Amateurcapper will join Wireplayers.com, A Leg Up, and Giving My Ten Cents blogs offering opinions on our top Breeders’ Cup contenders and our top selections in prep races around the country in the inaugural version of “Run Up to the Breeders’ Cup”…opinions encouraged!
It's almost here! Our best opinions about horse racing’s championship weekend, The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. After the first posting, the sheet will be easier to produce and I will endeavor to post it by Friday evening.
Now, if I can only find a way to put it in the body of my post! Bear with me. Steve, HELP!
Today takes no back seat to yesterday’s coast-to-coast stakes action because of a brilliant filly, RACHEL ALEXANDRA. The Stonestreet Stable color-bearer is being brought up to a peak performance on Breeders’ Cup weekend by Steve Asmussen and his able assistant Scott Blasi. If best laid plans come to fruition, there could be a “classic” showdown with defending Classic champion ZENYATTA, and the two top older males, BLAME and QUALITY ROAD.
RACHEL must put a halt to the streaking LIFE AT TEN in Saratoga’s Personal Ensign (G.1) over 1 ¼ miles, currently rated #3 in the TBA/HorsePlayersBet.com Filly & Mare rankings. If she is truly coming up to her best, RACHEL will author a repeat of her Preakness S. (G.1) win from last year. I envision her sitting off LIFE AT TEN and taking over into the lane for a very popular victory. Should that happen, there is one fellow TBA blogger, Zipse at the Track, that will be sounding the loudest victory horn. If the two of them ding-dong and aren’t up to the final 1/ 4 mile, MISS SINGHSIX and the Phipps Stable filly PERSISTENTLY are eligible to run them down in what would be a huge upset.
Another race that may impact the Ladies’ Distaff division is the Molly Pitcher (G.2) at Monmouth Park. Last out G.1 winner MALIBU PRAYER drops back in class and distance which will make her a prohibitive favorite. However, she’s coming off the best race of her career, a hard run from gate-to-wire defeating TBA/Horseplayersbet.com #2 filly UNRIVALED BELLE. If that effort leaves her a little flat today, look out for QUEEN MARTHA, who will be glad not to see RACHEL, to duel her into submission. ‘MARTHA will be forwardly placed coming off pace-setting duties against RACHEL. When she kicks for home on the far turn, ‘PRAYER may be saying one hoping for divine intervention down the lane. JUST JENDA conquered MALIBU PRAYER in last year’s Monmouth Oaks (G.3) and may fall into the ideal trip if ‘PRAYER and QUEEN MARTHA duel but can’t find late energy in deep stretch.
In other action today, the Turf Sprint division may create a legitimate contender in the Play the King (G.2) over 7 furlongs on Woodbine’s expansive turf course. Hilander S (G.2) winner SIGNATURE RED is the tepid 5-2 choice while defending champion JUNGLE WAVE is the 3-1 second choice. In the Highlander, ‘RED won his first graded stakes while extending ‘WAVE’s losing streak since last year to seven. They will face a legitimate challenge from SMOKEY FIRE who will enjoy the contested pace situation from FATAL BULLET, SIGNATURE RED, and JUNGLE WAVE. I give a longshot look to SOUTHDALE, the ’09 Plate Trial runner-up to eventual Plate winner EYE OF THE LEOPARD. His routes of late have screamed sprint and the son of STREET CRY may find the grass and race shape ideal to his style.
At Monmouth Park, the Junior Champion will produce one or more Juvenile Fillies Turf contenders. ARCH SUPPORT is the only winner around two turns, that coming on turf in wire-to-wire fashion at Saratoga. She has done nothing wrong in her two race career but she travels to Monmouth, drew horribly, and may find too much speed stretching out to her inside to get over. If she wins, the daughter of ARCH will deserve top billing in this fluid category. A BRILLIANT IDEA is a maiden against winners so she would seem at a disadvantage. However, these are juvenile fillies who’ve yet to sort out true class. They raced together in each filly’s career debut. A BRILLIANT IDEA was 7-2 to ARCH SUPPORT’S 14-1. ‘IDEA was forced to move prematurely/wide on the far turn, then throttled down again awaiting the stretch, but could not keep pace with only a hand ride down the lane. That was useful prep, but she was brought back on the dirt for start # 2 and she couldn’t justify the favoritism bestowed on her. Now she stretches out after two sprints, third career start, with a favorable rail slot. Garrett Gomez only enhances her qualities.
Lastly, Del Mar card’s the Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf. This is a pretty sorry bunch, many of which are still eligible for non-winners allowance races. It will be a huge leap to see any of these become legitimate Turf division contenders this year but could serve as a springboard to grass marathons in 2011. CHAMP PEGASUS is lightly raced and a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner FUSAICHI PEGASUS. He’s also out of SALT LAKE, a Argentinian-bred mare that was conditioned to a Santa Monica H. (G.1) win in the U. S. by Richard Mandella, who happens to train CHAMP PEGASUS. The trainer knows the mom and undoubtedly saw FuPeg prep in California…I won’t second guess his placement of CHAMP PEGASUS who was 3rd in the Sunset H. (G.3). Hot-riding Joel Rosario takes the call. There are many price horses that own turf marathon breeding at the highest level, but their careers to this point have not legitimized their genes. This race isn’t a G.2 and I won’t be surprised to see FALCON ROCK (HAWK WING, CAERLEON dam), BUENOS DIAS (PEINTRE CELEBRE, RAINBOW QUEST dam), DYNAMIC RANGE (DYNAFORMER, THEATRICAL dam), WORTH REPEATING (GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, A.P. INDY dam), or RED EYE EXPRESS (GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, MACHIAVELLIAN dam) doing lots of damage against CHAMP PEGASUS today.