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Oct 02, 2003

ATC Lead

By: Joe Girardi


            There were many races over the September 27th and 28th weekend at both Belmont and

Santa Anita that will have a big impact on the Breeders’ Cup.

            At Belmont on Saturday September 27th there were four Grade I races that affected four

different divisions in the Breeders Cup. In the Grade I Vosburgh, a six and a half furlong sprint for three

year old and upward with a purse of $500,000, the winner GHOSTZAPPER came from last early to

score an easy six and a half length victory. The time of 1:14:3 was only one fifth off the track record for

six and a half furlongs. His trainer Bobby Frankel is not going to run Ghostzapper in the Breeders’ Cup sprint

because he is worried about the dirt getting kicked in his face. He also has two other sprint hopes so he

wants to take his time with this one. The favorite in the race was GYGISTAR, who finished fourth but did

have some road trouble and he might go on to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup.

            The next race was the Grade I Flower Bowl for three year old and upward fillies and mares run at

1 and ¼ miles over the turf, with a purse of $750,000. The favorite in the race was HEAT HAZE from the

Bobby Frankel barn. However, Heat Haze could only manage a third place finish. The winner was

DIMITROVA, a three year old from the Dermot Weld barn. This filly by SWAIN, is now two for three is

this country with a second place finish. Her win in the Flower Bowl was solid and she should move on to

the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare turf race and will be one of the contenders. Heat Haze, who was third, is

another that should also contend in the Breeders’ Cup.

            The next race was the Turf Classic. A Grade I for three year old and upward at one and one half miles

on the turf also with a purse of $750,000. The heavy favorite in the race was SULAMANI, the winner of the

Arlington Million via disqualification. After trailing early on, and encountering some trouble on the turn, he

unleashed a furious late rally to score going away as the favorite. He will be one of the contenders in the

Breeders Cup Turf if he enters the race. The rest of the field would have to improve leaps and bounds to

be in the same league with Sulamani.

            The final Grade I of the day was the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup which featured only a five horse

field with Horse of the Year candidate MINESHAFT. Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Mineshaft, rated in

third, took over and easily scored by almost five lengths. His connections are not sure whether or not

he will run in the Classic, yet another defection from what is supposed to be the year’s biggest race.

            On to Santa Anita on Sunday September 28th. With only four horses in the starting gate for the

Grade I Clement L. Hirsch, STORMING HOME was sent off as the 1-5 favorite in this race for three year

old and upward on the turf at 1 and ¼ miles. The actual winner of the Arlington Million before the

disqualification went about his business for a relatively easy half-length win. After laying in fourth early on

behind very slow fractions Gary Stevens let him run and he easily wore down his rival. Now it is on to the

Breeders Cup and a rematch with Sulamani.

            In the Grade II Lady’s Secret Handicap, AZERI was trying to run her win streak to 12. She had to

carry 128 pounds and was sent off at 1-5. She was sluggish early on and never really got into the bit to do

any running. She finished third and was moved up to second via disqualification. She wouldn’t have even

run third if not for the checking incident in the stretch where ADORATION took up and finished fourth. The

winner of the race was GOT KOKO, who was hot early in the year and loves it at Santa Anita. It will be

interesting to see how the Distaff sets up now with the defeat of Azeri.

            In the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes for three year old and upward fillies and mares at 1 and ¼ miles

on the turf with a purse of $500,000, the favorite was TATES CREEK. Tates Creek is trained by Bobby Frankel

from the powerful Juddmonte Farms. After sitting third early on Tates Creek shot through an opening on

the rail in the stretch and was able to take over, holding on late for a ¾ length victory. She came home fast but 

1 and ¼ may be a bit too far for her and she might be over-bet in the Breeders’ Cup. MUSICAL CHIMES, who

will be moved into the Neil Drysdale barn came with a flying finish after breaking slowly.

            In the Grade II Oak Leaf Stakes, HALFBRIDLED, the heavy favorite dispatched of a weak field in a

mediocre time. She will take a lot of money on Breeders’ Cup day and will be over-bet because of this most

recent win. She has not beaten the best horses and will be tested in the Juvenile.

 



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