Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup races were announced on Wednesday, which you can view here and here. Rather than pointedly noting that half of the 14 races failed to draw full fields and reeling off a litany of top competitors who, for one reason or another, won’t be at Santa Anita next week, I’ll take the high road and focus on the positive. And maybe one of the most heartening developments is the number of female trainers who will be represent with not just runners, but strong contenders—eight!
Helen Pitts-Blasi has Einstein coming into the Classic under the radar—and a major threat. The rock-hard Santa Anita turf fits Mary Hartmann-trained Presious Passion and this front-runner could steal the Turf. Josie Carroll’s Careless Jewel looks formidable in the Ladies Classic. Jenine Sahadi’s Gotta Have Her has yet to finish out the money in eight starts this year, and will enter the Turf Sprint off victories in the G2 Palomar and G3 Senator Ken Maddy handicaps. The Marathon field includes Lisa Lewis-trained Black Astor, and G2 Brooklyn Handicap winner Eldaafer, trained by Diane Alvarado. Carla Gaines entered California Cup Sprint victor Dancing in Silks in the Sprint, with second preference in the Turf Sprint, while Linda Rice-trained Canadian Ballet will likely draw into the Turf Sprint.
In the Filly & Mare Sprint, no Carlsbad, whose connections would have had to pay huge supplemental fees, or Indian Blessing, and Sweet Hearth (who I discussed in my latest NTRA post) will go in the Dirt Mile. That leaves (in alphabetical order):
1. Allicansayis Wow
2. Evita Argentina
3. Free Flying Soul
4. Game Face
5. Informed Decision
6. Only Green (IRE)
7. Sara Louise
8. Seventh Street
9. Silver Swallow
If this race were held anywhere outside of California, Free Flying Soul and Silver Swallow wouldn’t be running; Allicansayis Wow and Evita Argentina flesh out the “home team.” Only Green is an unknown, shipping in from Europe, but Goldikova’s “rabbit” isn’t likely to match up against Informed Decision and Ventura who far surpass this field in quality. Sara Louise is perhaps the biggest threat to finish among the top three. I promise a more thorough evaluation after post positions are set next Tuesday, but this race looks to be chalky.
Other initial thoughts:
Zenyatta in the Classic is anti-climatic. Sorry, but I fear her undefeated streak is at an end, regardless of which Breeders’ Cup race she entered.
The Turf comes up amazingly light, with only 8 likely starters? Wow, if any race would have a full field, I thought that would be it, but I guess $3 million isn’t what it used to be.
The Sprint looks extremely competitive, but I love Fatal Bullet to improve on his second place finish last year.
I guess statistically the more horses you enter, the better chance you have of winning, BUT...Todd Pletcher doesn’t look to have a winner among his bunch (sorry, Toddster). On the other hand, Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin/Darley look to have a very good couple of days.