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Last week was much more geared for grass racing, with 5 of the 6 Grade 1 races on the turf. Notable performances included Point of Entry (Dynaformer) in the Sword Dancer (Grade 1), who showed that America has a top notch grass horse and Questing (Hard Spun) in the Alabama (Grade 1), who stamped herself as the top three-year old filly in the country.
There was only one race on the dirt that had a chance of Breeder’s Cup Classic implications, the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (Grade 3) at Monmouth Park. The race was won by San Pablo (Jump Start), who has only finished off the board once in 12 lifetime starts. Most of his races have been close to one mile, so he does not appear to be a Classic threat.
There was plenty of other news on the Classic scene last week. Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) and Preakness (Grade 1) runner-up Bodemeister (Empire Maker) was sent to Kentucky to Rood and Riddle for examination. His connections have not been happy with the way he has been training.
Champion Acclamation (Unusual Heat) will miss the chance to defend his Pacific Classic (Grade 1) crown with what his connections are calling a “mild strain.”
Trainer Charles Lopresti said that Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry) will start next in the Woodbine Mile on September 16. The trainer said he was leaning towards the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade 1) for his charge, but he has not ruled out sending the gelding out for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1).
This week brings about two $1 million dollar races that will have a direct impact on the Breeders’ Cup Classic, The Travers Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga on Saturday and the Pacific Classic (Grade 1) at Del Mar on Sunday.
The Travers will still boast a nice field despite the defection of Paynter (Awesome Again) last week. The field includes Champion Hansen (Tapit), Jim Dandy (Grade 2) Winner Alpha (Bernardini), and stakes winners Street Life (Street Sense), Neck ‘N Neck (Flower Alley), and Liaison (Indian Charlie).
The Travers is the premier race for three-year old colts in the country outside of the Triple Crown races. While Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) winners have had successes here (this bodes well for Hansen), no Travers winner has ever won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Out on the West Coast, the Pacific Classic will be headlined by Game On Dude (Awesome Again). The race took a big hit when defending champ Acclamation was declared out of the race last week, but the field will still include Grade 1 winners Jaycito (Victory Gallop), Richard’s Kid (Lemon Drop Kid), Rail Trip (Jump Start), and Dullahan (Even the Score) to go along with Game On Dude.
There has only been one horse to win the Pacific Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. That distinction goes to Pleasantly Perfect (Pleasant Colony) who won the Pacific Classic in 2004, the year after his Breeders’ Cup Classic victory.
Be sure to check my website, Talk Racing to Me on Friday for my race selections for the Travers and the Pacific Classic on Friday.
Top Ten Breeder’s Cup Classic Horses (Week 7)
1. Wise Dan
Trainer Charles Lopresti said he is heading to the Woodbine Mile on September 16.
2. Game On Dude
No Acclamation, No Problem. He will be the clear cut favorite for the Pacific Classic now.
3. Mucho Macho Man
The son of Macho Uno is working very well at Saratoga in preparation for the Woodward.
He is out of the Pacific Classic with a mild strain; no timetable has been set for his return.
He was supposed to be the headliner for the Travers, but instead he will be left in the barn.
Trainer Donnie Von Hemel has yet to name the next start for the Distorted Humor colt.
7. Ron the Greek
He will sit out the Woodward in favor of the Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 29.
Was sent to Rood and Riddle to evaluate his condition; hasn’t had a work since July 8.
9. Flat Out
Is looking to get back to his winning ways in the Woodward; was second there last year.
10. To Honor and Serve
It’s possible he will join his stablemate Flat Out in the Woodward next weekend at Saratoga.
Keep an eye on: Rail Trip, Richard’s Kid
8/25/12 – Travers Stakes (G1) (1 1/4 miles, Saratoga) $1,000,000
8/26/12 – Pacific Classic (G1) (1 1/4 miles, Del Mar) $1,000,000
Last Week’s Races
8/18/12 – Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) (1 1/8 miles, Monmouth Park) Winner: San Pablo
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.