No stakes on tap in the mid-Atlantic this weekend, but of course, it’s a major racing weekend at Santa Anita. Midlantic-breds are in seven of the races, and we’ve added mini-previews of two others: the Filly and Mare Sprint, because of local heroine Dance to Bristol and the Classic, because, well, just because.
|SA||G2 Breeders' Cup Marathon||16:45||If Breeders' Cup Ltd. wants to make this race work, it'll need to make the purse commensurate with the other championship races on the card. Regardless, it's drawn a pretty wide open group of 10 with a tepid 7-2 favorite, Ever Rider, a group 2 winner in Argentina, making his first start in the US. Virginia-bred Blueskiesnrainbows (6-1) will look to do what he does best -- gun for the lead. But he may not have things his own way, as others, notably Commander (6-1), also figure to be on the engine. The second, third, and fourth finishers from September's G3 Greenwood Cup -- Indian Jones (5-1), Pool Play (8-1), and Suns Out Guns Out (10-1), respectively, are all here, too.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf||17:45||Raise your hands if you thought you'd ever see Aidan O'Brien training a West Virginia-bred. Anyone? Yet 7-2 Giovanni Boldini fits the bill, and the son of War Front owns two wins in three starts, with a credible third in G1 company. One of the ubiquitious Kittens -- Bobby's Kitten -- is the 5-2 favorite here, and why not off a smashing six length win in the G3 Pilgrim. British invader Outstrip looks the part and is a G2 winner. G2 With Anticipation winner Bashart -- his form perhaps darkened with a second in an off-the-turf Bourbon -- is 6-1, and doesn't Irish invader Shamshon, an impressive Deauville stake winner, deserve a longer look than his 12-1 odds suggest?|
|SA||G1Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf||18:50||Pennsylvania-bred Street Sailing is a longshot here at 15-1 and surely deserves to be, but she took a major step forward in her turf debut -- also her route debut -- winning like a good thing over Keeneland allowance foes. French invader Vorda gets a slight favoritism nod, at 4-1, and off a G1 turf win at Newmarket, she deserves it; rider Peslier is here for this mount only, and this one figures to play a major role. Though hampered by the 14-hole, G1 Alcibiades winner My Conquestadory (9-2) figures to attract some interest as well and could easily end up as the chalk. Chriselliam reportedly has trained up a storm at the track. For all that, a whole bunch of these can make a strong case, and upset possibilities abound.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Distaff||19:35||Pennsylvania-bred Princess of Sylmar, 9-5 here, has a chance to put the exclamation point on a fabulous season here with a win. A win would also enable her to avenge the only defeat of her season, when second to Close Hatches (6-1) in the Gazelle. Defending champ Royal Delta is back and 8-5 to secure a threepeat in this event, but she had no answers for the Princess in their September meeting at Belmont. In this compact field of six, only Street Girl looks like an outsider, though, with 5-2 Beholder -- second to Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks and never worse than second on conventional dirt -- and Authenticity (8-1), a G2 winner who's been second in three G1 events, also possessing a square chance.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint||16:21||Local heroine Dance to Bristol (5-1) is the second fave here in a wide-open event and enters off an impressive five-furlong breeze to close out her major training. Rider Xavier Perez, mired in an awful slump at Laurel, remains aboard a horse he's steered to seven wins in eight tries. Defending champ Groupie Doll (5-2) is the a.m. favorite and figures to go off that way, but she's clearly not the horse she was a year ago, having lost two of three starts to date. It's a field of 12, and there are a lot of ways to go. Book Review (6-1) loves the 7-furlong distance, has a win here, and finished just a head behind Dance to Bristol in the Ballerina. Judy the Beauty (6-1) ran a bunch of good races before finally taking the measure of top foes, winning the G2 TCA over Groupie Doll in her last. G1 Test winner Sweet Lulu figures to appreciate the cutback to a long sprint after running well - but not well enough -- in the Cotillion.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint||17:05||Maryland-bred Havelock was nowhere in this race two years ago but returns to it after an ultra-impressive rallying score against G3 foes in the Woodford at Keeneland. He'll need his running shoes here, but at 10-1, can you resist? Defending champ Mizdirection gets the nod as the lukiest of lukewarm favorites, at 4-1. A filly taking on the boys, she's won all five of her tries on the quirkiest of American turf courses, the downhill 6 1/2 furlong Santa Anita track. Experience -- and success -- on the downhill turf are definite positives, so it's no surprise that five of the runners from the G3 Eddie D., including the top four, are here. Chips All In (5-1) took the measure of his foes that day, and Unbridled's Note (8-1), Boat Trip (8-1), and Rock Me Baby (30-1) all own wins on the strip -- as does Caracortado (8-1), whose return, in that race, from a 20-month layoff was perfectly credible.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile||17:43||It took Virginia-bred Bond Holder (6-1) five tries to break his maiden -- but he did it in his first try on dirt in the G1 Front Runner on this strip, making the son of Mineshaft one of just three to own a win at the 1 1/16 mile distance and the only one to do so here. Havana is the 5-2 favorite here after a very game score in the G1 Champagne in which he did all the early work, then had just enough to hold off Honor Code late -- and in a race that may not have a ton of early speed, those traits could serve well. Dance With Fate (8-1), the place horse in the Front Runner, will try his luck again, and there's no reason he can't move forward. Baffert trainee Tap It Rich (8-1) figures to get some play off an impressive maiden score here. G1 Hopeful winner Strong Mandate (6-1) will try to bounce back after a no-account effort in the Champagne. And though the figs are light, Cleburne (12-1) is two-for-two, and a bunch of his vanquished Iroquois rivals have run well since, including easy Jean Laffite winner Rise Up.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Turf||18:22||Pennsylvania-bred Real Solution (8-1) keeps running good races, but the only time he won this year, in the G1 Arlington Million, came via disqualification. He'll need to be atop his game, and even that might not be enough in a field full of capable turf stars. British filly The Fugue is the 3-1 favorite, and off a dominating win against the boys in the G1 Irish Champion Stakes, she figures to have a say in this one. Irish-bred Magician, a three year-old son of Galileo, is 8-1 here and was an impressive winner of the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas before a rough outing in his next. On best, he's a player here. But US-based stars will have something to say, too. Defending champ Little Mike (6-1) is back, seems to be rounding into form, and with a newfound ability to rate, deserves a long look. All Point of Entry (4-1) has done this year is win both his starts, in Grade 1 company, decisively -- but he's been away since early June after suffering a fracture. Outside of his one bad showing, in the Arlington Million, Indy Point (9-2) has done nothing but run good races, and he bounced back from that one to win over this strip. Big Blue Kitten (6-1) has had a strong season, with a pair of G1 wins and a recent second, by a nose to Little Mike, in another G1 event.|
|SA||G1 Breeders' Cup Classic||20:35||This feels like a race that runs through just a few horses: favorite Game On Dude (8-5), whose only off-color effort in the last year-plus came in this event last year and who is 7-for-8 on the Santa Anita main track; defending champ Fort Larned (6-1), whose in-and-out form this year makes him a bit of a cipher but who is capable of great things; and Mucho Macho Man (5-1), who ran second here a year ago and who enters here off an easy win on the strip. Outside of them? Aidan O'Brien trainee Declaration of War (10-1) is a terrific turfer, and if he can take that form onto the main track, he's live here. And improving three year-old Will Take Charge (12-1) enters off back-to-back scores.|
Good luck this weekend!