Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breeders' Cup pre-entries include two from tips

After much anticipation, the pre-entries for the 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs were finalized on Monday released on Wednesday -- a record 184 horses nominated to 14 races.

Among the 61 pre-entries by the connections of juveniles, five horses were cross-entered on both dirt and turf, meaning 56 horses were submitted for the draw. Two of those were members of my sales-tip Class of 2010: Delightful Mary (Limehouse-Deputy's Delight, by French Deputy) and Rough Sailing (Mizzen Mast-Moussica, by Woodman).

More about them later.

There were 18 entries for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, 13 for the Juvenile Fillies on the main track, a sparse 11 pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and 19 for the male division of the Juvenile Turf. Horses can be cross-entered in two races on pre-entry day, but by Tuesday (Nov. 2), connections must have made a final decision on which race they're running and pay the final entry fees at that time.

The pre-entry story at states that each of the 14 races is limited to 14 starters, plus up to two on the also-eligible list. This is contradictory to the "pre-entry procedures" and rules as detailed elsewhere on the site, which make provisions for some races of only 12 horses and flatly state under Entry Procedures: "There will be no also-eligible list or scratch time." (If needs a copyeditor and fact-checker, I happen to know -- and be -- one who is unemployed.)

Owners Darrell & Evelyn Yates and trainer Wayne Catalano, connections of Jordy Y, who is No. 4 in order of mention (is that entry preference?) on the linked list above in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, would rather she run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she's fifth on the list and will surely get in. Andrew Rosen's Theyskens' Theory, trained by Brian Meehan, also was cross-entered in the Juvenile Fillies (first preference of her connections, last of 13 in draw-priority) and the Juvenile Fillies Turf (second choice of her connections, 15th in preference for making the draw).

Among males, Robert Teel's and Wes Ward's Madman Diaries was entered with first-preference in the Juvenile Turf, where he ranks fifth among all entries. He stands eighth of 11 for admission to the rather lightly subscribed Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Two Juvenile Turf entries are also subscribed as first-preference to the Juvenile; Catesby Clay's Rogue Romance (second on the turf list and ninth among dirt entries), who is trained by Kenny McPeek, and Italian Gran Criterium-G1 winner Biondetti (12th in the turf and 10th of 11 on dirt), who is owned by Godolphin and trained by Mahmoud Al Zarooni.

Delightful Mary -- whom I tipped on this blog as a live (and likely expensive) sales prospect before she became the $500,000 sales-topper at OBSAPR -- is 11th of 13 in entry-ranking among entries in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and will make the field if healthy to go. She gives every indication of being ready, firing a minute-flat bullet for five furlongs on Monday over the Churchill strip, fastest of 32 at the distance.

The John Oxley-owned, Mark Casse trained Limehouse filly collected two easy wins over Polytrack at Woodbine -- one sprinting and one in allowance company around two turns -- before being upset as the odds-on favorite by Wyomia in the Mazarine Breeders' Cup S.-G3 her last out.

Owners Edward A. Seltzer and Beverly Anderson and trainer Daniel J. Vella -- connections of Wyomia -- shockingly to me did not enter the Vindication filly in the Juvenile Fillies, opting instead for the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She sits 16th on the entry list, but will sneak into the 14-starter gate if both Jordy Y and Theyskens' Theory go in the Juvenile Fillies as their entry preferences suggest.

I think Delightful Mary looks sharp going into the race and has every reason to both move up on the switch from Polytrack to real dirt, and to handle an off-track if one is presented.

The other sales-tip to make racing's marquee day is Rough Sailing, who stands eighth in admission preference among pre-entries for the Juvenile Turf; seventh if you consider Rogue Romance's likely defection to the dirt division. I'm glad to see the colt owned by Jack Smith III and trained by Michael Stidham headed back to the grass, the surface on which he convincingly (with a huge late kick, despite a troubled trip) broke his maiden going two turns at Arlington Park.

Rough Sailing is a gutsy horse and battled his way to a place-finish behind Major Gain (also nominated to the Juvenile Turf) on Polytrack in the Arlington-Washington Futurity-G3. But his third race was a step up to Grade 1 company on Keeneland's Poly in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity, a race in which he again had some trouble, but kept grinding in the stretch to finish sixth, beaten 10.

Jockey Michael Baze has said that he thinks Rough Sailing has a better closing kick on the lawn, so while the Juvenile Turf is more heavily subscribed, I'd rather see him go back to grass than try a new surface again, the dirt this time. (Maybe later.)

I had Rough Sailing categorized as a "Priority 1" on a 48-horse short-list for a client seeking bargain runners out of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training this May. After seeing him up-close, I didn't expect him to stay in our price range -- and he didn't -- but at a price of $40,000, he still sold for nearly 20 percent less than the average horse at that auction.

While it will be exciting to watch those two on one of racing's biggest weekends, the pre-entries were a little disappointing to me. I had hoped for potentially two or three more horses from my sales-tips to be among the pre-entries.

RIGOLETTA -- a 33/1 upsetter of Juvenile Fillies third-ranked Tell a Kelly when they met in the Oak Leaf S.-G1 at Hollywood Park -- was a lock to make the field for the B.C., but would have to be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup at a cost of $180,000. Sealing her non-entry was a recent announcement by trainer Dan Hendricks declaring the Thor-Bred Stable-owned filly out of the Breeders' Cup with a minor splint injury.

Hendricks said he wanted to be sure Rigoletta was ready for the winter/spring season at Santa Anita (over a brand-new dirt track that I think moves her up vs. synthetics). Curiously -- unless the fee was paid prior to discovery of her injury -- Rigoletta was among the nominations announced this week for the $500,000 Delta Princess S.-G3 to be run at Delta Downs on Nov. 20.

Also on that whopping, 117-filly Delta Princess nominee list are sales-tips FISCAL POLICY and Rigoletta's fellow Cal-shipper and maiden-winner-only Benecia.

Another filly I had fully expected to be pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup -- and probably cross-entered in the Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Fillies Turf -- was the Bob Baffert-trained, Jill Baffert-owned Alienation. A debut winner on grass (in fleet time and a thrilling photo) and G1/G2-placed on dirt at Saratoga, she flopped after breaking awkwardly on synthetic in that Oak Leaf Stakes won by Rigoletta. I'm not sure the speedball daughter of Rock Hard Ten needed to be in the Juvenile Fillies, going a mile and a sixteenth on dirt (though I think she'll eventually stay a route of ground if they can get her to rate), but I would have liked to see her incredible early foot employed in trying to steal the Juvenile Fillies Turf on the front end.

Alienation, whom I tipped out of OBSAPR and has earned $104,000 off a $60,000 purchase, was nominated two weeks ago (after her Oak Leaf also-ran) for the Pocahontas S.-G2 at a mile on the main track at Churchill this weekend. Those entries haven't been drawn-up yet, and I'm curious to see if Alienation is among them or whether the Bafferts have decided to rest her a spell. Fiscal Policy happens to be nominated to the Pocahontas, as well.

Finally, I thought there was a chance GOURMET DINNER might make the Breeders' Cup at Churchill. The $40,000 sales-tip of mine out of OBSAPR's first session was 3-for-3 with two stakes wins and seemed a possibility to follow filly Awesome Feather into the Breeders' Cup as undefeated queen and king of the Florida Stallion Series of restricted races at Calder.

Then he was upset in the third leg of the series, the $350,000 In Reality Stakes, by $94 shocker REPRIZED HALO -- yet another OBSAPR sales tip of mine, who sold a day after Gourmet Dinner for a paltry $23,000. That certainly derailed any designs the connections had on an unbeaten, championship season for Gourmet Dinner. Though looking at the small group of nominees -- 11 juvenile males, one of which is already pointed to the turf instead and including a couple who probably can't get the distance -- it still might have been worth a shot.

Instead, both Gourmet Dinner and Reprized Halo are among the incredible 241 horses nominated to the $1 million Delta Jackpot, also on Nov. 20 at Delta Downs. Also included in that vast list of nominees is 2010 sales-tip Category Killer, whose two races thus far include a five-length runner-up finish to now stakes-winning sales tip PULGARCITO in their mutual debut at Hoosier Park, and a return to the scene of that "sales-tip exacta" for a 15-plus-length maiden-special romp on Sept. 30.

Category Killer fired a 36-flat bullet at Churchill Tuesday and is also nominated to the $100,000 Iroquois S.-G3 to be run at that track on Sunday. Plus, he's listed as an entry on the overnights for a Saturday evening allowance event at Delta Downs. Busy little fellow.

With the addition of stakes-placer Spring Jump on Wednesday, the list of 2010 sales-tip stakes horses has reached a dozen. In addition to those mentioned, stakes placers include still-a-maiden Rockin Heat (second in G3s on turf and Poly at Woodbine), G3-placed Stopspendingmaria and non-blacktype stakes-placed Blue 'Em Away.

Follow the entire sales-tip Class of 2010 in the list at the end of this link.

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