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It was upsets galore on the Breeders’ Cup Classic trail over the weekend.
In the Whitney (Grade 1), it was Fort Larned (E Dubai) pulling the upset. He settled in nicely in third after the start behind pacesetters Endorsement (Distorted Humor) and Trickmeister (Proud Citizen). He easily went by those two on the far turn and had a nice lead entering the stretch and easily held off impressive rallies from Bill Mott trainees Ron the Greek (Full Mandate) and Flat Out (Flatter) who both came from the back of the pack.
It appears that the top four finishers from this race will go on to contest in the Woodward Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga on September 1.
The West Virginia Derby (Grade 2) was supposed to be easy pickings for Champion Hansen (Tapit), but in a weekend full of upsets, it wasn’t to be for the blue tailed star. (His owner has attempted to dye his horse’s blue several times this year for races, and he was finally allowed to do so here.) As expected, the Champ took an early lead, but he was pressed very hard the whole way by Hero of Order (Sharp Humor). Hansen fought off that rival, but tired and was passed in deep stretch by three challengers. The winner ended up being Macho Macho (Macho Uno).
In other Classic news this week, Successful Dan (Successful Appeal) will undergo surgery and will miss the rest of the year.
This week there are not any traditional preps for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but there’s no shortage of horses running that are in the Classic picture.
Most notably is Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry) running in the Fourstardave Stakes (Grade 2) at Saratoga. He suffered his first defeat since last October in a narrow loss the Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster (Grade 1) on June 16. The Fourstardave has a nice field that could include Grade 1 winners Data Link (War Front) and Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic)., so it won’t be easy for Wise Dan. He will be switching back to the turf for this race for the first time since a defeat in the Shadwell Turf Mile (Grade 1) at Keeneland on October 8.
Wise Dan will try to lift the spirits of his connections, who lost his half- brother, Successful Dan, for the season last week. The other big horse running this weekend is Graded Stakes winner Alternation (Distorted Humor) in the Governor’s Cup at Remington Park. Alternation, like Wise Dan, suffered his first loss of the year in the Stephen Foster (Grade 1). The Donnie Von Hemel trainee is looking to pick up his fifth win in six starts this season.
Top Ten Breeder’s Cup Classic Horses (Week 4)
1. Wise Dan
He’s making his first start since June on Saturday in the Fourstardave at old Saratoga.
2. Game On Dude
His showdown with Acclamation in the Pacific Classic has many racing experts drooling.
3. Mucho Macho Man
Did not run in the Whitney last week as many thought he would, no word yet on his next start.
He won the Pacific Classic last year, it’s shaping up to be a much tougher test this time.
Spiked a fever after his Haskell win, putting a possible start in the historic Travers in doubt.
Has not had a published workout in almost a month, did that fever take too much out of him?
7. Ron the Greek
He ran a great race in the Whitney, despite fanning seven wide heading into the lane.
He’s looking to pick up his fifth win of the year this weekend in the Governor’s Cup.
9. Flat Out
He ran very well in the Whitney; is he rounding back into the same form he had last year?
10. To Honor and Serve
It is still unclear when the son of Bernardini will run next; his last start was on July 7.
Keep an eye on: Rail Trip, Richard’s Kid
Dropped from the list: Successful Dan
8/11/12 – Fourstardave Stakes (G2) (1 mile Turf, Saratoga) $500,000
8/11/12 – Governor’s Cup Stakes (1 1/8 miles, Remington Park) $200,000
Last Week’s Races:
8/4/12 – West Virginia Derby (G2) (1 1/8 miles, Mountaineer) Winner: Macho Macho
8/4/12 – Whitney Invitational (G1) (1 1/8 miles, Saratoga) Winner: Fort Larned
Seth Kochera is a graduate of Georgetown College, working in the horse industry. He studies bloodlines and racing performance and shares his knowledge with KyForward readers. He’ll be following the road to the Triple Crown. His email is email@example.com.