Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Longines Breeders Cup Turf Analysis for ThoroFan


The mile and one half, 3 million dollar Breeders Cup Turf goes as the 9th race on Saturday, and post time is 6:22. As of this writing it’s a field of 12 and there is a chance of rain for Saturday in Southern California. Be mindful if the course does indeed take some rain and becomes less than rock-hard firm. Euros that have shipped to CA usually come because they expect a good chance of very firm going and they send horses that PREFER to race over the “top of the ground”  My guess is that there would have to be a considerable amount of rain to change the Santa Anita turf course.


Here is a configuration of the 12 furlong test. The starting gate is placed at the bottom of the short downhill run on the track’s unique turf course. Probably won’t be a problem for most however.

From the rail out:


  1. Telescope – Galileo colt has never been off the board. He runs with First Time Lasix. He has never won a Grade 1, and has never run on firm turf. But trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore have been very successful bringing horses over for this race.


  1. Twilight Eclipse – One of 3 US horses that have been very competitive this year in Grade 1’s, though he has yet to get by major player, Main Sequence. Was beaten 2 &1/4 lengths in last year’s rendition with a slightly troubled trip. Jock change to Castellano



  1. Imagining – Grade 1 winner who as never won at this distance. Does have versatile running style and Shug doesn’t usually ship unless confident.


  1. Brown Panther – English –bred Grade 1 winner of 10 races. Was entered in a Grade 1 in Canada 10 days ago and was scratched after running off in the post parade .Was jumping out of his skin and looked amazing up to that point. Distance is no problem for this horse.



  1. Hangover Kid – Grade 2 winner and a trier. Would have to step it up to be competitive here.


  1. Finnegan’s Wake – Grade 3 winner who has never won at this distance but has had a race over the track. Would need much more.



  1. Flintshire – Morning line favorite and looks like the one to beat. Always prudent to consider any horse that has run in the Arc. Flintshire has not won this year but was a very good second to 2 time Arc winner Treve in a 20 horse field. Lots to like.


  1. Magician- Back to defend his title from BC13, another son of Galileo who likes this course. Has been off since August and runs well fresh. Could repeat. SCRATCHED



  1. Hardest Core – Hard Spun 4 year old in the best form of his life, coming off a win in the Arlington Million, where he beat Magician. Farm trained in the European style. Would not surprise.


  1. Starspangled Heat – Local horse who has never been this far and looks overmatched.



  1. Chicquita – Only filly in the race. Irish Oaks winner who disappointed in the Arc. First Time Lasix and smart connections. Sending her here after Arc “no-show” and in this spot, shows confidence - so must consider.


  1. Main Sequence – This former Euro has been rejuvenated by H.G Motion. Coming in with 3 Grade 1 wins. Does he have another stellar performance in him this season? America’s best hope.



  1. Big Jon B – Another local horse and former claimer who has gotten good. Would need to run the race of his life.



If Flintshire is not gutted from his Arc try, he will be getting the type of course he loves and should be respected. Main Sequence is totally on top of his game and it would be great to see America buck the Euro winning trend in this race. The filly Chicquita is also intriguing and might be overlooked.


Try to get some final impressions from those on track over the next few days, either on social media or in print. It is always important to know how a horse is coming into the race, mentally and physically. The past performances can only tell you so much. The winner in a contentious race like this will need a good trip, some racing luck and will be the one who is the best horse, ON THE DAY.

Wishing fast and safe to all our equine friends in Breeders Cup 2014!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Queen For a Day


Saturday’s feature race at Keeneland is the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup for three year old fillies, on the turf at 1 & 1/8 miles. This is the 30th rendition of the QE2 and the race is named in honor of the Queen of England who visited Keeneland on October 11th, 1984.


The race is sponsored by Lane’s End Farm. Owner William Farish was formerly the US Ambassador to Great Britain.


The purse this year has been increased to $500,000.


As of this writing, a field of 9 will contest the race.


From the rail out –


  1. Sistas Stroll – lightly raced filly by Stroll and trained by Tom Proctor a $20,000 purchase at KeeSept. She is undefeated on turf and at the distance, with her last win being a Grade 3. She has won on both firm and soft turf which shows a unique versatility for the surface. Is stepping up into deeper water here, but she could still have some upside.


  1. Minorette – A grade 1 winner out of a stakes winning mare and a half sister to 3 more stakes winners. Chad Brown trainee ran flat in her last star in mid August, but has had 5 nice works since then. Could certainly rebound with Rosario in the tack.


  1. Speed Seeker - A $10K purchase at OBS Aug, this filly is trained by Joan Scott. James Graham picks up the mount. Winner of a Grade3 at Woodbine and has been freshened since August 23rd.


  1. Aurelia’s Belle – Well-travelled filly trained by Wayne Catalano. Very well bred and out of a Danzig mare from the family of broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee, though most of the family’s success has come on dirt, she has the right genes. This filly can run on anything, but most of her wins have come on synthetic. Blinkers on in her last two, earned her a win. If you draw a line through her last on soft ground, she has a chance.


  1. Personal Diary – A Victoria Oliver charge that had preformed well enough in Allowance Company, but sprang an upset in the Grade 1 in the DelMar Oaks at today’s distance. She likes to come from out of it and needs to work out a trip. If you think the DelMar turf will play like the Keeneland turf, then maybe this filly is worth taking a look at for a piece.


  1. Ball Dancing – Another in here trained by Chad Brown, this filly made a splash in her first start in this country when winning the Grade 2 Sand’s Point at Belmont with Lasix added. Lots of talent here.


  1. Sea Queen – Speedy filly with a win over the track. Clement trained, she can stay out of trouble and get the perfect trip Has never won a graded stake but it’s only a matter of time. Lots to like.


  1. Crown Queen – Trained by Bill Mott, she is a half sister to Champion Royal Delta who never ran on turf. Her races as a 2 year old last year were uninspiring, but she has put it all together this year with her last win in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. Bullet works since her last and regular pilot John Velazquez, I like the way she’s coming into this spot.


  1. Daring Dancer - You can never underestimate Graham Motion. This filly has a win over this course, but her last race at Belmont was flat. Only one work since then and she loses her John Velazquez to Alan Garcia. But she has talent.




Weather may play a role in the race as rain is forecast for the next several days. That being said, most of these fillies have proven to run well on less than firm courses. But should the course get very soft, I give a bigger chance to Minorette because she is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare.


I do like the two “Queens” in here. Crown Queen‘s works for this are sparkling and she may just be getting better and better. Sea Queen could sprint to the front and be long gone. And if Ball Dancing doesn’t bounce off her sharp win she will be tough.


There’s your super box…Minorette / Ball Dancing / Sea Queen / Crown Queen


Sounds like a party in the palace to me!


Good luck if you are wagering, and fast and safe to all our equine friends.