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Horse slaughter in Illinois
National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.
|October 17, 2007
Contact: Jim Gluckson at 646-335-6835
STREET SENSE, CURLIN, ANY GIVEN SATURDAY, LAWYER RON IN BATTLE FOR HORSE OF THE YEAR AS 141 HORSES ARE PRE-ENTERED FOR BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
A Horse of the Year showdown looms in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge as Kentucky Derby winner STREET SENSE, Preakness and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner CURLIN, Haskell winner ANY GIVEN SATURDAY and Whitney and Woodward winner LAWYER RON, top 141 horses that have been pre-entered for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Friday and Saturday, October 26 and 27, at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.
The Classic is the final race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which for the first time has been expanded to two days. With 11 Championships races and $23 million in total purses, this year’s Breeders’ Cup is the world’s richest sporting event. The Breeders’ Cup will begin on Friday (ESPN2, 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET), and features three new $1 million races. It continues on Saturday (ESPN 12:00-7:00 p.m. ET) with the remaining eight races. For the first time, the Breeders’ Cup races will also be shown on the Web at www.breederscup.com; and will be broadcast nationally on the HRRN radio network.
In addition to the new two-day format, this year’s Breeders’ Cup features horses that received automatic starting positions through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series of 24 qualifying races held from July to October at six of America’s premier racetracks.
The nine-horse field pre-entered for the Classic, at 1 1/4 miles for 3-year-olds and up, is one of the most talented in the 24-year history of the event, rivaling the 1998 Classic which featured Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, and Belmont Stakes winners Touch Gold, Victory Gallop and that season’s eventual Horse of the Year, Skip Away.
James Tafel’s Street Sense became the first Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to capture the Kentucky Derby. A 3-year-old son of Street Cry, trained by Carl Nafzger and ridden by Calvin Borel, Street Sense’s Derby win broke the “Juvenile Jinx.” Another Classic pre-entrant, HARD SPUN, was second in the Derby, followed by Curlin. Street Sense, Curlin and Hard Spun squared off again in the Preakness with Curlin prevailing by a head over Street Sense, and Hard Spun finishing third. Street Sense returned in the summer at Saratoga to capture both the Jim Dandy Stakes and the Travers. He was second in his most recent start to Hard Spun in the Kentucky Cup Classic.
Following a second place finish to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes, Curlin, owned by Jess Jackson and partners and trained by Steve Asmussen, finished third in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, but rebounded by defeating older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in September.
Curlin’s Gold Cup win came at the expense of the 4-year-old Lawyer Ron, the leading older horse in Thoroughbred racing this year. Owned by the Estate of James T. Hines and Stonewall Stallions Racing, Lawyer Ron is trained by three-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who has pre-entered 15 horses for this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Lawyer Ron has won four times in seven starts this year. He became the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge winner to earn an automatic qualifying berth into the Classic when he captured the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. He followed that victory with an 8 ¼ length romp in the grade I Woodward at Saratoga.
Pletcher’s other starter in the Classic is WinStar Farms and Padua Stable’s 3-year-old Any Given Saturday, who has come on strongly in the second half of the year, following an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, during which he sustained a foot bruise. Coming back in July, Any Given Saturday was a different horse, reeling off victories in the Dwyer at Belmont, the Haskell at Monmouth and the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park. A victory in the Classic by Street Sense, Curlin, Lawyer Ron or Any Given Saturday would likely earn the winner the Horse of the Year title.
Other talented starters pre-entered for the Classic include the Swaps Stakes and Goodwood Handicap winner TIAGO, the Goodwood runner-up AWESOME GEM, and DIAMOND STRIPES, winner of the Meadowlands Cup. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has pre-entered the 4-year-old GEORGE WASHINGTON (IRE), one of 20 horses from Europe pre-entered for this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
O’Brien is also bringing over the top horse in Europe this year, the 4-year-old DYLAN THOMAS, for Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. Dylan Thomas, pre-entered for the $3 million John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf, has won five Group 1 races this year, racking up wins in the Prix Ganay in France, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Irish Champion Stakes and, most recently, Europe’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. His main rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles are James Scatuorchio’s 4-year-old ENGLISH CHANNEL, winner of the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont earlier this month; and two former champions, RED ROCKS (IRE), last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, and Bushwood Stables’ BETTER TALK NOW, the 2004 Turf winner.
The outstanding filly coming in to this year’s Breeders’ Cup is the undefeated 4-year-old star from California, NASHOBA’S KEY. Owned by Warren Williamson, trained by Carla Gaines and ridden by 17-year-old Joe Talamo, Nashoba’s Key is pre-entered in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles. Seven for seven lifetime, Nashoba’s Key has won on both the main track and turf this year, most recently capturing the grade I Yellow Ribbon at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. She will be challenged in the Filly & Mare Turf by the Pletcher trained 6-year-old mare Honey Ryder, second to stablemate English Channel in the United Nations, and the 4-year-old Wait a While, who was last year’s 3-year-old Filly Champion.
The two-year-olds open Breeders’ Cup Saturday with the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, both at 1 1/16 miles. Trainer Bob Baffert has a strong hand in the Juvenile Fillies with Hal Earnhardt’s INDIAN BLESSING, winner of the grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park, and Stetson Land and Cattle’s CRY AND CATCH ME, winner of the grade I Oak Leaf at Santa Anita.
Trainer Nick Zito seeks his first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win with the front running WAR PASS, winner of the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. War Pass will face a strong challenge from another unbeaten colt in Ashbrook Farm’s WICKED STYLE, who came from the outside post position to win the grade I Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
The $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint is led by three California-based stars, the 6-year-old Greg’s Gold, winner of the Pat O’Brien Handicap at Del Mar; Harry Aleo’s SMOKEY STOVER, a five time winner this year and the Bob Baffert-trained MIDNIGHT LUTE, who won the Forego at Saratoga.
The $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile features the O’Brien trained EXCELLENT ART (GB), winner of the St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot; the 4-year-old AFTER MARKET, who won four graded stakes in California; and the emerging 3-year-old NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ, who won three consecutive grass races this summer for trainer Barclay Tagg.
The $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff is a wide open affair led by two Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners: the Pletcher trained PANTY RAID, winner of the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland and Stronach Stable’s GINGER PUNCH, winner of the Go for Wand Stakes at Saratoga.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf begins Breeders’ Cup Friday. The one-mile grass race is led by Bourbon Stakes winner GIO PONTI for trainer Christophe Clement. The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint features DREAM RUSH, who captured the Test Stakes at Saratoga. The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is led by Godolphin Stable’s DISCREET CAT, winner of last year’s Cigar Mile, and Centennial Farm’s CORINTHIAN, who won the grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont in the spring.
Pre-entered fields appear on the pages in the accompanying pdf attachment. In races that are oversubscribed (more than 14 horses pre-entered or more than 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) the fields are assembled as follows: 1) Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners. 2) Top American Graded Stakes Points earners. 3) Once a total of seven horses have been counted from the Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners and the Points earners, the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel selects the next seven horses. The panel has also ranked all horses not selected into the body of a field in preference order. (In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the first six horses earned starting positions based on Graded Stakes Points and the next six were selected by the Panel). Should there be a defection from a field, horses will fill any vacancies in order of ranking until the time of entry, Tuesday, October 23 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Post Positions for all 11 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races will then be drawn.
Breeders’ Cup Limited administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships; Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships consisting of 11 races and $23 million in purses. The organization also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, and the Breeders’ Cup Stakes Program. Breeders’ Cup Ltd. is located in Lexington, Ky. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com.
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