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Monday Morning Odds and Ends

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Only four days left until the start of the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.  Can you believe it's already that time of the year?  It seems like yesterday that we were talking Triple Crown.  And just think - two months from now we'll be starting 2011, eagerly anticipating the start of Kentucky Derby prep race season.  Time flies.

Some random thoughts on this Monday morning:

-The draw for the Breeders' Cup will take place tomorrow morning at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific.  I'll have the complete entries, post-positions and morning line odds up as soon as possible.  The draw will also help to finalize the jockey situation for the weekend.

-I've been a bit behind in some of the posts I had planned; I came down with a bit of stomach flu this weekend and it's kind of knocked my off my schedule.  Never fear, I've got a bunch of things in the hopper that I hope to get posted over the next couple of days.

-I'm sure a lot of you like to watch The Works on TVG; if you caught yesterday's show you saw a couple of morning drills that inspire little, if any, confidence heading into the Breeders' Cup.  The first was the work of Classic contender Espoir City (JPN).  It was an odd work in the manner in which it started (at the finish line, rather than on the back stretch), and when the colt failed to switch leads at the top of the stretch it turned into a rather ugly display.  Unfortunately, we have nothing to compare this work with so we're a bit left wondering as to whether this horse is simply not adapting to Churchill or whether he's generally like this in the morning.  I'm going to go with the former.

The other work that certainly makes you scratch your head was that of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who will run in the one-turn Dirt Mile on Saturday.  Mine That Bird worked from the gate and was really asked to pick it up in the early stages, as they tried to get him to start much quicker than he's traditionally run.  Not only did the rider really have to get into Mine That Bird to get him to show speed but I personally didn't think the Derby winner looked all that comfortable throughout the whole work. 

We've talked about Mine That Bird so much it's really a broken record at this point but when we are continually presented with visual evidence that his colt just isn't in his element right now...well, it's hard to ignore.

The most impressive work to my untrained eye was that of Juvenile Filly contender A Z Warrior.  This Bob Baffert filly just glided over the Hollywood surface during her four furlong drill.  I thought she was a very, very nice looking filly.

-A bunch of horses worked at Churchill this morning, including Blame who went four furlongs in 49 and 4.

-I thought the 60 Minuets piece on Zenyatta was well-done.  Sure, it was a puff piece, but the fact is that most people outside of horse racing know very, very little about the sport (thus the "why didn't you race her in the Kentucky Derby?" question from the interviewer).  There are two ways, in my opinion, that people are attracted to this sport.  One is the gambling wagering aspect and the thrill of the event, the other is the brilliance and beauty of the horses themselves.  Long term growth of the sport probably depends more on the wagering aspect but we can't ignore the fact that a good story can bring attention to the game. 

In the end, while stories are softened up in order to be served to the general public, I think it's good just to see someone talking about the sport.