Winners and losers from this past weekend at Santa Anita
The 2016 Breeders' Cup is just a few weeks away, and while the cards this past weekend were not as strong as the previous Saturday's, several races had implications for next month's world championships at "The Great Race Place."
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) was the only event that offered up a "Win & You're In" spot, but some other connections will likely be using the City of Hope (G2), the L.A. Woman (G3) and Monday's two-year-old turf stakes, the Surfer Girl and the Zuma Beach, as springboards to taking a chance on November 4-5.
Here is a look at what I consider the "Winners" and "Losers" from the past weekend at Santa Anita:
Lord Nelson - The four-year-old son of Pulpit remained unbeaten in 2016 including three straight Grade 1 victories with a 2 1/2-length score in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The Spendthrift Farm colt has earned $579,000 this year in four starts and will certainly be one of the favorites in the TwinSpires.com Sprint (G1) on November 5. In post-race commentary, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert exuded confidence declaring, "The Sprint is a difficult race to win, but if you have the right kind of horse you can do it, and so far, Lord Nelson looks like the right kind of horse."
All Run - The Flower Alley gelding broke sharply and set the pace from the rail in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Despite not having enough late to hold off Lord Nelson, he ran a valiant second at odds of 23-1. He'll likely be overmatched in the Sprint, but it remains to be seen whether trainer Richard Baltas will give it a shot in the Breeders' Cup next month.
Vyjack - The six-year-old gelding took advantage of a three-horse duel in the City of Hope Mile on Saturday and rallied late under Flavien Prat to set a course record for a mile over the Santa Anita turf. Before the victory, trainer Phil D'Amato was pointing the son of Into Mischief towards the Dirt Mile (G1), but after the monster effort he will consider the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) as well. Regardless of his decision, Vyjack is doing very well for his new barn and is one to consider next month.
Gloryzapper - The four-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper rebounded from an eighth-place finish over the turf in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar to capture the L.A. Woman on Sunday. The Phil D'Amato filly once again illustrated a ton of heart in the stretch in fighting off three rivals late. After the win, D'Amato said the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) was a possibility. If she gives it a shot she will need to move forward quite a bit to contend with the best in the division.
Miss Southern Miss - The Keith Desormeaux trainee illustrated a strong turn of foot in her first try over the turf with a last-to-first move in Monday's $100,000 Surfer Girl. After a disappointing fifth place effort in the Del Mar Debutante, the highly regarded daughter of More Than Ready has the Desormeaux brothers excited for a likely start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Big Score - After a dominating win in Monday's Zuma Beach, trainer Tim Yakteen has his sights set on the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). This Mr. Big colt has done little wrong in three starts with two wins and a runner-up effort in last month's Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He will have to contend with Oscar Performance and Good Samaritan, among others, but his success over the course and the presence of Southern California's best turf rider Flavien Prat give him an outside chance to get Yakteen his first ever Breeders' Cup win.
Jazzy Times - After a huge effort against optional claimers at Del Mar this summer and two bullet works in preparation for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, hopes were high for the Zayat Stables colt. However, he was beaten to the lead by All Run and had little left late. With Drefong and Lord Nelson already among the top contenders for the Sprint, it is likely the poor performance will keep the three-year-old out of the Breeders' Cup. Even if he gets in and decides to run, he is an outsider in one of the strongest fields in some time.
Luminance - The Kaleem Shah-owned filly was made the even-money favorite in Sunday's L.A. Woman, but broke a bit slowly and was never able to get by the top three finishers in the 6 1/2-furlong event. The daughter of Tale of the Cat has still yet to hit the wire first against stakes competition and has only won once since February of 2015. It is unclear where Bob Baffert will go next with her, but she appears overmatched in the seven-furlong Filly and Mare Sprint.
Con Te Partiro - The 9-5-favorite in the Surfer Girl, she had a brutal trip in her first start at two turns for trainer Wesley Ward. The Scat Daddy filly shipped in from Keeneland after a 5 1/2-length win against stakes company at 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga this summer. She was unlikely to beat Miss Southern Miss, but she certainly never got a fair chance to run due to traffic trouble.