Friday, October 3, 2008

Big Final Breeders' Cup Preview Weekend!


1. Precious Kitten
2. Stormy West
3. Dreaming of Anna
Precious Kitten is simply faster than the rest and will be really tough to beat if she's anywhere near where she was when losing in a dogfight with Vacare last year. Stormy West loves Keeneland and Mott will have her ready. She ran a huge race in the Jenny Wiley in April on the same course and is bred beautifully. Dreaming of Anna will make all the pace and will kick strong. This race should set her up for a run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She should love SA's synthetic and likes nine furlongs. But, today, she looks to be below the challenge of Precious Kitten and the ever-savvy Bejarano.

1. Dream Empress
2. Devotee
3. Be Smart
I am completely throwing out Mani Bhavan, the big favorite. She's a sprinter until proven otherwise, and 8.5 furlongs over a tiring surface and a long stretch at Keeneland will serve her poorly. Dream Empress is prepared by a master and Devotee is bred to love the surface. I'll throw 2nd-time starter Be Smart in there, who is by Smarty Jones out of a 3/4 sister to the brilliant Buddha. I would put her higher, but nowadays having Lukas as a trainer is more of a liability in big races than a bonus. Also, going from 6 furlongs to a two turn race out of a big win is a vintage 'bad idea' move that Lukas does and usually fails at. This race is a toss up, but I think Dream Empress is going to love the surface and the distance, and McPeek has horses ready to run at Keeneland, especially in the Fall.

1. Sky Mom
2. Skylighter
3. Pious Ashley
I am throwing out favorite Golden Doc A, because I believe she is a synthetic lover. Sky Mom is the horse to beat and Skylighter is the most intriguing filly in the field. The latter drew the rail, which will help in a big field in her big stakes debut. She's bred well enough to get it done, but I think a tougher Sky Mom will win this race big. Pious Ashley was supposed to be a great filly, but has yet to pan out. Hopefully this field is to her liking, and Romans is a trustworthy stakes trainer. Making only her fourth start, Pious Ashley is dangerous, especially being a late developing offspring of Include.

1. Arson Squad
2. Past the Point
3. Anak Nakal
Arson Squad is a great horse and hates synthetics. Now, finally on the east coast, he is ready to prove that at his favorite distance. I hope he demolishes this field, but that's a tall task. Past the Point ran big against Curlin, but today he should is on a more speed-favoring course. I think he will get the better of fellow speed Timber Reserve and hold off a late closing Anak Nakal (for whom the speed bias will work against).


1. Talent Search
2. Noonmark
3. Semaphore Man
If Talent Search is at his best and likes the polytrack, then he wins. Off the layoff is not a worry with new trainer Frankel. He is simply too fast and too talented. Noonmark, the best bred horse in the field (by Unbridled's Song out of a Storm Cat half-sister to Formal Gold) is honest and should be primed for a big one, while Semaphore Man is the unspoken star of the Southeastern sprint division who could easily run well enough to win or place.

1. Gio Ponti
2. Court Vision
3. Wesley
With sweeping turns and a nice stretch, Gio Ponti will win this race. He is the best American turf colt, which does not say much, and is a length or so better than both Wesley and Court Vision. Ready's Echo could sneak up and grab a spot if someone doesn't take to the course.


1. Terrain
2. Majestic Blue
3. Zion
Terrain should remain "unbeaten" and win this. Advice will be right there, but his post works against him, so I had to throw him out. Instead I'll throw in McLaughlin's highly touted Majestic Blue. Zion is bred to both love synthetics and a distance of ground. Asmussen will have this colt ready to run. Terrain is by Sky Mesa and looks like he could be special if given the chance.

1. Lord Admiral
2. Lovelace
3. Thorn Song
This race is surprisingly weak. The two to beat are the Europeans, Lord Admiral and Lovelace, who are coming out of two of Europe's most prestigious races. I expect Thorn Song to outlast a bouncing Rahy's Attourney. Also, I believe Shakis is overraced over the last few weeks and does not care for Keeneland's turf course. So, I believe the pace will be honest, if not fast, setting up for the late-running Euros that should go off at a decent price.

E.P. Taylor-G1 WO 4:00
1. Hostess
2. J'ray
3. Folk Opera
Sealy Hill runs for the final time in this race. It is too bad to see her go, but I am not here to feel sorry for a very unsubstantial loss. Hostess ran a nice, nice race last out at Saratoga, and I expect this race to be right up her alley. James Bond is still one of the best trainers at keeping a horse at his/her peak, and I will be rooting for her to defend America's honor in Canada's biggest turf race for females. J'ray is always there and should be there again, while Folk Opera takes a class drop after facing the best turf filly in the world in Zarkava in the Vermeille a few weeks ago. One of the better races of the weekend.

1. Skipadate
2. Grand Adventure
3. Star of David
Class wins when it comes to young horses and Casse has a good one in Skipadate. It is also really nice to finally see a Skip Away colt with some genuine ability. Frostad juveniles are always tough first-time-stakes horses, so I throw the well-bred Grand Adventure in there for the place. The ace up my sleeve is Star of David, a rare Asmussen colt who to be stabled at WO. I believe this colt will be ready for the jump in class and is from the ever-dangerous offspring of Bernstein.

1. Quijano
2. Doctor Dino
3. Champs Elysees
This is the time when Quijano gets his revenge... on everyone. Champs Elysees is better at shorter distances and will not have an answer to the top two's best races. Doctor Dino will be tough, but I cannot bet a horse who will probably go off around 4/5.

1. Quietly Mine
2. Hero's Reward
3. Hellvelyn
Clement has been gearing this colt toward a chance at revenge against the big turf sprinter, Hero's reward. I think this is the time that Gomez gets him there. Hero's Reward, as always, will be tough. A horse to watch is the 2nd-off-layoff Hellvelyn from McLaughlin's barn, and with smart jockey Bravo in the irons.

1. Persistently
2. Miss Ocean City
3. Heavenly Vision
Persistently should have won the Matron, with a better ride. Today she should be a better filly and a tough customer. Miss Ocean City and Heavenly Vision both come from barns that have proven to be extremely tough in fall two year old races at Belmont, Zito and Baffert. Both are also at 10/1 or above, which is delicious.

1. Brave Victory
2. Hello Broadway
3. Break Water Edison
Brave Victory has been super-impressive and I trust Zito if he brings him back off two weeks. Cribnote, I will throw out due to the blinkers. He will burn himself out. Instead I'll throw in Hello Broadway and Break Water Edison, two colts with futures. Break Water Edison is an impressive specimen who will go off at great odds, and I loved his race two back. I am also throwing out Vineyard Haven simply because I think he will finish fourth behind my top three. I am deathly afraid of Gone Astray, as I believe he will run much better in this race than the Futurity. But, in the end, we must decide our top three- and I cannot throw out the ones listed.

1. Wild Gams
2. Indyanne
3. Sugar Swirl
Wild Gams loves the track, the distance, and is due to run big. Indyanne will probably run very much the same as last time when she barely lost. Sugar Swirl is a classy, classy mare who will run her race- it just will not be enough to win.

1. Pyro
2. Chris Got Even
3. Power Game
Despite the outside post, which I think will help, this is Pyro's race to win or lose. I think he's the horse to beat and Power Game will be right there, as well. Chris Got Even is my 'wild card,' because I think Zito has been taking his time with this colt who should give a good showing of himself at Hoosier.


GREY-G3 WO 3:35

1. Dance Into Heaven
2. Southern Exchange
3. Bear's Conductor
When Sam-Son Farm enters a maiden in a race, it is not a rare feat for them to win. Dance Into Heaven is a good looking colt who should give a great account of his golden genes. Southern Exchange is bred to handle the distance, but after backing up at Del Mar at seven panels, I worry about his ability to handle it at this point in his career. Bear's Conductor should run well for Reade Baker, who is hot recently. He's by Congaree, whom I loved as a racehorse, and is bred well enough to be able to handle the polytrack. Stimulus Plan will be tough, but I worry about his endurance, so I had to throw him out.


1. Driving Snow
2. Bittel Road
3. Giant Oak
I'm going to take a shot in the dark and throw Driving Snow on top in this race. Verglas is a very underrated stallion and this colt is the only true grass pedigree in the race. Bittel Road proved a force to be reckoned in the With Anticipation, but I believe the inside post will work against him. Giant Oak was my original pick, but I worry about his step up in class and an inside post. He will have to either show speed or worry about traffic. As with many juvenile turf races, it is a toss-up.


1. Livin Lovin
2. Retraceable
3. Van Lear Rose
When Klesaris ships, he's dangerous. Dominguez will give this filly the best possible ride, as well. Retraceable is Casse's best hope (hence Husbands in the sattle) and Catherin Day Phillips, like her father, is great with developing young horses. I expect Van Lear Rose to be very tough in the straight.

1. Jibboom
2. Carriage Trail
3. Unbridled Belle
I am a registered member of the Jibboom fan club. She's beautiful, flashy, and loves synthetics. She runs just like her father, Mizzen Mast, and should be the horse to beat in this race. Carriage Trail is always tough and should be right there, while Unbridled Belle does not promise to be as affective on synthetic surfaces. Go Jibboom!


1. Harlem Rocker

2. Visiona
3. Tale of Ekati
As many of you know, I am also a registered member of the Harlem Rocker
fan club. I think he's in the top three sophomores, talent-wise, and is going to be a tough customer on Sunday. I look for him to outsprint Visionaire after getting the jump on him, and close down Cool Coal Man and Tale of Ekati. Da Tara chose a bad path by running here, when Zito (who usually is great with picking spots) should have aimed him toward the Breeders' Cup Endurance at his beloved twelve furlongs.

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