Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Are We Done With Breeders’ Cup Preps Yet?


The answer to that proposition is highly probable--although there's just enough time that some contest this weekend would allow aspiring equine with three weeks rest to enter the big dance.

While there were major Grade 1s this pseudo holiday weekend (Christopher Columbus has been treated very badly), of major interest to true fans of the sport is what happened across the pond on Sunday.

But who we’re really talking about the 4-year-old filly Enable who won back to Arc De Triomphes, the first in the modern era to do with off a single prep—on a synthetic track yet. Then again, it is John Gosden we’re referencing here.

The filly was tactically brilliant, obviously well prepared, and expertly ridden by Frankie (anyone who can win six Arcs has is in Madonna, Lebron, and Oprah territory as far as we're concerned).

And so it appears that she will be coming for The Turf and, since she’s fresh, she could be the one that conquers the "Curse of the Arc Winner."

Gosden would love to put a check in the Breeders’ Cup Turf box, and we’re certain that Dettori would love to help him do just that. Enable's star power would be very much appreciated and the Breeders’ Cup sure could use some of that.


We wish the runnerup Sea Of Class, and her giant late turn of foot were coming, too, but she’s done for the season to return next year. For now, the great Enable will have to do.

Don’t know if Marcel Boussac winner Lily’s Candle is coming over but owner Martin Schwartz, one of Chad Brown’s earliest clients, purchased the filly on Oct. 6 and won a Group 1 the next day coming from last going a mile.

Our fillies could be in deep trouble should Lily’s Candle get on a plane bound for Louisville.

As for Royal Marine, he looked very good winning Jean-Luc Lagardere, but our eye caught the second and third finishers:

Broome made all under pressure throughout and held very gamely; Anodor, one paced most of the way, settled and flew home but too late.

Wild Illusion and Magic Wand made an excellent impression as the exacta finishers in the Prix De L’Opera and Mabs Cross was a worthy winner of the 5-furlong Prix De L’Abbaye, a sprint for two-year-olds and up. Imagine that?

Back in the New World, Eskimo Kisses could not replicate her winning Alabama form in the Spinster against her elders but Blue Prize, despite lugging out very badly well passed the crown of the Keeneland surface, finally took down a Grade 1.

As hard as she tries, she deserved a big race with her name on it.

G3 Bourbon nose winner Current might not be a match for his Cup rivals from here or abroad but he will be the most handsome, a gorgeous chestnut colt with a lot of heart and class.

At Belmont, Covfefe was a huge odds-on flop, but even if she were able to replicate her blazing sprint form in the G1 Frizette, she still might not have been able to handle Jaywalk who, after setting a controlled half in 45.64, stopped the clock for the mile in a very sparkly 1:34.57.

New York Bred Fourstar Crook, winner of the G1 Flower Bowl, might not scare the Filly Turf competition away but she’ll be running hard at them late like she always does. The 5-year-old mare is as reliable as they come.

Don’t know what to make of Uncle Benny’s Futurity score, or Lonely Road’s Matron, for two reasons:

Don’t know, as stated previously, if 6-furlong form will be a good fit at Churchill and there’s no historical reference as these traditional juvenile fall events were run on grass for the first time this year.

The pragmatic me loves the idea since both these races have fallen on hard times in the Breeders’ Cup prep era and turf racing is good marketing these days. The traditional me hates it, of course.

Racing officials are not famous for their candor but loved this quote from Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations.

“I find it highly ironic, Panza said. “Here are our 2-year-olds all running four weeks before the Breeders’ Cup and yet our older horses need nine, 10, 11 weeks between races. It’s disgusting. It really is.”

BETS 'N PIECES:: We were remiss on Sunday in not commenting on Keeneland’s Friday opener with its Cup implications:

Promises Fulfilled may not prove as brilliant as Imperial Hint, or as mettle-tested as defending sprint champion Roy H—back at tops in SoCal over the weekend—but he will fight any horse hoof and nail. Rivals had trouble, yes, but he put away two speed challengers and held off his talented elders--and the 3-year-old will get a few pounds.

Meanwhile, Restless Rider might be a really, really good one. She announced her two-turn presence with authority taking the G1 Alcibiades. A tough dynamics Spinaway, in which she placed, is all that's keeping her from being undefeated in four starts. And her first two wins were over the Churchill surface.

Written by John Pricci

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