The road to the 2012 Breeders' Cup takes a split path through New York and California this weekend with a jam-packed scheduled of 14 Graded stakes races between Belmont and Santa Anita, including 10 Grade 1 events. Not to be outdone, Newmarket in England will feature six group races on Friday through Sunday, including the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes for older fillies and mares, and the G2-Royal Lodge, one of the more important races for juvenile males.
Of the 24 grade and group stakes this weekend, 14 are "Win and You're In" contests for the Breeders' Cup Challenge, three of which will take place in England and Ireland (G1-Fillies' Mile, G2-Royal Lodge, G2-Beresford).
|28-Sep||NEW||G1-Fillies' Mile*||2yo, f||8.0||Turf|
|28-Sep||NEW||G3-So Sharp||2yo, f||7.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||NEW||G1-Cheveley Park||2yo, f||6.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||BEL||G1-Flower Bowl*||3up, f&m||10.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||BEL||G1-Hirsch Turf Classic*||3up||12.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||BEL||G1-Jockey Club Gold Cup*||3up||10.0||Dirt|
|29-Sep||SA||G1-Rodeo Drive*||3up, f&m||10.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||NEW||G1-Sun Chariot||3up, f&m||8.0||Turf|
|29-Sep||NEW||G2-Royal Lodge*||2yo, c&g||8.0||Turf|
|30-Sep||SA||G2-John Henry Turf||3up||10.0||Turf|
* Denotes a Breeders' Cup Challenge race.
Some notes, thoughts and other random musings about this weekend's races:
- The G3-Eddie D Stakes on Friday at Santa Anita could be an important prep for the Breeder's Cup Turf Sprint since it's on the downhill turf course in Arcadia. As I mentioned on the podcast several weeks back, I think horses that have run successfully over the Santa Anita downhill course have a big advantage at the Breeders' Cup.
Former Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag was expected to run in the Eddie D but will skip the race.
The Eddie D is not a WAYI race but it could be an important event, nonetheless. The race drew a field of 13.
- The Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Awesome Again (formerly the Goodwood Stakes during the old Oak Tree meeting) are both WAYI races for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
A competitive field is likely for the Gold Cup as Ron the Greek, Fort Larned, Flat Out and Hymn Book are probable entries when the field is released on Wednesday.
Out in SoCal, Richard's Kid and Game On Dude will headline the Awesome Again.
- This really doesn't have anything to do with the Breeders' Cup but... what the hell. The entries for Santa Anita's open day card on Friday are up and there is a familiar name in the mix: El Gato Malo. You might remember The Bad Cat from a couple of years ago during the Kentucky Derby prep season. I always liked his name.
El Gato Malo is running in the third race, a $40k Optional Claiming/Allowance event for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Riveting Reason is also in the field of seven.
- In somewhat of a curious move, To Honor and Serve will not run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but will instead use the one mile Kelso Handicap as his final prep for the Classic.
That's actually not a bad move by Bill Mott (and, obviously, Mott knows how to get a horse ready for a big race); Jockey Club Gold Cup runners haven't exactly lit up the board in the Classic in recent years and a race at a mile and then stretching out to ten furlongs might be a better option than back-to-back races at the classic distance.
- Steamin Willie Beamin will be back in action down at Remington Park for the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby. Yeah, Willie, get some!
- Oh, by the way, a decent horse over in England put in a morning gallop over Newmarket a few days ago. Can't remember his name... Frank-something or another.