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Archive for the ‘Breeders’ Cup Marathon’ Category

Breeders’ Cup Day 1: Blogging By the Hour

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 1, 2013

Hello racing fans, today is finally here…Breeders’ Cup Day One! Aside from classes in the morning, this is just about a perfect day. As soon as the horses enter the paddock I’ll be standing by to give minute-by-minute and hourly updates on all the races and contenders. I hope everyone gets to pick some winners today and we’re all able to witness the coronation of great new champions and even greater returning ones:

1) Breeders’ Cup Marathon Grade 3 – 1 ¾ Miles
It’s just under an hour to the first Breeders’ Cup race of the year, the 1 ¼ mile marathon with a field of 10 set to contest the race over Santa Anita’s dirt course. Commander is the horse I like here and with the apparent “speed bias” everyone seems to be talking about on the dirt today I think his chances have increased even more. He’s won four of his last 5 starts and in all four wins the official chart notes that he had the lead and either held of extended his advantage at the wire. Indian Jones and Pool Play seem to be getting some support on social media, but as it stands now Commander looks the best from this vantage. 37 Minutes to post for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
Results: London Bridge came from out of the clouds to win the Breeder’s Cup Marathon at odds of 7-1 at Santa Anita, defeating Blueskiesnrainbows with Worldy finishing third. Approaching the end of the backstretch Commander relinquished an easy lead he had maintained for the first 1 ¼ of the Marathon as a wave of contenders overcame his position. Blueskiesnrainbows took a narrow advantage into the homestretch with a swift move on the inside as Wordly loomed up on the outside with Suns Out Guns Out packed tightly between those two. It appeared briefly that Blueskiesnrainbows would open up and win by just over a length clear, but London Bridge had other plans. Closing from dead last, all-time-winningest Breeders’ Cup jockey Mike Smith guided London Bridge wide around his competition and stormed down the center of the track to catch a tiring Blueskiesnrainbows. Clearly these was no speed bias on the Santa Anita dirt surface today as some feared there might be.

2) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Grade 1 – 1 Mile
Bobby’s Kitten looks to be much the best of this group to me, but see as I chose Commander in the Marathon who just got trampled, my opinion might not be the best. His Pilgrim Stakes (Gr.3) was ultra-impressive and he’s able to replicate the same kick he displayed there he should win this with a good trip. Bashart and Giovanni Boldini look like legitimate threats.

Bobby’s Kitten kicked out of the gate in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf like a rocket and blew through the fastest opening quarter in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf history, going :22.27 before posting a :25.45.70. Down the backstretch Bobby’s Kitten maintained his commanding lead, rolling into the homestretch 2 lengths in front with Giovianni Boldini beginning to gain ground in second. Off the turn it was clear Bobby’s Kitten was going to have to work hard to validate his favoritism. Giovanni Boldini continued to eat into his lead, gaining momentum with each and every stride, but from the middle of the pack Outstrip streaked through an opening and gunned for the leaders. It was like watching a fresh horse jump into the race in the homestretch and mow down his two biggest opponents with ease. The margin of victory wasn’t large, but it didn’t matter, Outstrip was fantastic and proved easily the best. Mike Smith won his 2nd Breeders’ Cup race of the day. Giovanni Boldini finished second with Bobby’s Kitten in third.

3) Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 1 – 1 Mile
If the Verrazano of the Haskell Stakes shows up here in the Dirt Mile I don’t think he’s going to have any problems winning this race. Goldencents is a bit of a question mark to me, he’s proven himself earlier in the year, but lately he’s been missing the win in races that should be right up his alley distance-wise. I think Pants On Fire is the most legitimate choice to spring a win if it’s not Verrazano.

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was Verrazano’s chance to prove his losses at 1 ¼ miles in the Kentucky Derby and Travers this year were flukes and that his true talent lay in the sprints and mile distances. Goldencents had other plans. Breaking from the gate best of all, Goldencents and jockey Bajarano shot to the lead and never looked back. Blazing an opening quarter mile in :22.12 before a half in :44.75, Goldencents turned back the challenge of Broadway Empire and poured it on in the homestretch, opening up by 5 lengths on the field. Verrazano floundered in 4th, finally fading back as Golden Ticket came up on the inside to take second with Brujo de Olleros in third. Goldencents had something to prove today and he came out and really put on a show. I guess the decision for Champion 3-Year-Old Male rests solidly in the results of the Breeders’ Cup Classic tomorrow night.

4) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Grade 1 – 1 Mile on the Turf
This field seems a bit wide-open to me this year and I frankly wouldn’t be surprised to see a longshot win, however I do think Vorda and My Conquestadory appear to be the best on paper. Vorda has more experience than My Conquestadory who is undefeated in just two starts, including a win in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibides Stakes last out, but it’s sometimes hard to tell how well a young horse will handle travelling from Europe to America. Chrisellium seems like another filly with a good shot. If she gets a good pace to close into she’ll be right in the mix.

Chrisellium got the pace she needed and romped to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, defeating Testa Rossi and Colonel Joan in third with My Conquestadory finishing 4th. Nesso led the field through a strong opening quarter in :22.47 with My Conquestadory tracking in 2nd on the outside. Rounding the far turn Nesso continued to lead as My Conquestadory moved up to challenge and Chrisellium and jockey Hughes slipped between horses from the middle of the pack and unleashed a devastating turn of foot. As quick as My Conquestadory took the lead Chrisellium stole it away and blazed under the line in a record setting final time of 1:33.72. European’s are having a great Breeders’ Cup so far. My Conquestadory failed as the major American hope here, but still ran her heart out and was compromised by the 14 post. She’ll be back stronger and tougher to beat next time.

5) Breeders’ Cup Distaff Grade 1 – 1 1/8 Miles
This is the race I’ve been waiting for all day. Royal Delta looks to win her third straight Breeders’ Cup Distaff (formerly Ladies Classic) today and by all accounts will face her toughest Breeders’ Cup test to date in a pair of classy, talented 3-year-old fillies. Princess of Sylmar has been unstoppable since winning the Kentucky Oaks, becoming the only filly in history to win the Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabma Stakes in the same year. Even more impressive perhaps was the way she so easily defeated Royal Delta in her last start, the Beldame Stakes (Gr.1) at Belmont Park. Beholder rounds out the top three and is generally considered just a step below the level of Princess of Sylmar on the 3-year-old filly standings. She lost by half a length to Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks in May and since then has won two straight, including taking the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes against older fillies and mares. These three fillies are an incredible trio, I don’t think Authenticity will even crack the top three in the Distaff this year, despite the fact that she is such a terrific athlete. I’m rooting for Royal Delta to win her third straight Distaff, but there will be absolutely no disappointment on my end to see either Princess of Sylmar or Beholder take the crown.

Results: In a six horse field largely considered one of the very strongest in the entire Breeders’ Cup Championships this year, Beholder romped to victory over Close Hatches on her home track of Santa Anita to become the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner to return and capture the Distaff. Breaking from the gate it was a three way race between Royal Delta, Authenticity and Beholder, with Authenticity eventually gaining the advantage. Running an opening quarter in a swift :22.78, Authenticity led Royal Delta by half a length down the backstretch as Beholder sat just in behind. Coming around the far turn Royal Delta began to fall back as Beholder seized the lead with Close Hatches launching a strong move to gain second. Princess of Sylmar shockingly seemed to be struggling as the field entered the homestretch, eventually fading to finish last as Beholder blitzed to victory by more than 4 lengths with Gary Stevens aboard. It was Gary Stevens first Breeders’ Cup win in 13 years since returning to riding earlier this year. What happens now with the champion filly 3-year-old picture? Royal Delta sadly was not able to replicate her past two victories in the Breeders’ Cup and finished a distant 4th.


Posted in Beholder, Breeders' Cup, Breeders' Cup Distaff, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, Breeders' Cup Marathon, Chrisellium, Commander, Goldencents, Indian Jones, London Bridge, My Conquestadory, Oustrip, Pool Play, Princess of Sylmar, Royal Delta, Verrazano | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Native Diver Handicap

Posted by Brian Appleton on December 3, 2010

A month after lighting up the tote board at Churchill Downs with winning odds of 37-1, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Dakota Phone returns to California to contest the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap. Coming from dead last in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Dakota Phone made an impressive run on the far outside coming into the homestretch to nab talented 3-year-old Morning Line at the wire. Stretching out from the distance of a mile to 1 1/8 miles distance in the Native Diver should be no problem for the Breeders’ Cup champion with his closing style. He has only won 2 of 11 starts in 2010 but consistently runs well, expect him to be competitive.

Another Breeders’ Cup contender also returns to action in the Native Diver as Romp runs for the first time since his Breeders’ Cup Marathon fiasco. Romp and jockey Martin Garcia survived what could have been a near-fatal accident on the final turn of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon when Prince Will I am with Javier Castellano up cut the pair off entering the homestretch. Displaying incredible athleticism, Romp fell to his knees and picked himself up all in the same motion while jockey Garcia flew out of the saddle and somehow managed to land back on Romp as the colt struggled to get back in the race.

The 6-year-old gelding had absolutely no shot in the Marathon but he emerged from the incident unscathed and appears ready to run his best. He cuts back in distance from the 1 ¾ miles Marathon distance to 1 1/8 miles in the Native Diver, but considering he was unable to run a competitive race the length of Churchill’s homestretch this could be the perfect move for him.

Soul Candy enters the Native Diver with the best 2010 record in the field. He has won three of his last four starts and

comes in fresh off a victory in the 1 1/8 mile California Cup Classic on October 30th over the Hollywood Park surface. He ran down Del Mar Mile Handicap (g.3) winner and favored Enriched in the California Cup Classic to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a hand ride. With a victory over the Hollywood surface and at the same distance as the Native Diver, you have to think this 4-year-old son of Birdonthewire is in a good position entering the native Diver and seems to be improving at the right time.

The rest of the field is made up by Philatelist, Aggie Engineer, Achak and Spurrier.

Soul Candy looks the best in this field, especially coming off a win over the surface and at the same the distance as the Native Diver. Soul Candy’s grinding style should prove just as effective in the Native Diver if given a clear running path. His biggest threat could come from Dakota Phone who displays a great turn of foot on his best day. I think Dakota Phone, while having run very competitively over synthetics, is a better runner on the dirt.

Romp is a question mark here. Not having been able to finish his last race properly it’s hard to know where he is right now and how to place him. Instinct says that he will run well and trainer Kristin Mulhall is expecting a big effort from the gelding.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, Enjoy the races this weekend!

Posted in Achak, Aggie Engineer, Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Breeders' Cup Marathon, California Cup Classic, Dakota Phone, Enriched, Hollywood Park, Javier Castellano, Martin Garcia, Native Diver Handicap, Philatelist, Prince Will I Am, Romp, Soul Candy, Spurrier | 8 Comments »

Two Down: Marathon and Juvenile Fillies Turf

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 5, 2010

Eldaafer made it two wins in-a-row when he surged to the lead in the first Breeders’ Cup race of the day and claimed the crown as 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon champion. Left in his wake was race favorite Awesome Gem who raced last for most of the trip before failing to fire his nest shot.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf was supposed to be all about Winter Memories, but More Than Real had other ideas as the dark bay filly romped in style over Winter Memories. Owned by celebrity chef Bobby Toay, More Than Real swept off the final turn in the Fillies Turf and flew to the wire, winning a visually impressive race.

Posted in Awesome Gem, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Breeders' Cup Marathon, Eldaafer, More than Real, Uncategorized, Winter Memories | Leave a Comment »

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!

Posted in Alcomo, Atoned, Awesome Gem, Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Breeders' Cup Marathon, Champagne d'Oro, Eldaafer, Evening Jewel, Gabby's Golden Gal, Giant Oak, Indian Blessing, Informed Decision, Kathmanblu, Prince Will I Am, Rightly So, Sara Louise, Winter Memories, Wyomia | 1 Comment »

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