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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday Morning Notes - Oct 28

- 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.


Anonymous said...

they should drop the world championship label, it is arrogant, stupid and misleading. Keep it like it is, and call it what it is, the American Eclipse Championships.

Mr. Ed

Stalusk said...

Australia's premier weight-for-age classic the Cox Plate was run on Saturday. It was won by the evergreen 9yo gelding Fields Of Omagh (by Rubiton), who had previously won the race in 2003. His strong late finish overpowered pre-race favourite El Segundo (Pins) by the smallest possible margin, with another narrow gap to emerging star Pompeii Ruler (Genuine). Coolmore's brave mare Aqua D'Amore came in fourth, and 3yo filly Miss Finland was a luckless sixth.

Nothing went right for 2004 Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow. He was fractious when being loaded into the gate, broke badly about 2-3 lengths behind the bulk of the field and was blocked with three furlongs to run and lost all momentum. Honor In War was withdrawn on the morning of the race due to a swab irregularity.

Danehill had a good day as usual with California Dane winning a Group 2 five furlong sprint, and Zipping cementing a place in the Melbourne Cup by winning a Group 2 twelve and a half furlong event. Zipping is interesting in terms of pedigree as he is from a Grand Lodge mare, giving him a 2 x 4 cross of Danzig.

Red Ransom had a 2yo stakeswinner over the short course, Makybe Diva's younger sister Valkyrie Diva (by Jade Robbery) took out a mares only one mile Group 3 race, and Success Express, a very capable sire in these parts, had a winner in a Group 2 one mile event with his gelded son Flash Trick.

Yours truly had a very good wagering day, finding the Cox Plate exacta as well as Flash Trick at a very juicy 28-1. :)