For those who love to handicap and wanted to pick apart the upcoming Breeders Cup races, your tasks just got a whole lot easier, or did it? Pre-entries came out today and normally you would think that the establishment of what horse goes where would help a handicapper make some final decisions. This is not normal though, this is the Breeders Cup and these pre-entries will through some of you handicappers for a loop. http://www.bloodhorse.com/pdf/2009BreedersCupPreEntries.pdf
As you look through the list I'm sure more than one thing made your eye's pop. How about Girolamo having his first preference as the Breeders Cup Classic? Not only does that mess up every bit of my handicapping of the Classic, but the Dirt Mile also. Girolamo has never gone the 10 furlong distance required to run in the Classic, and was supposed to be one of Godolphin's best bets at winning the Dirt Mile. You would think after trouncing Kensei in the Jerome, a sprint race that Godolphin would prefer to enter their rising star in the Dirt Mile.
One thing I see as I look at the Dirt Mile that does please me is that Quality Road is cross entered in the Classic and Dirt Mile. I know that the Dirt Mile is his second choice, but there is some time for the connections to see the light and enter their record setting speedster in a race with less question marks and a better chance to win.
Farther down you will see Europe's Dar Re Mi cross entered in the both the Breeders Cup Turf and the Filly and Mare Turf. The surprise is that the Filly and Mare Turf is not her first choice and her connections have opted to take the higher road of entering the Breeders Cup Turf. In this race she will face Spanish Moon, Conduit, and Precious Passion, who represent a much tougher bunch than Pure Clan, Forever Together, and Magical Fantasy. Another surprise in the Breeders Cup Turf is that Summer Bird has chosen that race as his second preference. Now the distance may be more towards his style, but his turn of foot is nothing special, and his little experience over the turf hasn't gotten anyone riled up about his chances.
In the Juvenile William's Kitten has foregone the Juvenile Turf to try synthetics, and I for one am glad. A good little turf horse crossed onto the main track one day in the Sunday Silence stakes and absolutely freaked in the mud. Ever since his off the turf freakformance I have loved this colt and wished they would keep him on the main track. Well, it looks like I got my wish.
One thing that really caught my attention was the inclusion of Square Eddie in the Breeders Cup at all. Then what further surprised me is that the opted for the Turf Sprint as their first choice, turf? Before coming to the U.S. Square Eddie was a decent turf horse as well as a sprinter, but he hasn't race on the turf since he came to America, where he made his first start on polytrack. The second choice is the Breeders Cup Sprint, and when you look at the quality of that field it makes it easier to maybe see why, a possibly, short Square Eddie would seek out the Turf Sprint.
Lastly, one of the biggest surprises to me came upon seeing Zenyatta's first preference, the actual Breeders Cup Classic, with her second being the Ladies Classic. In the Classic Zenyatta will be facing males for the first time and trying the distance of 10 furlongs for the first time. Though the Classic has a much better field than the Ladies Classic, the filly race would still have been the best field Zenyatta has ever faced. I still say her connections ditch out last second and enter her in the Ladies Classic, since their track record has been to go with the softer competition, in an attempt to keep their super star unbeaten.
So, what are your thoughts and opinions now that you have viewed the pre-entries? Are you surprised or did you expect some of these happenings?