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Vic Zast

From the perspective of being an owner, an industry pioneer in corporate sponsorship, a track president and fan, Vic Zast writes the "Destinations" column for The Blood-Horse. His five-star ratings of international events have shed light on racing in all corners of the globe - from England, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai to Japan.

Vic is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for ESPN.com, National Public radio and The Age, Australia's leading daily.

Vic makes his home in Chicago and lives in Saratoga Springs in August.

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Friday, November 05, 2010


Breeders’ Cup Tips for Day One


(LOUISVILLE, KY – November 05, 2010) The weather for the first day of Breeders’ Cup racing was meant to be miserable. The forecast was for 43 degrees with a slight chance of sleet. Not ideal for a horse race, especially when there’s an option that guarantees blue skies, warm sun and a view of the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s going to be 87 degrees at Santa Anita today, cooling to 79 tomorrow. No chance of rain either day. Here it’s partially sunny with frost on the turf course.

It’s bad enough to watch a football game bundled in blankets like a mummy. But the misery subsides in three hours. At the races, the chill sets into your bones with three to four races to go. You sit there, stunned by the cold; it’s not good for the handicapping. The pace of a day at the races favors leisurely time-wasting, thoughtful reflection, careful calculation – none of that is done with a hot cocoa in hand.

Oh, well. These winners should warm the cockles of your heart if not your toes. Take Bright Horizon or Precision Break on the basis that Euros are better suited than American-trained horses to get a long distance. Together looms over the others in class. Moontime Missy will be in the exacta, so at 30-1 why not bet her to win? Box Awesome Feather with Theyskens’ Theory and Sara Louise for a boxcar exacta. Defending champ Midday is the lock of the day. It won’t be easy for Blind Luck, but the children of Pollard’s Visions have heart.

Churchill Downs appears empty. But it’s likely the crowds are inside. The track’s carded four races to lead into the televised portion; each is better than the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. The $85,000 Jimmy V. “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up” Stakes, which goes as the third race, features Cool Bullet against Bulldogger, Backtalk and Noble’s Promise. The fourth is the $100,000 Gr. 3 Ack Ack Handicap. The 1-1/16 mile test brings together Apart, Demarcation, Colizeo and Jackson Bend.

The working press is chowing down on free garlic studded steak and pecan crusted trout in the Joe Hirsch Media Center. Yesterday, it was nasty fried hamburgers (yum!) in butter sauce, lying like upside-down divots in casual water. Popcorn is always available. Concessions carry steep prices elsewhere.

Good luck from Vic Zast in a box on the third floor clubhouse of Churchill Downs. More tomorrow, unless you’re a Facebook friend.


Written by Vic Zast

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