Breeders' Cup 2012 Expert Picks: What Pundits Are Saying About Top Horses
The Breeders' Cup is less than 24 hours from the first post time. All of the work to get the horses in shape for the races is done.
There are some races that will be most closely watched than others, but all have their following, and everyone is looking forward to seeing their favorite horse try to earn a spot in horse racing's immortality heaven.
All of the top favorite horses have their own storylines and their history, so far, has been written.
They will be looking to make some additions to their already impressive history.
You have talked about them, but it's always good to see what some other people are saying about some of the top favorites for this weekend's marquee event.
Let's take a quick look at what is being said about them.
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According to a report on The Boston Globe's website, trainer Dale Romans has five entries on the Breeders' Cup races, but he thinks Shackleford brings him the best shot to win:
"He’s definitely our most live horse,’’ Romans said of the winner of the Metropolitan Mile in May and the 2011 Preakness. ‘‘All of our horses are coming into the races doing well, and all have chances. I think he’s the closest to one that should win."
Shackleford is a warrior horse. Every time in his career that he's had a bad race, he has bounced back to run well and give a great battle.
He's done it even after faltering in the Haskell, Donn and Vanderbilt stakes.
His last race at the Kelso was after the Vanderbilt, and he surrendered only to Jersey Town in the final furlong.
He has been blazing through his workouts in October, which shows the great form he is in. The Santa Anita surface should suit him well, and we should expect a big race from him.
Current two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Ramon Dominguez will retain the mount, and knowing Shackleford better will be an added value.
Point of Entry
image via timesunion.com
From the SBNation.com website:
Horse racing analysts like to use the phrase "he's done nothing wrong" when attempting to describe the current form of a horse with an impeccable record. That phrase suits Point of Entry perfectly when you take a look at his races in 2012.
That might be an understatement as to how dominant Point of Entry has been this year on Turf in America.
He has won five-straight races, four of them stakes, and the last three are Grade 1; four of those five races have been at the same 12 furlongs of the Breeders' Cup Turf.
There is not a single top American-based turf horse that he hasn't defeated during that streak. He even won over a very unkind yielding course on his last race.
In the past seven years alone, only one American based horse has won the race, English Channel. And this year it doesn't get any easier.
Defending champion St, Nicholas Abbey (IRE) and formidable filly Shareta (IRE) made the travel across the Atlantic to challenge Point of Entry and take home the trophy.
Both come from very disappointing effort in the Arc, but their form prior to that race shows they are tougher to beat than anybody else Point of Entry has seen this year.
He has been working great for the race and is ready to take on all challengers; he has both the division title and Horse of the Year in his sights.
A win here doesn't guarantee he'll earn the HOY award, but it will certainly help, and he will be making a very strong case about it.
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From a Reuters.com article, trainer Bill Mott explains why they chose to enter Royal Delta in the Ladies Classic:
I felt that running against the girls was probably the way to go. It's probably a conservative approach, but we have discussed Royal Delta running next year and discussed long ago that if she were doing well to run her in the (2013) Classic.
This has been an ongoing debate where many people think the Ladies Classic offered a tougher race for Royal Delta, but the truth is, both races offer a tough challenge, but the Ladies Classic fit her style much better than what the Classic setup was at the end.
It's no easy test, though, she will be facing the last two Juvenile Fillies champs, Awesome Feather (2010) and My Miss Aurelia (2011) who happen to be unbeaten as well.
She will also face Questing (GB) who was on a roll before her tight loss to My Miss Aurelia on her last race. Love and Pride is here as well, she was the last filly to beat her; and Grace Hall, who is a very talented filly, capable of contending for the win here.
Royal Delta is in the best shape she has ever been in and comes from a crushing, hand-ridden win which only validates her great form.
She will be in the mix at the end in the Ladies Classic; she would have been as well if she were to run against the boys in the Classic.
image via drf.com
On Espn.go.com, Wise Dan's trainer Charles Lopresti summarizes how tough the Breeders' Cup Mile will be for his horse, and what it will take to win it:
"It seems like he's won from every hole there is," Lopresti said of the post position. "I would have rather had probably 4-6 if I could get it, but I'm glad there's only nine horses in there. He's going to have to run the race of his life, I'll tell you, but then whoever wins the race will have run the race of their life. There's some really nice horses in there and you've got to consider all of them."
Lopresti is not exaggerating.
To put this into perspective, and the implications, which have an international flavor, you must first understand the quality of the two top horses in this race, Wise Dan and Excelebration (IRE).
According to the official Timeform world rankings, Frankel (GB) leads the way with 147, and Black Caviar (AUS) is second with 136.
Excelebration (IRE) is co-ranked third with Cirrus Des Aigles (FR) with 135 points, and Wise Dan is fifth with 134 points.
A win here by Wise Dan or Excelebration (IRE) could bump them all the way to second behind Frankel (GB). That should tell you that there will be fans worldwide with their eye on the race.
In America, Wise Dan could earn Horse of the Year honors, which validates the impressive run he's had this year.
But they are not the only two racing, the excellent filly Moonlight Cloud (GB), the speedster Obviously (IRE) and the returning winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, Animal Kingdom, head a field of challengers that make this field a stellar one that promises to deliver a thrilling race.
Game on Dude
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Alicia Wincze Hughes, of the Lexington Herald-Leader, had the headline of her article about Game on Dude read: "Classic favorite Game On Dude wins races, not headlines."
Game on Dude is deserving of the favoritism on the odds this Saturday.
Last year, the five-year-old gelding was beaten in the closing strides of the Classic by Drosselmeyer.
This year, he has won four times in six tries, including two G1 and two G2 races. His only loss came on the final strides of the G1 Pacific Classic over the synthetic track at Del Mar.
Even though he will be the likely favorite this Saturday in the Classic, he still doesn't get the respect or attention he deserves.
Just like the headline says, he wins races, he just doesn't grab the headlines.
The field he will face this Saturday includes the best available horses in the division: Flat Out, Ron the Greek, Fort Larned Mucho Macho Man, To Honor and Serve and Richard's Kid.
He has a great chance to win the Classic, but even if he does, you still get the feeling that some other horse (Royal Delta, Wise Dan or Point of Entry) will grab the main headlines.