Friday, October 16, 2009

With Major Preps Over Focus Turns To Breeders' Cup Day

Santa Anita Park

Last Saturday featured the most Grade I races on a single day for the entire year and the weekend featured a whopping 12 Grade 1's as prep time for the Breeders' Cup winds down with the big event just three weeks away. There are some cretainties and uncertainties as the Cup weekend draws near.

Their was major buzz around the cup that they could lure the winner of the Arc, Sea The Stars, to Santa Anita for the Classic. This week, trainer John Oxx said that Sea The Stars is being retired prior to the Cup. He has earned it with his perfect record for the year over the soft courses in Europe.

It has long been announced that likely Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will not run in the Cup and her season ended with a win over older males in the Woodward on Saratoga's closing weekend. Owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen simply do not like to run on the synthetic tracks of Southern California.

There are some bright spots though. The sensational mare Zenyatta who last week ran her record to a perfect 13-0 is likely being pointed to the $5 Million Classic rather than the Ladies Classic. With wins on the synthetic tracks at Keeneland and Santa Anita by B list Europeans over the best America has to offer, Zenyatta may be the best hope America has for winning the Classic this year. There has been some talk that Gio Ponte, America's best turf horse, may also enter the Classic. Summer Bird winner of the Belmont, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup and Mine That Bird, the Kentucky Derby winner have both been confirmed for the Classic.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Keeneland Fall Meet Opens With Alcibiades

Keeneland Race Course

The Keeneland Fall meet opens today and with the Breeders' Cup again on the artifical surface at Santa Anita, the meet has taken on added importance as a prep for the big event.

The feature on the card today is the $500,000 Grade 1 Alcibiades for two year old fillies to be run at 1 1/16 miles over the Keeneland Polytrack. A field of twelve is expected to contest the race.

Horses To Watch for the Alcibiades

She Be Wild - Post 3 - M/L 3/1 - Gomez / Catalano
Beautician - Post 4 - M/L 5/2 - Desormeaux / McPeek
Amen Hallelujah - Post 9 - M/L 6/1 - Mena / R. Dutrow
Sassy Image - Post 12 - M/L 8/1 - Albarado / Romans
Kid Kate - Post 10 - M/L 8/1 - Leparoux / C. Brown

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oak Leaf and Norfolk Are Co-Features at Oak Tree

Oak Tree at Santa Anita

A pair of Grade 1 races are the co-features today at Santa Anita as the Oak Tree meet winds up week 1. Both are primary prep races for the Breeders' Cup which will be held on November 5 & 6 at this track at the end of the Oak Tree meet.

The $300,000 Grade 1 Oak Leaf for two year old fillies to be run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track is a prep for the BC Juvenile Fillies. A field of 12 will contest the race.

Horses To Watch for the Oak Leaf

Always A Princess - Post 1 - M/L 5/2 - Gomez / Baffert
Blind Luck - Post 5 - M/L 6/1 - T. Baze / Hollendorfer
Softly Singing - Post 8 - M/L 7/2 - Rosario / Hollendorfer
Pure Class - Post 7 - M/L 5/2 - Smith / Sadler
Forbidden Paradise - Post 4 - M/L 8/1 - Bejarano / Hoffmans

The $300,000 Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes for two year olds to be run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track is a prep for the BC Juvenile and the winner of the Juvenile has come out of this race 5 of the past 10 years. A field of 12 will contest the race.

Horses To Watch for the Norfolk

Lookin At Lucky - Post 2 - M/L 8/5 - Gomez / Baffert
Dave in Dixie - Post 10 - M/L 9/2 - Rosario / Sadler
John Scott - Post 11 - M/L 6/1 - Espinoza / Gaines
Jung Man Scott - Post 9 - M/L 10/1 - Bejarano / R. Dutrow
Pulsion - Post 12 - M/L 10/1 - Smith / Biancone

Court Vision Returns In Kelso

Belmont Park

Court Vision returns from a short vacation and for a new barn in the $250,000 Grade 2 Kelso Handicap today at Belmont Park. The Kelso is carded at a mile over the Widener Turf Course for three year olds and upward. A field of five will contest the race.

Horses To Watch for the Kelso

Court Vision - Post 2 - M/L 4/5 - Dominguez / R. Dutrow
Ready's Echo - Post 4 - M/L 5/2 - Leparoux / Pletcher
Yorktown - Post 3 - M/L 6/1 - Rose / Motion

Sea The Stars Shines Brightly In Arc

Longchamp Racecourse

Sea The Stars was in traffic trouble for much of the mile and a half Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe before breaking loose to a four length win. Going into the race, Sea The Stars was being touted as Europe's next Super Horse having won seven straight and 5 consecutive Group 1 races. He proved himself today in the $5.8 Million Group 1 Arc which is widely known as one of the most prestigious races in the world. Sea The Stars was ridden by Mick Kinane.

Youmzain was able to get up for 2nd in a close photo. This was the third straight 2nd place for Youmzain who was ridden by Kieren Fallon who had recently returned to racing after a four year absence.

Cavalryman finished 3rd with Frankie Dettori up and the superfecta was filled out by Conduit, the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf champion with Ryan Moore in the saddle.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Super Saturday at Belmont Park

Belmont Park

A card that features 5 Grade 1 prep races for the Breeders' Cup is on tap today for Super Saturday at Belmont Park.

The $600,000 Grade 1 Beldame for fillies and mares three year olds and upward at 1 1/8 miles over the main track leads off the Grade 1 races today. A field of only five horses will contest the Beldame.

Horses To Watch for the Beldame

Music Note - Post 2 - M/L 2/5 - Maragh / bin Suroor
Pletcher Entry - Captain's Lover - Post 1 - M/L 2/1 - Johnny V.
Pletcher Entry - Unbridled Belle - Post 1A - M/L 2/1 - Dominguez

The $400,000 Grade 1 Vosburgh for three year olds at 6 furlongs over the main track also has a small field of just 5 horses.

Horses To Watch for the Vosburgh

Fabulous Strike - Post 5 - M/L Even - Dominguez / Beattie
Go Go Shoot - Post 1 - M/L 6/1 - Maragh / Levine
Kodiak Cowboy - Post 4 - M/L 3/1 - Bridgmohan / Asmussen

The $600,000 Gradw 1 Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies & mares three years old and upward at 1 1/4 miles over the Inner Turf Course with a field of eight is next.

Horses To Watch for the Flower Bowl

Moneycantbuymelove - Post 7 - M/L 4/1 - Spencer / Bell
Carribean Sunset - Post 1 - M/L 5/2 - Dominguez / Clement
Dynaforce - Post 4 - M/L 7/2 - Desormeaux / Mott
Pure Clan - Post 3 - M/L 3/1 - Leparoux / Motion

The $600,000 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for three year olds and upward at 1 1/2 miles over the Widener Turf Course features a field of 9.

Gio Ponte - Post 1 - M/L 6/5 - Dominguez / Clement
Grand Couturier - Post 8 - M/L 5/2 - Garcia / Ribaudo
Presious Passion - Post 7 - M/L 6/1 - Trujillo / Hartman
Winchester - Post 1A - M/L 6/5 - Unknown / Clement

The $750,000 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup for three year olds and upward at 1 1/4 miles over the main track is the Super Saturday feature. A field of seven will contest the race.

Horses To Watch for the Jockey Club Gold Cup

Quality Road - Post 7 - M/L 5/2 - Johnny V / Pletcher
Summer Bird - Post 3 - M/L 2/1 - Desormeaux / Ice
Macho Again - Post 2 - M/L 7/2 - Alberado / Stewart
Asiatic Boy - Post 5 - M/L 8/1 - Garcia / McLaughlin

Large Field to Contest Indiana Derby

Hoosier Park

A field of 12 is expected to go to the post today to contest the $500,000 Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park. The race is carded at 1 1/16 miles over the main track for three year olds.

Horses To Watch for the Indiana Derby

Despite The Odds - Post 4 - M/L 7/2 - Lezcano / Trombetta
Misremembered - Post 8 - M/L 9/2 - Espinoza / Baffert
Flat Bold - Post 7 - M/L 5/1 - Lanerie / Albertrani
Win Willy - Post 2 - M/L 6/1 - Bell / M. Robertson
Giant Oak - Post 1 - M/L 10/1 - Razo, Jr. / Block