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Aug 28, 2004


By: Joe Girardi

            On the weekend of August 21-22 Saratoga and Del Mar hosted two races that will have a

huge impact on the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in October. The Saratoga Breeders’ Cup

Handicap at Saratoga and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, both run on Sunday the 22nd. The Alabama and

Hopeful Stakes were also run on the 21st at Saratoga.

            The favorite in the Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap was FUNNY CIDE, he was making his first

start at Saratoga and was overbet based on his popularity. He finished a distant second behind

EVENING ATTIRE who scored by five lengths. The pace was quick but reasonable for these type of horses

and FUNNY CIDE raced three wide throughout. However, he didn’t have the kick to go on with

EVENING ATTIRE and looks to be a step below the top horses. EVENING ATTIRE on the other hand finally

got back on track and is one to watch when the Breeders’ Cup comes around with efforts like that.

            The Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a race carrying a $1 million dollar purse, featured Dubai World Cup

(2004) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (2003) hero, PLEASANTLY PERFECT. Being sent off as the even

money favorite, PLEASANTLY PERFECT, who was coming off a disappointing second place finish in the

prep race for the Pacific Classic was getting a rider change to Jerry Bailey and should be much tighter with

that race under his belt. After stalking the pace in midpack Bailey made his move on the turn and the horse

responded with a workman like length victory. PERFECT DRIFT who was coming off a second place finish

in the Whitney was second again, finishing ahead of TOTAL IMPACT. The second choice in the race was

CHOCTAW NATION, who defeated PLEASANTLY PERFECT in the race prior but he never got going at

the 1 and ¼ miles distance and was a well beaten fourth. It looks like PLEASANTLY PERFECT is moving

in the right direction and right now he is in the lead for the running of Horse of the Year. If all goes well

for now until October 30th, the Breeders’ Cup we should have a very competitive afternoon.

            On Saturday, Saratoga hosted two more Grade I races that may have an impact on the

Breeders’ Cup. The Grade I Hopeful for two year olds and the Grade I Alabama stakes for three year

old fillies.

            In the Hopeful, undefeated AFLEET ALEX was sent off as the 3-5 favorite and didn’t disappoint,

however not without some anxious moments. Run over a very sloppy track AFLEET ALEX rated back in

fourth before making his move on the far turn reaching contention by midstretch while racing in the

middle of the track and then veering in before just getting up at the wire. This 2YO colt obviously has ability

and is bred to get more distance. For now he is the leader in the division and is undefeated, does he

remind you of SMARTY JONES?

            In the Grade I Alabama, ASHADO was sent off as the 3-5 favorite and she found the 1 and ¼

distance too far this time. She made the lead briefly but gave in up in the stretch to STELLAR JAYNE who

then gave it up to SOCIETY SELECTION. The latter, trained by Allen Jerkens completed the Test and

Alabama combo and is definitely making her run for Three Year Old filly of the year.

            The sloppy track was not the ideal situation to run these races but the results are the results.

As we move forward to the fall preps to the Breeders’ Cup these races will have an impact and it looks

like this year’s Breeders’ Cup will be one of the more competitive days yet.



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