Yesterday I gave an overview of two of the most exciting and contentious races that will take place on Ladies Day at the Breeders Cup. Today we move on to Saturday, Classic Day. Since there are so many races worth reviewing that day I will review only two races today. Over the next three weeks come back with two races every Saturday, except on Breeders Cup week, where I will review the races on Thursday. If you haven't guessed from the title, the races I will review to day are the Sprint and Mile. In these races we will see Goldikova try to repeat her "out of the clouds" stunner from last year, and see Zensational, Fatal Bullet, and Gayego slug it out in one of the most solid divisions of the year.
In the Breeders Cup Mile Goldikova who is to most probably the best miler in the world will return to defend her title. Goldikova is probably the best horse in the field, but her victory will not be a cakewalk. She will be facing Court Vision, Cowboy Cal, Montery Jazz, and Justenuffhumor from the American side and possibly another very good European horse in Mastercraftsman. Court Vision was looking to begin his four year old season with a bang off of a promising three year old year, but suffered some setbacks upon his return. He was then switched to trainer Rick Dutrow's barn, had some surgery and came back with a determined win in the Shadwell Turf Mile. Up until that race Justenuffhumor had been riding a six race winning streak. In the Breeders Cup Mile maybe with the firm ground that he will likely get at Santa Anita he will turn the tables on Court Vision.
Those that have prepped in California or are locals to that area are the speedy Monterey Jazz and Cowboy Cal. Monterey Jazz has only won one race of real importance this year, but in his last start he was not allowed to run his customary running style, and was strangled in to rating behind the victorious Cowboy Cal. The only race of real importance that he has won this year is the grade two American Handicap, but don't let him fool you into thinking he's over the hill because if he's allowed an easy lead while running his competition off their feet early he is very hard to reel back in. Cowboy Cal, who won his prep in the Oak Tree Mile was the one setting the pace up front and that style proved to be a winning strategy with a scorching hot time that has given him some extra merit. He will be another that the defending champ will have to reel in on her way to a repeat victory.
Mastercraftsman has be proving his metal over in Europe, but when you constantly run into a winning machine like Sea the Stars it's easy to fade into the background. He is a very consistent horse who has won three out of his six starts and ran off the board only once this year. Had Sea the Stars not been around this year he probably would've been one of the top Euros if not the top and running second to his retired rival is nothing to be ashamed of. This colt should give Goldikova a run for her money if our American horses prove to be no match.
Now let's switch gears and look at our possible Sprint contenders. This race is LOADED with talent as we see Vineyard Haven, Capt. Candyman Can, Gayego, Cost of Freedom, Zensational, and Fatal Bullet. Another thing I notice by looking at this potential field is the overflow of pure, raw speed. Fatal Bullet was a frontrunning second place to two time champion Midnight Lute in last year's edition of the Sprint. Zensational, the silver bullet that he is, loves nothing more than to break and run his competition off their feet and Cost of Freedom also has the potential to be right up on the pace with his early speed. The best of the speed, to my eye, is the recently unstoppable Zensational, but with the other two pressing him all the way around the track will he have enough to hold off a fast closing Gayego? This almost black four year old came back off a long layoff, while displaying a new closing running style, to run down his competition in the Grade one Ancient title. Others that could run well and close for a piece of the pie are Vineyard Haven and Capt. Candyman Can, but the big if is the Pro-Ride surface and if they can transfer their dirt form to the synthetic. If the answer to that question is a yes, then watch out.