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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Countdown and Down for the Count

Like a train wreck that you just can’t turn away from, I find myself clicking on the racing news websites multiple times a day—as the list of defections from the Breeders’ Cup races seems to mount nearly hourly:

Mast Track (quarter crack)
J Be K (tired)
Red Giant (temperature/retired)
Communique (foot abscess)
Jonesboro (won Remington Park Sprint Championship on Sunday)
Believe in Hope (fever)
Tropic Storm (tendon injury)

Final entries will be drawn on Tuesday, thus let the serious handicapping begin. Preliminarily, though, I confess to being disappointed the Filly & Mare Classic looks to have the smallest field, particularly as it was undoubtedly the strongest division all year. Zenyatta may have scared off some, but then again look at all the extremely talented distaffers that fell by the wayside this year, beginning with G1 Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles. In May, we also lost multiple-G1 winner Nashoba’s Key to a freak stall accident.

G1 Kentucky Oaks and G1 Alabama winner Proud Spell earned a break after her long campaign this year. G1 Ashland runner-up Bsharpsonata went for a spell after her disappointing last place finish in the G2 Black-Eyed Susan (as the favorite), but she’s back in training.

Sun Classique won the UAE-G1 Sheema Classic over BC entrants Spring House and Better Talk Now, but suffered a tendon injury while training in July. After her super-impressive victory in the G1 Ruffian, Tough Tiz’s Sis suffered a career-ending leg injury.

The Aga Kahn chose to retire both undefeated 3-year-old Zarkava after her easy victory in the G1 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, and 4-year-old Darjina who finished second in five G1 races this year—often against males—including the Dubai Duty Free and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

Ah, what may have been!