Nine Breeders' Cup champions are back in 2013
Nine winners from last year’s Breeders’ Cup are back looking for more this year with the two-day championship event getting underway at Santa Anita Park on November 1-2.
Leading the way is 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who is seeking a repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Fort Larned is looking for a repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, while Royal Delta is looking for her third-consecutive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (formerly named Ladies’ Classic).
The other defending champions looking for a repeat this year are Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint), Little Mike (Turf), Mizdirection (Turf Sprint), and Trinniberg (Sprint).
In addition, Beholder, last year’s winner of the Juvenile Fillies, will take on older females in the Distaff, and Flotilla, who won the Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, returns this year in the Mile against males.
Here is a quick look at the nine returning champs with early betting odds provided by breederscupodds.net.
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Wise Dan looks for a repeat in the Mile.
The Charles LoPresti trainee won five of six starts last year, including the Breeders’ Cup Mile, on his way to Horse of the Year honors. The gelding won his first five starts this year, but was upset by Silver Max in his last start in the Shadwell Turf Mile, which was washed off the turf due to rain and run over on the polytrack surface.
The loss snapped a nine-race win streak and could end up costing him this year’s Horse of the Year award if Game On Dude wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The six-year-old gelding is the 9-5 early betting favorite according to breederscupodds.net. His main rival could be the overseas invader Olympic Glory (9-2) who is coming to the U.S. off an impressive victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Fort Larned is the defending champion in the Classic
He is back looking for a repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic after pulling off the upset last year where he paid $20.80 for a $2 win wager. He is currently listed as the 5-1 second choice in early betting.
The Ian Wilkes trainee has won two of his five starts this year, last out taking the ungraded Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs. His other win was in the Stephen Foster Handicap, also run under the Twin Spires.
For a repeat, he is going to have to beat a stellar field that includes Game On Dude, who is undefeated in 2013, as well as Awesome Again Stakes winner Mucho Macho Man, who was second in last year’s Classic.
Royal Delta is looking fora three-peat in the Distaff
This mare is the queen of racing and has won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff the past two years when it was called the Ladies’ Classic. She is looking for a three-peat this year.
Standing in her way is the talented three-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar, who upset the champion in the Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park in their first meeting.
The Distaff drew the smallest field with just a field of six, but it is a talented group that also includes Zenyatta winner Beholder and Mother Goose winner Close Hatches.
Royal Delta is the early 9-5 betting favorite with Princess of Sylmar a close second at 2-1 on the betting line.
Groupie Doll seeks a repeat in the Filly & Mare Sprint
Groupie Doll had an outstanding 2012 campaign that included winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which was followed by a tough loss against the boys in the Cigar Mile.
She has made just three starts this year, winning the Presque Isle Masters on September 8 but coming up short in the Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland, her most recent outing where she finished second as the beaten favorite.
She is the 5-2 early betting favorite, but she has not been nearly as good this year. Her main rivals include Dance to Bristol (9-2), who has won seven of her nine starts this year, and Book Review (5-1), who was beaten by just a head by Dance to Bristol in her last outing in the Ballerina at Saratoga.
Little Mike is looking for a repeat in the Turf
Little Mike pulled off the upset in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, paying his backers $36.60 for a $2 win bet. He lost his next four starts and it did not appear as if he would be a factor in this year’s Turf.
However, he put in a big effort in his last start, winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park, paying $16.80, and the Dale Romans trainee looks back on track.
The gelding is currently the 5-1 third choice on the early betting line provided by breederscupodds.net.
The co-favorites on the betting line are the overseas invader The Fugue, a four-year-old filly who won the Irish Champion Stakes in Ireland, and Big Blue Kitten, who won the United Nations and Sword Dancer before coming up a nose short of catching Little Mike in his last outing.
Mizdirection beat the boys in last year's Turf Sprint.
The five-year-old mare takes on the boys again as she attempts to defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The mare is currently 4-1 on the early betting line.
She made a good late rally on the downhill turf course to pull off the mild upset in last year’s race, returning $15.80.
She was fifth in her last start in the one-mile Just a Game at Belmont Park over yielding footing. She likes her turf firm and is perfect in six trips over the Santa Anita Park turf course.
The race is wide open and includes several runners like Silver Max and Obviously that are cross-entered in other Breeders’ Cup races. Final entries come out on Monday.
Trinniberg seeks back-to-back wins in the Sprint.
The speedy Trinniberg won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint in an upset, paying $29.40, and took advantage of a racing strip that was favoring speed that day.
Since that win, the colt has come up empty in four starts including an 11th place finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
The colt is currently listed at 12-1 on the early betting line and will be up against it as he looks to repeat.
Last year’s Sprint runner-up The Lumber Guy (20-1) is back but also appears likely to be an outsider in this year’s wide-open race.
The early betting favorite is Pointsoffthebench, winner of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in his last outing, at odds of 4-1.
Beholder takes on older in the Distaff.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner is back this year, taking on older in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The filly has won four of her six starts this year, including winning the Zenyatta over the Santa Anita Park main track in her first start facing older foes.
The filly is trained by Richard Mandella, who won four Breeders’ Cup races at the 2003 edition. The filly is the 3-1 third choice on the early betting line behind Royal Delta (9-5) and Princess of Sylmar (2-1).
The filly has done her best running over the Santa Anita Park main track, winning five of her career starts over the surface.
Flotilla takes on the boys in the Mile
Flotilla makes another trip to the U.S., this time to take on the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Last year the filly came to the U.S. and pulled off the upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, returning $24.80 for the win.
The filly is listed at 15-1 on the early betting line at breederscupodds.net. She has won one of three starts this year, taking the French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp in May.
She is in a real tough spot this year, facing the likes of defending champion Wise Dan and fellow overseas invader Olympic Glory.