan in the Thoroughbred business, but that's certainly been the case with Silverleaf Farms' purchase of Pomeroy last year.
In its first year of televising the Breeders' Cup World Championships, ESPN will air seven hours of coverage from Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Breeders' Cup coverage begins Nov. 4 at noon and continues to 7 p.m., and will be telecast in high definition.
Although a steady rain fell throughout the early morning, the main track at Churchill Downs was labeled fast Oct. 26 when James B. Tafel's Street Sense breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in preparation for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher is taking his record-breaking role of pre-entering 18 Breeders' Cup World Championship starters all in stride. Pletcher is expected to have at least one starter in seven of the eight championship day races, with the lone exception the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Trainer Todd Pletcher called the exclusion of Flower Alley from the body of the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) 'a joke' during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Breeders' Cup media teleconference Oct. 25 to announce the pre-entries for the eight-race $20-million event.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien spoke out about the chances of his star 3-year-old George Washington in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), calling him "possibly the best horse we've ever, ever had."
Trainer Aidan O'Brien pre-entered five horses for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Based at Ballydoyle in Ireland, O'Brien holds a strong pair for the NetJets Mile (gr. IT) despite the fact one of Europe's top milers, George Washington, has been entered to run in the $5-million Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at 10 furlongs.
Considering Churchill Downs' success as host of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, track and event officials are anticipating the possibility of a record crowd when the eight races with record purses of $20 million are held at the Louisville track Nov. 4.
Darley Stable's Bernardini turned in a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:02 2/5 at Belmont Park Wednesday, much to the satisfaction of trainer Tom Albertrani. His main rival for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Presented by Dodge (gr. I) will be Lava Man, whose trainer, Doug O'Neill, paid tribute to Bernardini.
A total of 121 Horses have been pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Pre-entries were due by noon Monday, and the Breeders' Cup racing directors/secretaries panel met yesterday to determine which horses would be allowed to run in the event a race was oversubscribed. The pre-entries were announced at 10 a.m. today.
The 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championships will have something for everyone, including an array of top-notch horses from both coasts and Europe.
There will be story lines aplenty in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). You want a battle of the royals? It's got it.
When you consider that European horses have won 12 (including High Chaparral's 2003 dead heat) of 22 runnings of the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), this year's contingent seems somewhat sketchy.
This year's 3-year-old crop can been dubbed the "Killer Bs" with the likes of Bernardini, Barbaro, Bluegrass Cat, and Brother Derek. After it is over, this year's cast for the Nov. 4 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) might be called the "Amazing As" with a fearsome foursome of the pre-entered Ad Valorem, Araafa, Aragorn, and Aussie Rules.
To Paul Saylor, this year's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) is a "pinch yourself situation on a daily, if not hourly, basis."
Only five editions of the Sprint have seen the post time favorite hit the wire first, although the connections of Henny Hughes can take solace that two of those winning favorites strutted their stuff at Churchill Downs, site of this year's event.
The 2006 Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) is shaping up to be an exciting event. The 1 3/8-mile race is expected to pit the older, globe-trotting, European superstar Ouija Board against up-and-coming 3-year-old sensation Wait a While, who has won stakes on both dirt and turf this season.
Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has started three horses in previous runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). This year alone he has three entrants in the race sponsored by Bessemer Trust, including the probable favorite. And with the year Pletcher has had, one unlike anyone before him, the 39-year-old conditioner is not entering many horses that don't fit.
The last four editions of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) were won by the favorite even though the races had an anything-can-happen look to them. That look is back this year, thanks in part to a new variable: the synthetic surface.
Michael Moran's McDynamo, winner of the last three runnings of the Breeders' Cup Grand National Steeplechase (NSA-I), takes aim at history when he faces six others in the race's 2006 edition Saturday at the Far Hills Races in Far Hills, N.J.
Officials of Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Oct. 24 the race order, post times, and wagering menu for the 23rd Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be held Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
After much deliberation, owner Robert L. Lothenbach decided against pre-entering his prized 3-year-old turf filly Vacare in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
The crowded list of contenders for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) picked up another member on Monday when trainer Ralph Nicks pre-entered James Spence's homebred Lilly Carson in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.
Two Churchill Downs-based horses were confirmed as being part of the cast for the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Nov. 4 as Jay-Em-Ess Stable's Suave was pre-entered on Monday to run in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I) and Phoebe Mueller's Rush Bay was pre-entered in the $3 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Robert Baker and William Mack's Pegasus Wind, third in Belmont Park's Champagne (gr. I) in his most recent outing, continued to train strongly toward a scheduled run in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) as he worked a mile on Monday at Churchill Downs.
OK, so Bernardini supposedly is a lock in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And if he doesn't win, how can you look past Lava Man and Invasor? And Sun King, Brother Derek, and Europeans George Washington and David Junior also will get support. After that, good luck. But let's get bold and try to ferret out an early longshot.
Although Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) winner Point Ashley was not among them, Zayat Stables pre-entered three horses Monday for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Wolrd Championships at Churchill Downs.
Working 14 horses in one morning is a major load for any trainer, but Todd Pletcher took that to another level Sunday when he put 14 Breeders' Cup horses through their paces with most of them turning in almost identical drills with machine-like precision.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, runner-up in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, breezed a strong five furlongs Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which will be run at the Louisville track on Nov. 4.
Whenever a top European-based runner invades North America for a crack at the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), one of the obvious questions is how well the horse will adapt to dirt. Whether Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) winner David Junior successfully makes the adjustment may depend on whether he takes more after his sire or after his dam.
Rebecca Maker, trainer of Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) winner It's No Joke, has indicated that the connections will take a pass on the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
The Tin Man, who has compiled the best seasonal record of his career with two grade I wins at the age of eight in 2006, will miss what would have been his third effort in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
A decision on whether Shirocco will attempt to defend his title in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) has been delayed "until the last possible moment," according to Paul Harley, racing manager to the 5-year-old's owner breeder Baron von Ullmann.
How hard is it to handicap the Breeders' Cup? Well, it's hard. In fact, we've determined exactly how difficult each division is, using comparative analysis.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, winner of the Super Derby (gr. II) in his last start, will skip the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. II) and will point for the Gulfstream Park meeting, with his main goal being the Donn Handicap (gr. I), trainer John Ward said Thursday.
George Krikorian's millionaire Hollywood Story, getting ready for her next start in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, worked six furlongs in 1:14 over Santa Anita's fast main track on Thursday.
Grade I-winning filly Shining Energy will be pre-entered for the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), trainer Julio Canani reported Oct. 18, rather than the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Multiple graded stakes winner Badge of Silver, in training with Bobby Frankel, is to make his next start in the Breeders' Cup NetJets Mile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, according to owner Ken Ramsey.
After shipping into Kentucky Oct. 10, the California-based Lava Man is adjusting well to his new surroundings at Keeneland Race Course as he preps for the $5- million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. According to trainer Doug O'Neill, the 5-year-old gelding settled in without a problem and is galloping daily over Keeneland's new Polytrack synthetic surface.
The stars will be shining down on Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, but many of the brightest ones will not even show up until the middle of Breeders' Cup week. As a result, several New York-based journalists, and one Jerseyite, have changed plans and will inhabit the Big Apple until the big guns complete their serious training.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Ltd. have confirmed that the 4-year-old Invasor, a top contender for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), has been nominated to the Breeders' Cup program as a horse of racing age.
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