- An AP piece notes that should Pegasus Wind make it to the post for the Juvenile, Wayne Lukas will be the only trainer to have at least one entry in each of the 23 Breeders Cup programs. This will be the first time, though, that Lukas has just one horse on racing's biggest day.
"I've always felt this horse was special," Lukas said. "I think this is some kind of nice horse. I'm looking forward to not only this one, but the next one in May, too."Whoa there, Wayne, let's take one of these at a time.
- The UK's Times Online noted the other day that the 17 intended [Breeders Cup] runners from Europe are above average in number for an event which has been feeling the strain of international competition.
But Alan Shuback, writing in the Daily Racing Form and making a case for an expanded two-day Breeders Cup program with Euro-friendly races like juvenile turf races, points out that these are far from true World Championships despite higher purses this year:
Only three of Timeform's top 20 3-year-olds (George Washington, Araafa, and Aussie Rules) will be at Churchill Downs next Saturday, and only three of Timeform's top 20 older horses (Hurricane Run, David Junior, and Scorpion) will be there. Good Europeans like Yeats and Imperial Stride opted for Australia. Arc runner-up and Champion Stakes winner Pride is headed to Sha Tin for the Hong Kong Cup. The exciting bargain basement turf sprinter Takeover Target has run and won in Australia, England, and Japan this year and will go in the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 10, but the U.S. has never been on his agenda. Japan's leading lights, Deep Impact and Heart's Cry, have both run in Europe this year, but the Breeders' Cup was never in their plans. The same goes for every other horse trained in Japan. England's leading sprinters, Les Arcs and Reverence, never had the Sprint under consideration, and the world's best 2-year-olds continually shun the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies.- Another stakes winner for Pletcher, though not the graded one he needs to break that record. The Woodford Reserve was taken off the grass due to heavy rain at Keeneland in Florida. I've always wondered what the Polytrack looks like in pouring rain, and it just looks like Polytrack. Pretty amazing, I think. Pletcher's Twilight Meteor had chased Admiral Bird in their last two races, and they were both 2-1 morning line behind the favorite Marcavelly (Johannesburg). But with the race off the turf, the board told the story, as Admiral Bird opened at 9-1, went off as the third choice at 9-2, and finished third. The bettors still went for Marcavelly (3-5), but she couldn't handle Twilight Meteor and settled for second.
Running and winning her first race not on the grass, Twilight Meteor is by Smart Strike, the stakes-producing machine for whom this was his 11th of the year. She's out of a With Approval mare who is a half-sister to Grade 1 grass winner and Canadian champion Primaly.