- Forever Together and Abraaj are just the kind of horses that the Win And You're In concept is perfect for; horses with heretofore relatively modest accomplishments getting really good at the right time, locking in spots and getting some attention. What would be good now is if they could earn a post position advantage by winning a second or third Challenge race. Forever Together is an appealing story and a worthy BC starter off that scintillating last to first rally - hope you got a chance to see that overhead shot on ABC. She closed in 11.14, according to Formulator. Abraaj ran 8th in last year's Vanderbilt at 20-1, and has progressed significantly since then. (Though it's perhaps worth noting that the final time of 1:10.23 was slower than an earlier state-bred allowance and Munnings' debut.) Don't have the Beyers yet; maybe if Illman wasn't spending so much time on Spa Babies, he'd be keeping his blog current like he should!
The other two races shouldn't have any effect on the Breeders' Cup at all. Ginger Punch was guaranteed a spot, and I doubt that Zito would send Commentator to run on that synthetic garbage as he's called it. As a matter of fact, the Form reports that, like Nick, Frankel is Leery of a synthetic Cup.
However, reading on further, we see that, unlike Zito, who is just generally negative about synthetic tracks (and I'm sure he'll say so at Tuesday's forum), Frankel is most understandably concerned about this particular situation in which, a spare three months until the event, we know virtually nothing about the surface it will be run on.
"We don't even know how it's going to play. What if the new track they put down plays like Del Mar did last summer or Keeneland when they first got the Poly? Are you going to change a horse's running style? It's just not going to be a true test. But if she's all right I'm probably going to run. [DRF]What he's saying is not really different from the days when trainers weren't sure if they wanted to ship to California because the tracks were too hard and speed favoring. Besides, if he decides not to go, it's probably because he doesn't want to see Ginger Punch get her butt kicked by Zenyatta again!
- Anyone have that George Weaver first-timer in the sixth? I wasn't playing the races, and can't say I would have had it either. I guess you can't just bet on any horse that a trainer that you're following starts. But I did warn you guys about him, right? Weaver isn't a big first-timer guy; he hadn't had a debut winner at the Spa in four years and 35 tries. But when a guy is hot, that old stuff doesn't mean much. Unflagging ($62.50) is by Wheelaway, out of a Personal Flag mare, and is inbred 3x4 to Damascus.
That's two long priced winners now, from three starters overall, for trainer David Duggan, who took Monday's 4th with Cagey Girl ($47.60). He won Saturday's finale with 12-1 Lyke a Hurricane.
Third winner of the meeting for Wesley Ward and jockey Elvis Trujillo with first-timer August Rush (Milwaukee Brew) at 9-2 in the fifth.