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BREEDERS' CUP NOTES
Damon Thayer (859) 422-2610
GALILEO, APTITUDE, TIZNOW, OFFICER, SAKHEE LEAD 104 HORSES PRE-ENTERED FOR BREEDERS' CUP WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Led by European star Galileo, defending Horse of the Year Tiznow, Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Aptitude, Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee and 2-year-old standout Officer, 104 horses have been pre-entered for the 2001 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The 18th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, consisting of eight grade I races with purses and awards totaling $13 million, will be run on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Belmont Park and will be televised live by NBC Sports (1:00-6:00 p.m. EDT). This is the fourth time that The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will host the Championships. Belmont Park hosted the event in 1990 and 1995. Aqueduct Racetrack was the site in 1985.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Breeders' Cup Limited and NYRA are dedicating this year's event to the families of New York firefighters, police officers, emergency services personnel and other victims in the surrounding communities who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. A special fund of NTRA Charities has been established to receive contributions.
One of the strongest European contingents ever to race in the Breeders' Cup is led by Galileo and Fantastic Light, both of whom will face top American horses in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at 1¼ miles. The 3-year-old Galileo, owned by Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor and trained by Aidan O'Brien, has been Europe's best horse this year, winning six of seven career starts including the English and Irish Derbies and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. The O'Brien-trained Giant's Causeway just missed winning the Classic last year, finishing a neck behind Tiznow.
Galileo's unbeaten streak was ended last month by the 4-year-old Fantastic Light in a stirring stretch drive at the Irish Champion Stakes. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin Racing, Fantastic Light has won three stakes races this year and is primed for this highly anticipated rematch with Galileo.
The American challengers in the Classic are led by Edmund Gann's Aptitude, who has won the Hollywood Gold Cup (through disqualification), the Saratoga Breeders' Cup and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last three starts. Trained by Bobby Frankel, the 4-year-old Aptitude was second in last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. Frankel, the Eclipse Champion trainer of 2000, is having a career season, punctuated by 13 grade I victories.
Defending Horse of the Year and 2000 Classic winner Tiznow has also been pre-entered for the Classic. The 4-year-old colt, trained by Jay Robbins, was sidelined for five months after winning the Santa Anita Handicap in March. He has two third-place finishes in the Woodward and Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap in his last two starts. Also pre-entered in the Classic is Albert the Great, winner of the Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps; Include, who captured the Pimlico Special and Massachusetts Handicap; and Macho Uno, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner.
The Classic is the finale of the eight Breeders' Cup races. But the day begins with the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Frankel may have the favorite in this race with the 3-year-old Flute, who has won the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama Stakes this season. Another top 3-year-old is Exogenous, who was second to Flute in the Alabama but has since gone on to win the Gazelle and the Beldame Stakes, a race where Flute finished third. The top entrant from the West appears to be Tranquility Lake, who has won three stakes races this year. Defending Distaff champion Spain, second in the Beldame, has also been pre-entered.
Last year, the Bob Baffert-trained Point Given, the eventual Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, lost the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by a nose to Macho Uno. This season Baffert and the Thoroughbred Corp. return for the $1 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles with another potential superstar in the undefeated Officer. A dominating winner of the Champagne Stakes at Belmont last time out, Officer is 5-for-5, with four victories in California this summer.
Trainer Eoin Harty, a former Baffert assistant, will send out the top two finishers in the Norfolk Stakes, Essense of Dubai and Ibn Al Haitham. Came Home, winner of the Hopeful Stakes in Saratoga, is unbeaten in three starts. From Kentucky comes Lane's End Breeders' Futurity winner Siphonic. Johannesburg, 6-for-6 for trainer Aidan O'Brien in Europe this year, has also been pre-entered.
Baffert and Frankel may have the top two stars in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, also at 1 1/16 miles. Habibti, owned by the Thoroughbred Corp. and trained by Baffert, won the Del Mar Debutante this summer. On the East Coast, You, owned by Edmund Gann and trained by Frankel, proved she was the best in New York with a 6¾-length victory in the Frizette Stakes over the Belmont track.
The $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf is the richest of the three grass races on the World Thoroughbred Championships program. Godolphin has an emerging star in Sakhee, a six-length winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and a seven-length winner of the Juddmonte International in August. Bobby Frankel has pre-entered Timboroa, a wire-to-wire winner of the 1½ mile Turf Classic at Belmont and the Del Mar Handicap prior to that. The other top American star could be Augustin Stable's With Anticipation, who has won four stakes in a row, including the Man o' War, the Sword Dancer and United Nations Handicap.
In the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile on turf, Godolphin has a formidable runner in Noverre, who won the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and was recently second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Forbidden Apple has won both the Manhattan Handicap and the Kelso at Belmont Park this year for trainer Cristophe Clement. The hot horse from the West Coast is Val Royal, recent winner of the Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita.
The first two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf -- this year run at 1¼ miles -- have been captured by North American horses. That could change this year, as Sheikh Maktoum's Lailani, winner of the Flower Bowl at Belmont for trainer Ed Dunlop, comes into the race as a solid favorite. England's Legend, trained by Clement and second to Lailani in the Flower Bowl, has won the Beverly D and the New York Handicap.
Kona Gold seeks a repeat in the $1 million Penske Auto Center Breeders' Cup Sprint at six furlongs. Last year, the 7-year-old Bruce Headley trainee set a Breeders' Cup stakes and track record at Churchill Downs, winning the Sprint in 1:07.77. Challengers include Swept Overboard, who beat Kona Gold in the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita; Delaware Township, winner of the Forest Hills at Belmont; and the 9-year-old Bet on Sunshine, who took the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland in his most recent start. The top European is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mozart, a winner of his last three stakes in England.
Pre-entered fields appear on the following pages. In races that are oversubscribed (more than 14 horses pre-entered) the top eight Breeders' Cup point earners gain automatic berths. The remaining six horses are selected by the Breeders' Cup racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. The panel has also ranked all horses not selected into the body of the field in preference order. Should there be a defection from a field, horses will fill any vacancies in the order of ranking until the time of entry, Wednesday, October 24, at 10:00 a.m. ET. Post positions for all eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races will then be drawn.
Official 2001 Breeders' Cup Pre-entries
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