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BREEDERS' CUP 2011: Monday News and Notes

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There's just under two weeks remaining until the 2011 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, and several of the divisions are still experiencing uncertainty as to the potential entries. Here's a look at some of the items making news leading up to the Breeders' Cup:

Twirling Candy, a candidate to run in the Dirt Mile, was retired this weekend following an injury, thus ending what has to be a very disappointing year for a colt that had a lot of promise back in January.  The son of Candy Ride (ARG) picked up wins in the G2-Strub and G2-Californian, and finished in-the-money in the G1-Pacific Classic and G1-Hollywood Gold Cup.  And while those accomplishments are nothing to be ashamed of, many expected this colt to become a top Classic contender in 2011.  That never happened.

Goldikova's (IRE) quest for a fourth straight Breeders' Cup Mile victory got a little bit easier when the connections of Excelebration, second to Frankel (GB) in the British Champions Mile a little over a week ago, decided to skip the Breeders' Cup and point towards a race in Hong Kong later in the year.  At this point, the European rivals for Goldikova are diminishing fast, leaving the top American miler, Gio Ponti, as the prime threat. 

Bob Baffert's Prayer for Relief could only muster a third place finish in the recent Oklahoma Derby, but that won't stop the trainer from pre-entering the colt in the Classic this Thursday.  Prayer for Relief won the Iowa Derby, West Virginia Derby, and the Super Derby this year.

California Flag will enter the Turf Sprint for the third year in a row, even though five furlongs really isn't his best distance.  The Brian Koriner trained colt won the 2009 Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, but that race was run at six and a half furlongs on the downhill turf course, a much, much different set-up than the five furlong dash at Churchill Downs. 

Over at the DRF, Steve Crist takes a look at the Horse of the Year race and the possible Breeders' Cup implications.  Like we've talked about here in the past, Havre de Grace is a lock is she wins the Classic, and Tizway would be hard to deny if he won.  But if anybody else wins, things start to get a little more confusing.

I wrote a little bit about the TV situation last week, but below is a hand-dandy summary of the channels and times for all of the Breeders' Cup action (all times Eastern).

Day Station Time
Note
Friday ESPN2 / ESPN3 4:00 Ladies' Classic post time 7:30pm
Saturday TVG 1:00-2:00 Marathon
Saturday ABC / ESPN3 2:00-3:30
Saturday ESPN / ESPN3 3:30-7:15 Classic post time at 7:00p


If you are curious as to how the UK betting markets are handicapping the Classic, you're in luck.  Uncle Mo is the ante post favorite at 5/2 (low) to 4/1 (high), with Havre de Grace (9/2 - 6/1), So You Think (5/1 - 6/1) and Tizway (6/1 - 7/1) rounding out the top four interests. Quite frankly, I would love to get 9/2 or 6/1 on Havre de Grace.  I'd run to the windows at that price.  Uncle Mo? Not so much.

The morning work tabs are fast and furious at this point, with trainers looking for their horses to sharpen their form ahead of the big weekend.  Below are Sunday's morning tabs, along with links to reports from various industry sources:

 

Horse Race Track Dist Time
Aikenite Sprint CD 4.0 48.40
California Flag Turf Sprint SA 4.0 48.00
Camp Victory Turf Sprint HOL 4.0 49:80
Caracortado Mile/Turf Sprint SA 5.0 1.00:00
Cease Marathon KEE 4.0 47.40
Daddy Nose Best Juvenile Turf CD 5.0 1.02:20
Dances With Ashley Filly & Mare Sprint CD-T 4.0 49.40
Distorted Legacy Filly & Mare Turf BEL 5.0 1.05:01
Finale *Juvenile Turf BEL 4.0 48:66
Flat Out *Classic CD 8.0 1.43:60
Havelock Turf Sprint CD 5.0 1.05:80
Headache Classic CD-T 5.0 1.01:20
Royal Delta Ladies Classic CD 5.0 1.02:60
Sangaree Dirt Mile/Classic BEL 4.0 46:99
Secret Circle Juvenile/Juvenile Sprint SA 4.0 46.40
Shared Account Filly & Mare Turf FH 7.0 1.26:00
Stay Thirsty Dirt Mile/Classic BEL 5.0 1.01:01
Stopshoppingmaria Juvenile Fillies BEL 5.0 1.01:41
To Honor and Serve Classic CD 5.0 1.02:00
Uncle Mo Classic/Sprint/*Dirt Mile BEL 6.0 1.13:22
Vexor Juvenile Sprint BEL 4.0 47:90

 

Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty Still On Classic Path | BloodHorse.com
Stablemates Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, both headed for the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, stayed on schedule with their latest breezes over the training track at Belmont Park Oct. 23.

Havre de Grace in Smooth Work at Keeneland | BloodHorse.com
Fox Hill Farm's Havre de Grace turned in a smooth five-furlong work Oct. 24 at Keeneland in preparation for the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

Royal Delta, To Honor and Serve Work at CD | BloodHorse.com
Royal Delta and To Honor and Serve worked Oct. 23, on the main track at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott

Caracortado works for Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint | Daily Racing Form
Caracortado, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Sunday for the BC Turf Sprint.  Caracortado galloped out six furlongs in 1:14, according to trainer and co-owner Mike Machowsky.

Union Rags on target for Juvenile - Thoroughbred Times
Undefeated Champagne Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags breezed five furlongs on Saturday at Fair Hill Training Center in preparation for a planned start in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on November 5 at Churchill Downs.