As the Breeders Cup draws ever closer the last line of major preps were contested over the
weekend of October 4th and 5th. Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita all hosted races that would impact
the Breeders’ Cup and maybe the year end Championships.
On October 4th Belmont hosted three Grade I races and a Grade II. The Frizette, a Grade I event for
two year old fillies, run at 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $500,000 was won by SOCIETY SELECTION who
ran her record to two for two. After breaking her maiden in August going 5 and ½ furlongs she was laid up for
six weeks and returned to score a Grade I victory. After laying last early on, this Allen Jerkens trainee unleashed
a solid late run to score by a length and a quarter over second choice VICTORY IN THE U.S.A. The favorite in the
race DAYDREAMING was a non threatening fourth at 9-5. Victory in the U.S.A. ran well to finish second after a
disappointing third place finish in the Del Mar Debutante. These first two finishers should be top contenders in
the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Grade I Champagne for two year old colts traveling 1 and 16th miles with a purse of $500,000 was the
next race on the card. The favorite in the race was CHAPEL ROYAL who was sent off at 3-2. The second choice in
the race was BIRDSTONE, an impressive winner of his career debut but a disappointing fourth in the Hopeful. After
stalking the early pace of Chapel Royal, Birdstone quickly took over the lead and drew off to a solid two and a
half length score over Chapel Royal who was an easy second. Nick Zito, trainer of Birdstone said he will not run in
the Breeders’ Cup and Todd Pletcher, trainer of Chapel Royal was still undecided. No one else made any kind of impact
and would have to improve a lot to even be considered for the Breeders’ Cup.
In the Grade II Kelso, which is run over the turf at one mile and has a purse of $350,000, there was no stand out
horse in the line-up as evidenced by the fact that the favorite in the race was sent off at almost 5-2. The winner
FREEFOURINERNET came from last to get up for the score by a nose over PROUD MAN. It is unlikely that anyone
from this field will go in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and if they do they will not have an impact on the race.
The next race on the card, the Grade I Beldame for three year old and upward fillies and mares at 1 and 1/8th miles
with a purse of $750,000, saw the heaviest favorite on the card in SIGHTSEEK, who was sent off at .30 to the dollar. After
stalking the pace early on in fifth, Jerry Bailey made her move with Sightseek while racing wide on the turn. After
taking over the lead in hand she drew clear when asked and will pose a major threat to reigning Horse of the Year
AZERI in the Breeders Cup Distaff. Second place finisher, BIRD TOWN, was retired after the race and will be
bred next year and the rest of the field would be just also-rans if they tried the Breeders’ Cup.
At Keeneland on Saturday October 4th, in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity, EUROSILVER was an easy
winner, although his connections don’t look like they will point him to the Breeders’ Cup. VALUE PLUS, the favorite
in the race, never made any impact.
At Keeneland on the same day in the Shadwell mile, PERFECT SOUL upset the field at 6-1. The favorite
TRADEMARK never made any impact and will not be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup because he would have to be
supplemented to the race. The top four finishers in this race are expected to go to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
At Santa Anita on Saturday October 4th they hosted the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup. This race saw the return
of PLEASANTLY PERFECT, who won last year’s race. Being sent off as the 7-5 favorite, he stalked the pace in
sixth before unleashing a solid late run to get up for the win by a half length. If he makes it to the Breeders’ Cup Classic
he will be one of the contenders based on the fact that the race has lost a lot of top horses to retirement or rest.
On the following day, at Santa Anita, they hosted the Ancient Title Breeders’ Cup, the Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup
Mile and the Norfolk Stakes. In the Ancient Title a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, AVANZADO scored a wire to
wire victory in a solid time of flat. The favorite YANKEE GENTLEMAN, had a rough trip and may still be pointed
to the Sprint.
In the Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile DESIGNED FOR LUCK scored by a half length over SARAFAN, with the
heavy favorite SPECIAL RING a disappointing fourth. Despite that fourth place finish Special Ring will be pointed
to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
In the Norfolk RULER’S COURT dominated the competition with a 14-length drubbing and makes himself
one of the main contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
PERFECT DRIFT, top older horse who was once thought to be out of the Breeder’s Cup Classic, is now said to be
definite to run in the race. A win in the Classic could make a strong case for Perfect Drift as Horse of the Year.