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Homeracing

California Chrome, Beholder, Flintshire, Runhappy to prep Saturday for Breeders’ Cup

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

September 25th, 2016

When the Breeders’ Cup preps kick into high gear next weekend, a murderers’ row will take to the tracks on both coasts and the Bluegrass State. Consider this as an appetizer, or a tease, of Saturday’s coming attractions.

SANTA ANITA

Santa Anita will host two of the most popular champions in training in California Chrome and Beholder, the respective winner and distant second in the Pacific Classic (G1) who are going their separate ways. California Chrome tops the charts in the 1 1/8-mile Awesome Again, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The 2014 Horse of the Year has already earned his way in by virtue of the Pacific Classic, so this is more along the lines of giving him something to do ahead of November 5.

Beholder reverts to her own division for the Zenyatta (G1), and the three-time defending champion bids to win the trophy for an incredible fourth straight year. Stellar Wind, last seen upsetting Beholder in the July 30 Clement L. Hirsch (G1), will try to dethrone her in this 1 1/16-mile “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Both Challenge races take on added salience this fall, with the Breeders’ Cup returning to Santa Anita.

Three other Breeders’ Cup Challenge races are on tap at The Great Race Place on Saturday. Del Mar Futurity (G1) hero Klimt is expected to stretch out for the FrontRunner (G1), a track-and-trip “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). According to Santa Anita publicity in last Friday’s notes, Midnight Pleasure and Plum Dandy are also probable. I’m not sure why Straight Fire wasn’t explicitly mentioned, but he did just breeze on Saturday, and all being well, he should advance there.

American Cleopatra is set to star in the companion Chandelier (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) over the same 1 1/16-mile distance. Champagne Room, turfiste With Honors, and Zapperkat were others named by Santa Anita as possible starters.

The Rodeo Drive (G1) serves as a “Win and You’re In” over the 1 1/4 miles of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Track officials believe Real Smart, Zipessa, AvengeMajestic Heat, and Frenzified are all in the mix.

BELMONT PARK

On the East Coast at Belmont Park, NYRA bills its card as the first “Super Saturday,” but in truth, the star power is primarily concentrated in the form of Flintshire.

The Juddmonte celebrity will be heavily favored to add the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) to his win skein. The 1 1/2-mile test is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), but as with “Chrome” in the Classic, Flintshire already owns a Turf spot thanks to his recent title defense in the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1). Fellow Chad Brown trainee Money Multiplier will try his stablemate again, and NYRA publicity also lists Ectot, Grand Tito, and the venerable Twilight Eclipse.

A.P. Indian aims to keep a similar streak alive in the Vosburgh (G1), a six-furlong “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Like Flintshire and Chrome. A.P. Indian is already “in” after his most recent victory in the Forego (G1). Perhaps the main danger to the East’s leading speedster is X Y Jet, who’s been sidelined since his heroic near-miss in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on World Cup night. Joking, Holy Boss, Requite, and Weekend Hideaway are others deemed likely, while Stallwalkin' Dude and Favorite Tale are possible.

Belmont’s three remaining graded stakes on Saturday have Breeders’ Cup implications without being Challenge races.

Reigning Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Wavell Avenue will line up in the Gallant Bloom (G2), which is expected to draw Stonetastic, Lucy N Ethel, Hot City Girl, Paulassilverlining, Fusaichi Red, Wonder Gal, and Quezon.

The projected cast for the 1 1/8-mile Beldame (G1) includes Forever Unbridled, Off the Tracks, Paola Queen, Penwith, Tiger Ride, Going for Broke, and Rachel's Temper. Although the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) isn’t likely to be found here, some can burnish their credentials, and you could see this having some bearing on the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) as well.

The 1 1/16-mile Pilgrim (G3) figures to yield a contender (or a few) for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Jaw-dropping Saratoga maiden winner Oscar Performance, J.S. Choice, Frostmourne, the filly JoustOiseau De Guerre, Berks County, and Bird's Eye View are in the frame.

CHURCHILL DOWNS

The Ack Ack H. (G3) marks the comeback of Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion Runhappy, who hasn’t raced since putting a bow on his Eclipse Award in last December’s Malibu (G1). This one-turn mile is designed to be his tightener for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

Dirt Mile/Classic candidate Bradester is using the 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic as his warm-up for Santa Anita. Churchill Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork names his potential rivals as Breaking Lucky, Noble Bird, Bullards Alley, Hawaakom, Honorable Duty, and Rocket Time.

GULFSTREAM PARK

Not to be overlooked on this overloaded Saturday is the Gulfstream Park program, featuring the Florida Sire Stakes.

Unbeaten colt Three Rules, who has won his four starts by a total margin of 21 lengths, can complete a series sweep in the In Reality. Cajun Delta Dawn, who’s had to work harder for her perfect 4-0 mark, goes for the fillies’ sweep in the My Dear Girl.

Logo courtesy of Breeders' Cup Ltd.

Flintshire photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography.

 

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