“It’s an incredible sight of serenity, you don’t hear a noise. Everything is measured. The horses are so relaxed. They know the people they are with. It almost looks like a ballet, think of a yoga class it is so serene.” – analyst Fanny Salmon when the Aidan O’Brien horses came out onto the Churchill Downs track for the first time on Thursday morning.
And yes, mouths dropped as the army of Aidan O’Brien horses came onto the Churchill main track at 8 a.m. yesterday.
This is what the Breeders’ Cup is all about.
BREEDERS’ CUP SELECTIONS AND NOTES FROM THOROUGHBLOG
FUTURE STARS FRIDAY – *Expect yielding to soft turf, main track was sloppy on Thursday but could dry out some today
**CODE OF HONOR scratched from Juvenile due to temperature
**SHANG SHANG SHANG out of Juvenile Turf Sprint, soft turf
**AWESOME SLEW out of Dirt Mile
RACE 5 JUVENILE TURF SPRINT 5 1/2 FURLONGS – POST TIME 3:21 PM
- #2 SOLDIER’S CALL 9/2
- #10 SO PERFECT 12/1
- #4 STILLWATER COVE 20/1
First time this race has been run so it is ungraded. Expecting SOLDIER’S CALL to be close to favoured based on near miss against older horses in the Prix l’Abbaye. Gets Lasix and has looked good this week.
Fillies SO PERFECT (Aidan O’Brien trainee) and STILLWATER COVE (Wesley Ward) are interesting and Canadian bred SERGEI PROKOFIEV (bred by David Anderson) is a big colt getting Lasix coming off a huge, top effort on firm turf.
Also eligible BIG DRINK OF WATER drew in. Woodbine stakes winner is by a sire who was a turf stakes winner.
RACE 6 JUVENILE FILLIES TURF –1 MILE
- #6 NEWSPAPEROFRECORD 2/1
- #2 THE MACKEM BULLET 15/1
- #1 CONCRETE ROSE 6/1
Hard to go past NEWSPAPEROFRECORD (Chad Brown trainee), who stalked a slow pace in her debut and then set the pace in the Miss Grillo. Looked awesome Wed. morning.
Euro’s also must be considered – EAST is very much hyped and unbeaten in 2 starts but she has widest post. I shied away from the wide posts in these 2yo races for the most part.
THE MACKEM BULLET has looked great this week and is a big filly with lots of experience. LILY’S CANDLE has been making mischief this week, been a bit naughty but an impressive gal.
Canadian trained MY GAL BETTY would be really interesting with a post better than 13. She can handle a wet turf.
CONCRETE ROSE has the rail and that could be key as the turf has been protected all week.
RACE 7 JUVENILE FILLIES – 1 1/16 MILE DIRT
1 -#4 RESTLESS RIDER 9/2
2 #10 BELLAFINA 2/1
3 #2 SERENGETI EMPRESS 7/2
Favoured BELLAFINA has post 10 and comes off booming win in the Chandelier, huge Beyer Figures. Most logical winner along with RESTLESS RIDER, who looks good from behind what could be a hot pace and speedy SERENGETI EMPRESS.
Not far down on my list is REFLECT, who had some trouble halfway through the Alcibiades.
RACE 8 JUVENILE TURF – 1 MILE
1 – #5 LINE OF DUTY 10/1
2 – #4 FORTY UNDER 5/1
3 – #14 ANTHONY VAN DYCK 4/1
FORTY UNDER has been the hype horse all week with his stunning moves and his reach in his grass workout. The favourite and originally thought as most probable winner (before post draw). ANTHONY VAN DYCK, drew widest post and that hurts. Lasix for O’Brien/Moore.
Euros LINE OF DUTY (cutting back from 1 1/8 mile victory) and ARTHUR KITT (wants firmer turf) also intriguing while MUCH BETTER is impressive-looking and has been strong since arriving at Churchill.
RACE 9 JUVENILE –1 1/16 MILES
1 #9 GAME WINNER 8/5
2 – 8 STANDARD DEVIATION 12/1
3 – MR. MONEY
GAME WINNER is imposing, professional, was in and out of the gate on Wed. morning and didn’t turn a hair. My best longshot of the day, from recent trip in last race and appearance, is STANDARD DEVIATION (blinkers on), whose stablemate Complexity is a speed power.
SATURDAY – 9 BREEDERS’ CUP RACES
May tweak selections after watching the first 5 Cup races today.
RACE 3 – FILLY & MARE SPRINT – 7 FURLONGS **POST 12 NOON
1 – #13 MARLEY’S FREEDOM 8/5
2 -#1 SELCOURT 4/1
3 – FINLEY’SLUCKYSHARM 10/1
MARLEY’S FREEDOM is a monster ‘on paper’ with Mike Smith for trainer Bob Baffert. Won Ballerina at Saratoga with flair.
Canadian owned SELCOURT is very fast, perhaps the speed of all the speed, and it is her first race since March (she runs well fresh) FINLEY loves Churchill Downs. Canadian owned SHAMROCK ROSE has suddenly blossomed into a very good one for the Conrads but would need to run a lifetime best for the 3rd straight race.
RACE 4 – TURF SPRINT – 5 1/2 FURLONGS
1 – #8 CHANTELINE 15/1
2- #2 BUCCHERO 10/1
3 – #10 HAVANA GREY 20/1
The top 4 finishers from last year’s Turf Sprint are in here, but the turf will not be firm. Those top 4 are Stormy Liberal, Richard’s Boy, Disco Partner and Bucchero. Need speed but also stamina as there could be a real fracas up front. Trainer Jason Servis has 3 in the race and all are interesting.
Havana Grey has looked super this week as has the very fiesty CHANTELINE.
Fascinating that Euro colt Lost Treasure raced 4 times in 21 days recently! He is 1st Lasix and has blinkers off.
The race is extremely difficult to decipher.
RACE 5 – DIRT MILE
1 – #1 CITY OF LIGHT 5/2
2 – #6 SEEKING THE SOUL 5/1
3 – #7 FIRENZE FIRE 6/1
Think City of Light may enjoy a good trip along the inside near the pace of Catalina Cruiser who has never been beaten, by the way. How I throw out a 4 to 4 colt with big Beyer Figures, who knows. He is just no value at 8 to 5.
RACE 6 FILLY & MARE TURF 1/8 MILES
1 – #3 WILD ILLUSION 7/2
2 – #10 MAGIC WAND 5/1
3 – #14 EZIYRA 15/1
The European gals look a bit better here with the US horses questionable at the distance or on less-than-firm turf. Trainer Dermot Weld has never won a Breeders’ Cup race and while Eziyra is not the most robust or beautiful horse, she was 3rd to Enable and loves to win races.
RACE 7 – SPRINT
1 – #5 IMPERIAL HINT 9/5
2 -#9 ROY H 5/2
3 #8 LIMOUSINE LIBERAL 6/1
Re-match of last year’s Sprint when Roy H caught Imperial Hint at Del Mar and foiled my big pick of that day. I am back on this little powerhouse as he has been wild this week. Rider could not pull him up after last workout. His sire stands in Alberta! Limousine Liberal loves Churchill and had bad trip last time.
RACE 8 – MILE
1 – #7 EXPERT EYE 8/1
2 #8 I CAN FLY 10/1
3 #13 GUSTAV KLIMT 10/1
The 2 also-eligibles drew in as Polydream and Hunt were scratched. Easily the most difficult race of the two days to figure out. Euro’s are all ones to respect. Oscar wants firm grass.
RACE 9 – DISTAFF
1 – #10 BLUE PRIZE 6/1
2 – #11 MONOMOY GIRL 2/1
3 #2 ABEL TASMAN 7/2
If you can toss the dreadful run by Abel Tasman in the Zenyatta, then she would be a possible key horse of all these Saturday races. What to do with that last race, though. Blue Prize has looked super this week.
RACE 10 TURF
1 #2 ENABLE 1-1
2 – #12 WALDGEIST
3 – #5 MAGICAL 10-/1
She looks as good on track this week as she does on paper. Incredible filly has galloped and did some work with Dettori up in last few days.
Canadian-bred Channel Maker is a hard trying guy.
RACE 11 – CLASSIC
1 – #14 ACCELERATE 5/2
2 – #7 WEST COAST 5/1
3 – #4 GUNNERVERA 20/1
4- MIND YOUR BISCUITS
Think the older horses will be too much for the 3yos. From watching all week (the 3 hour show Players Show with Caton Bredar, Joe Kristofek and Michelle Yu) Yoshida impressed, as did Gunnevera, Catholic Boy and the Biscuit.
Super handicapping/betting race. The horse that wins should hit 109-115 Beyer Figure range. These are not American Pharoah-type horses but there are some good hard knockers in the group.
ROGER ATTFIELD TALKS ABOUT ‘BETTY’
Breeders’ Cup notes Nov. 1
Canadian-based My Gal Betty stretched her legs on the Churchill Downs turf course Wednesday in advance of her start in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“She jogged around the turf course to the wire and then galloped one and a half times around there, very nicely and very happy,” said trainer Roger Attfield.
My Gal Betty drew post 13 with Javier Castellano named to ride in the big dance.
“(An outside post position) is always an issue isn’t it. It’s always an issue on those inside turf courses,” said Attfield, who is based at Woodbine in Toronto, where the turf course is outside the dirt track and has much wider, sweeping turns. “But, what are you going to do? She also drew that position in the Jessamine at Keeneland and that concerned me. We had some shipping problems also and I thought that’s telling me not to go, so then I come here and draw the 13 hole. Bottom line, it’s going to come down to the jockey I think. See how the break goes and then he’s going to have to work it.”
The Oct. 12 Jessamine Stakes was to be her last prep race for the Breeders’ Cup.
“I would have like to have (been able to run) in the Jessamine,” Attfield said. “But, maybe that’s advantageous, who knows?”
Owned by William K. Werner, the two-time winner ran second behind La Pelosa in the Natalma at Woodbine Sept. 16 in what ended up being her final prep race before Churchill. She was three wide down the backside in the Natalma, then had to swing even wider coming into the stretch.
“She ran very well,” Attfield said. “She lost a bit of ground in the stretch or she would have been a little bit closer, but it was a very good race. She improves every race, that filly.”
Attfield had to sub workouts for a final prep race and said, “She’s training very well, she’s worked super. She had a nice maintenance work with an older filly then had a good five-eighths work also last weekend so I think she’s in good shape.”
Her last work, 1:00 4/5 for 5f on the all-weather track at Woodbine, was Saturday and she shipped to Churchill the next day.
Hall-of-Famer Attfield, who is an eight-time Sovereign Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in Canada, has saddled one previous Breeders’ Cup winner, Perfect Shirl in the 2011 Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
“It rained like hell the night before that race. I remember it well,” he said. “Obviously I was a bit worried, but it didn’t bother my filly (Perfect Shirl) at all, so that was OK.”
AIDAN O’BRIEN TALKS OF HIS ENTRANTS
Said Magical, 5th in Arc, was using that race for conditioning
“Magical finished 10th, 5 1/4 lengths behind Enable, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but then came back and won the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes under Ryan Moore on soft ground at Ascot.” O’Brien called the Arc “a conditioning race” for Ascot.
“In Ascot, Ryan gave her a beautiful ride,” O’Brien said. “She cruised through the race very easy and sweet with ease in the ground and won very nice. We thought she might come forward from that, so we’re looking forward to seeing her run.”
CANADIAN CONTENT gearing up for BREEDERS’ CUP
FRIDAY – SERGEI PROKOFIEV – Canadian bred Scat Daddy 2-year-old colt in JUVENILE TURF SPRINT (new race) – bred by David Anderson
FRIDAY – MY GAL BETTY – Kentucky bred 2yo filly raced at Woodbine for trainer Roger Attfield; owned by American William Werner; Juv Filly Turf
SATURDAY – SELCOURT – Co-Canadian-owned, Sandra Lazaruk of Alberta (co-owner of champion Pender Harbour) Filly/Mare Sprint
SATURDAY – SHAMROCK ROSE — Penn-bred owned by Ontario owners Manfred and Penny Conrad, trained by Mark Casse; Filly & Mare Sprint
SATURDAY – CONQUEST TSUNAMI – Canadian bred 6yo gelding owned by Gary Barber; bred by Josham Farms and Yvonne Schwabe; Turf Sprint
SATURDAY – WONDER GADOT – Canadian-bred owned by Gary Barber; likely Horse of the Year in Canada; bred by David Anderson; Distaff
SATURDAY – CHANNEL MAKER – Canadian-bred owned by Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable; bred by Ivan Dalos; BC Turf
Woodbine jockey LUIS CONTRERAS rides a few horses for trainer D. Wayne Lukas over the 2 days.
Also – Charles Fipke from British Columbia has SEEKING THE SOUL entered in Dirt Mile and Verve’s Tale in the Distaff; Reddam Racing has Mopotism in Distaff, Pavel in the Classic.