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Nov 02, 2007

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


                        The Breeders’ Cup has come and gone and although Monmouth was able to handle the crowds and such; the weather over the two day event was terrible. On the first day Friday October 26th they ran the three newly formed Breeders’ Cup races.

            The first race was Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint race. Over an extremely sloppy track the fractions of this race went very quickly with a half mile in 44 flat. The early leader, DREAM RUSH stopped in the lane and tired to finish fifth. The favorite, LA TRAVIATA, who chased the pace also tired to finish sixth. The winner of the race was MARYFIELD, who closed with a rush to score by a half length over 43-1 longshot, MIRACULOUS MISS with MISS MACY SUE checking in third.

            The next race was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf run over a very wet turf course that was listed as yielding. The favorite in the race was ACHILL ISLAND for trainer Aidan O’Brien shipping in from Ireland. He put in a good effort finishing a solid second to NOWNOWNOW who closed from dead last to score. The winner was trained by Francois Parisel, who was stepping in for the suspended Patrick Biancone. The time of the race over this bogged down course was a pokey 1:40:2.

            The final race of the first day was the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with the once brilliant DISCREET CAT going off as the favorite. DISCREET CAT got a good trip in fourth early on but had no kick when it counted and could only manage a third place finish, his third loss in a row, as CORINTHIAN the Met Mile winner at Belmont earlier in the year made a big move on the turn and scored going away. This race was run at 1 mile and 70 yards because of the configurement of the Monmouth Park racetrack.  

            On Saturday October 27th Monmouth hosted eight more races. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies was the first Breeders’ Cup race of the day. The favorite INDIAN BLESSING, from the Bob Baffert barn made the lead right from the start and never looked back scoring a dominating victory. PROUD SPELL held well for the place spot with BACKSEAT RHYTHM getting up for third.

            In the next race the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile also went to the favorite, WAR PASS who remained undefeated and also dominated his race over the sloppy surface scoring by almost five lengths after setting some very quick fractions. The final time of 1:42:3 was almost two seconds faster than the filly division. PYRO closed very well for second while easily clear of the show finisher KODIAK KOWBOY. TALE OF EKATI, the third choice in the race didn’t seem to handle the sloppy surface and checked in fourth. WAR PASS is 4 for 4 and is the current favorite for the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

            The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare turf was next and this race was run over a very soft turf course. The winner was LAHUDOOD, who was coming off a Grade I score in the Flower Bowl at Belmont. HONEY RYDER closed well for second with the favorite PASSAGE OF TIME holding on well for third. SIMPLY PERFECT, a shipper from overseas caused some confusion when she bolted on the first turn. This race was not really a good gauge because of the condition of the course.

            In the Breeders’ Cup Sprint there was a field of 10 with plenty of speed signed on. TALENT SEARCH, COMMENTATOR and IDIOT PROOF ensured a quick pace going at it for the first quarter in 21:2 and the half went in 44 flat, which help set-up the late run of MIDNIGHT LUTE who rolled on by for an easy score, add that to his Grade I Forego Handicap at Saratoga he may be the sprint champion.

            The Breeders’ Cup Mile was next, again run over a very soft turf course. IEAH stables KIP DEVILLE showed his affinity for the soft course and the mile distance angling off the rail to score going away. The favorite EXCELLENT ART closed well to finish second and the early leader COSMONAUT holding on well for third. Again the condition of the course didn’t allow for a true indication of the runners in this race.       

            The Breeders’ Cup Distaff was next on tap and with the race very wide open we saw a 9-2 favorite as LEAR’S PRINCESS was just slightly favored over the eventual winner GINGER PUNCH who was also 9-2. GINGER PUNCH fought back gamely on the inside to score by a neck over HYSTERICALADY who was a neck in front of OCTAVE who finished third.

            In the Breeders’ Cup Turf the heavy favorite was DYLAN THOMAS who never made an impact over the soft course and he doesn’t handle that type of course and it showed. ENGLISH CHANNEL, the Todd Pletcher trainee continued his liking for the Monmouth Park course and drew away for an easy seven length score. Longshot SHAMDINAN finished a solid second with RED ROCKS, last year’s winner finishing third.          

            In the big race of the day the Breeders’ Cup Classic, one of the most competitive in years at least on paper, we saw a three year old grow up in front of our eyes. Coming off a very game win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, CURLIN came from off the pace for a dominating score in the Classic. HARD SPUN another top three year old in his own right finished second with AWESOME GEM closing late for third. Hopefully CURLIN will come back as a four year old as he can clearly become a superstar that this game clearly needs. Next year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting which has a synthetic surface and should make for yet another interesting event.



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