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Oct 28, 2011

Reigning Marathon champ to return for defense




Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Last year's running of the Breeders' Cup Marathon had more action at the winner's circle than on the track. Hopefully this year's edition will be remembered solely for the race.

Also looking for another memorable race and finish is trainer Diane Alvarado who will saddle defending Marathon winner Eldaafer. Alvarado acknowledged Friday at Monmouth Park that the six-year-old gelding is headed for Churchill Downs for the November 5 race.

"He'll breeze six-furlongs this Saturday," said Alvarado from her Monmouth Park headquarters. "He'll breeze again the following Saturday before shipping out on the 31st."

Eldaafer has not had the success this year that he experienced in 2010. In seven starts his only wins have come in a starter allowance race and an allowance. His only other time in the money was last month when he finished second to Not Abroad at Delaware Park in the DTHA Governors Day Stakes.

"It wasn't necessarily the race we were looking for, but it should set him up perfectly," said Alvarado. "He's been training great, a real handful."

In 31 career starts Eldaafer has earned $753,132 with 11 wins. This would be his third straight start in the Breeders' Cup Marathon. In 2009 he was seventh as a 29-1 longshot. Last year he won the 1 3/4-mile race at 10-1.

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