Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Counting Down to the Cup

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 5, 2010

It seems like just yesterday the Breeders’ Cup was months away and the spring classics had just gotten under way. Now here we are and it’s Breeders’ Cup day one. Enter the champions and challengers, it’s time to race!

For the sake of time I will go over only a few of the Breeders’ Cup races as I can covering my top three or four contenders in each race.

The Breeders’ Cup Marathon may be the first race of the championships to be run Friday but I’m going to start with

Saturday’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr.1) and the incredible, international cast lining up to face two-time defending champion Goldikova.

Goldikova has to be one of the most aptly named horses in the world as she has proven over and over again that she is pure gold when it comes to the racing game. Over the course of three years Goldikova has laid claim to both European and American championship titles as well as being only the second horse in history to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile in consecutive years. In 2010 Goldikova has scaled new heights of greatness while winning 4 of her 5 starts, her only loss coming when finishing second over a soft turf course to the best three-year-old miler in Europe.

Goldikova’s biggest threats in the Mile will come from her European nemesis Paco Boy, who has pushed the great mare to some of the slimmest margins of victory in her career, American champion Gio Ponti and talented speed-ball Sidney’s Candy. Paco Boy has thrown his best shot as Goldikova time after time this year, and every time the gifted colt has crossed the finish line second, always behind the great champion. There is no doubt he has the ability and the talent to win the big ones but when you run into a giant like Goldikova it really doesn’t seem to matter how good you are. Gio Ponti turned in one of the most visually impressive turf performances of the season in his last start when he won the Shadwell Turf Mile with laughable ease. He is beyond a doubt the best hope America has of defeating the power-house duo of Goldikova and Paco Boy. Sidneys’ Candy has only raced once on the turf but once was enough, in the La Jolla Handicap (gr.2) Sidney’s Candy set a course record while winning easily by more than 5 lengths. A duck should take to water as well as Sidney’s Candy takes to turf. He looks like the kind of colt that could be brilliant enough to pull off a huge upset in the Mile if all the cards fall into place.

Bottom line in the Mile is that this race is all about Goldikova, it’s her show and her crown on the line. From all appearances it would seem the queen is ready to defend her title.

The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr.1) is yet another race in the championship series that seems chock-full of talent. Blind Luck leads the cavalry charge in Ladies Classic as the deserving favorite after wins in the Kentucky Oaks, Delaware Oaks and Fantasy Stakes this year to mention just a few. A small package with a huge late kick, Blind Luck embodies the greatest traits of courage, determination, toughness and will-to-win in thoroughbred racehorses that make these athletes so special. If nothing else Blind Luck is certainly the most competitive and well traveled filly in the field.

Her greatest threats come from older female Life At Ten, whose only 2010 blemish came in a third place finish behind Persistently and Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr.1), and 3-year-old nemesis Havre de Grace who turned the tables on Blind Luck in their last meeting after finishing runner up to Blind Luck two consecutive times. Life At Ten has been training lights-out since winning the Beldame Stakes and looks as ready as she has ever been to run a big race. Havre de Grace looked fantastic when testing the Churchill Downs surface for the first time after arriving for the Ladies Classic and should come into the race strong and fit. This could easily turn into another Blind Luck-Havre de Grace showdown at the wire but there a many classy fillies running who could easily step up and steal the prize if Blind Luck fails to fire her best shot. I don’t think that will happen.

The Breeders’ Cup post time is just hours away now and questions we have been asking all year long will finally be answered. Choose your runners and cheer for all your worth, it’s the Breeders’ Cup Championships, a golden day in the life of horse racing fans and one well worth celebrating. Best of luck to everyone and may the best horses win.

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2 Responses to “Counting Down to the Cup”

  1. If Goldikova and Zenyatta both win, I may do backflips of joy!

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