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2008 Breeders' Cup: The Pre-entries

Follow the link to the Daily Racing Form, which has a list of the BC pre-entries along with Mike Watchmaker's current odds. (DRF Pre-Entries)

-The Distaff, sorry...Ladies' Classic, has only eight entries, but it might be the most competitive field of the weekend, topped by the unbeaten Zenyatta. The hard-knockin' filly, Hystericalady, is back to try and make-up for that close loss last year to Ginger Punch, in what was the most thrilling race on the 2007 card.

-I think that generally there are too many Juvenile races over the BC weekend, but I absolutely love the Juvey Turf races primarily due to the young Euros that are now making the trip for these events.

-Top European Miler, Goldikova, is cross-entered in the Filly & Mare Turf and the Turf Mile. Her first preference is the Mile, where she has a great chance at an upset, but will face a traditionally deep Mile field. The F&M Turf isn't a whole lot easier for her given that it's a 1/4-mile longer and includes such standouts as Forever Together and Halfway to Heaven.

-The second running of the Filly & Mare Sprint looks like complete anarchy on paper. Indian Blessing will be the likely favorite, but this race figures to be fast and furious all the way to the line. Closers will be all the rage.

-The inaugural Turf Sprint sees a contingent of European sprinters making an appearance, a rarity at the Breeders' Cup. The Dirt Sprint also has a little European flavor. Honestly, I'll be steering away from Euros in the Sprints, whether on grass, dirt or synthetic. With American breeding so focused on speed, it's difficult to envision a Euro competing with the best of our sprinters. We see it every year in Dubai where Americans dominate the sprint race. Perhaps I'll use a Euro deep in a couple of tickets, but I don't think they'll be on top.

-The Classic, in my opinion, could be a lot more wide-open than people are realizing. I watched Curlin's work over the ProRide surface the other day and I have to say, he didn't look like a horse that really wants to be on the synthetics. He's still a legitimate favorite due to his exceptional talent, but I will be looking in a different direction come the final race of the day. Specifically, I think Go Between, Duke of Marmalade, and Champs Elysees, all have a tremendous chance for an upset.

-The Americans got the best of the Europeans in last year's Turf but the tables look to have been turned for this year's event. Soldier of Fortune looks mighty imposing coming off a solid third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Throw in the fact that Aiden O'Brien pre-entered Red Rock Canyon to serve as a rabbit for Soldier of Fortune, and you have a race that looks to set up perfectly for an off-the-pace European.

-How deep is this year's Turf Mile? So deep that you could argue that last year's champion, Kip Deville, is no better than the fifth choice to win. European Raven's Pass is cross-entered in the Classic (which is their 1st preference)...if he runs here, he's the favorite.

There is a ton of speed in the Mile, headlined by Daytona, who put up some impressive performances at Gulfstream early in the year.

-I'm going to take a couple of days to digest the pre-entries and then come back with a big overview of each race on the card.