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Oct 17, 2008

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            The big news this past week on the Breeders’ Cup front was the injury to the hoof of BIG BROWN who was retired from racing because of this. He was to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and then move on to Three Chimneys farms to start his stud career but his racing career came up one race short. His anticipated match-up with CURLIN many thought would be a race for the ages but now it leaves CURLIN as the probable heavy favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

            If BIG BROWN would have been able to beat CURLIN in the Classic he would have undoubtedly been named the Horse of the Year. CURLIN, last year’s Horse of the Year is on track again to be named with that top honor. It was thought earlier in the year that CURLIN may not go to the Breeders’ Cup because of the fact that it was being run over a synthetic surface, the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita. However, his connections sent him out to California to prepare for the Classic and get acclimated to the surface and is now set to run in the Classic. Although he is clearly the best horse in the country the top three year old BIG BROWN may have had a shot at him in the Classic but with BIG BROWN out of the race it is CURLIN’S race to lose. After going over the $10 million mark in his last race at Belmont in the Jockey Club Gold Cup he can put his name as one of the best ever with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This writer hope he does get it done because his connections are classy and continued to race this horse throughout his four year old career even taking a shot on the turf giving the fans in New York three times to see this great champion.

            In other Breeders’ Cup news we saw another top three year old return to the races off a hoof injury and he ran his record to three for three. Japan’s CASINO DRIVE, who would have been a top contender in the Belmont Stakes and was thought to have the best chance to defeat BIG BROWN in that race only to get scratched the morning of the race with a bruise in his hoof. With a field of seven going postward CASINO DRIVE despite only two career starts and a long layoff he was still sent off as the 2-5 favorite and he got the job done by ¾’s of a length. His connections felt it was a perfect prep race according to racing manager Nobutaka Tada. His next race will be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on October 25th and he is an interesting contender despite the lack of racing experience.

            On another note, another possible Breeders’ Cup contender that was forced into retirement because of an injury was the grand old man EVENING ATTIRE. The ten year old gelding who would have been one of the favorites in this year’s new Breeders’ Cup Marathon was retired with a soft tissue injury that was discovered on the morning of a scheduled start at Monmouth Park in the Point Given Stakes. He will be retired to Akindale Farm in Pawling, NY. This popular gelding will be honored by NYRA on the day of the Breeders’ Cup, October 25th at Belmont Park. He will make a public appearance and there will be highlights of his races shown throughout the day. He ended his career with 15 wins from 69 starts and $2,977,130 in career earnings.

            Finally, earlier this week NYRA announced that when Aqueduct opens on October 29th there will be free admission and general parking allowing fans to come to the track free of charge. There is however, going to be a rise in the prices of the programs, the post parade goes from $3 to $3.50 and the pocket program goes from $2 to $2.50.



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