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.