Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Breeders’ Cup Friday: The First Half

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 3, 2010

The clock is ticking and I am running out of time. The Breeders’ Cup Championships will begin in three days on Friday November 5th. I have only covered one race and I have quickly realized that I will not be able to go over even half the races as thoroughly as I would like. Starting with the Friday card of races I will cover both days of racing and highlight some of the biggest contenders that I feel have a good chance at winning or performing well.

The Breeders’ Cup Marathon will kicks things off on Friday and favoritism in the long-distance test falls to one of the most recognizable names in American racing. Awesome Gem has long been a favorite runner of mine after seeing his fine third place performance in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic behind Curlin and Hard Spun. For four straight years now Awesome Gem has been a jewel of shining consistency, a 7-year-old gelding with career stats of 38 lifetime starts. With 7 wins, 13 seconds and 4 thirds Awesome Gem has accumulated earnings of more than $2 million. He has never run past 1 ¼ miles distance in his career but West Point Thoroughbreds president Terry Finley believes the 1 ¾ mile distance is the best Breeders’ Cup fit for Awesome Gem.

Facing Awesome Gem are graded stakes winners Atoned, Eldaafer, Alcomo, Giant Oak and Prince Will I Am. Prince Will I Am enters off an impressive win in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park on the inner turf course. Eldaafer also enters off a win in the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes. He finished 7th in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon in 2009 when the event was held at Santa Anita. Alcomo just missed by a nose last out in the Greenwood Cup when losing to A. U. Miner but enters the Marathon in excellent condition.

My choice, purely as a fan, goes to Awesome Gem. It would be wonderful to see such a tough old campaigner win such a high caliber race at the ripe age of 7.

The Juvenile Fillies Turf is all about Winter Memories for me. To be quite honest I really am not as knowledgeable about this field as I should be so I will not bore everyone with my assumptions and instead focus on the facts that I know.

Winter Memories enters the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf undefeated and untested in just two lifetime starts. The striking gray/roan two-year-old filly, who appears almost pure white while running, broke her maiden by 1 ½ lengths in early September at Satatoga and then exploded late in the Miss Grillo Stakes (Gr.3) at Belmont Park to win easily the best by more than 5 lengths.

Jessamine Stakes winner, Kathmanblu, at odds could prove to be a very live longshot. Canadian filly Wyomia enters off two consecutive wins, her last coming in the form of a front-running victory in the Mazarine Stakes (Can-3) at Woodbine. Her 12-1 odds are just as alluring as Kathmanblu and she would seem to have more than just a long-shot chance at hitting the board.

The Filly and Mare Sprint has always been one of my favorite Breeders’ Cup races and this year one of the most evenly

matched fields in recent history has been entered, setting the scene for a very contentions and exciting running.

Rightly So, winner of the Grade 1 Ballerina in a 4 length romp in her last start, has earned favoritism in a field that includes 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Informed Decision. Rightly So is a deserving favorite but I am not convinced that she is the best in this field.

Informed Decision has lost some of her luster of last year but still sports a consistent and winning record in 2010. She last finished second by a nose in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr.2) to Dubai Majesty. In her previous race Informed Decision defeated Dubai Majesty by a head in the Presque Isle Downs Masters (gr. 3) proving that she still has some of her old spark left. As a big fan of hers I am willing to give her another chance and say that I hope she runs away with the Filly and Mare Sprint.

Sara Louise is perhaps the most mouth-watering runner in the field at odds of 15-1. In her first and only start of the year, Sara Louise finished a respectable third in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr.2), a race that she lost be a head to champion Indian Blessing after a stretch duel of historic proportions in 2009. She is as classy as they come and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see her return to her fantastic 2009 form on Friday and turn in an impressive performance.

Evening Jewel is one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country as well as being one of the most versatile and consistent. A graded stakes winner on both turf and synthetics while finishing second by a nose over the Churchill Downs dirt surface in the Kentucky Oaks (gr.1) to Blind Luck, Evening Jewel enters the Sprint off a third place effort behind Harmonious in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr.1). This will be her first time returning to dirt since her spectacular runner-up effort in the Kentucky Oaks earlier this year.

Gabby’s Golden Gal and Champagne d’Oro are two other standouts in the field with Champagne d’Oro being the more accomplished having won the Test Stakes (gr. 1) in early August at Saratoga.

I will cover the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Filly and Mare Turf and Ladies Classic on Thursday Morning. What are your thoughts, picks and opinions on the Breeders’ Cup? Do share all!

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One Response to “Breeders’ Cup Friday: The First Half”

  1. Galloping Josh said

    Excellent research and great picture selections! I especially enjoyed your use of the phrase “mouth-watering”, I think it fits perfectly for those who are looking for a horse they can count on. I hope Sara Louise meets your expectations!

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