BREEDERS' CUP NOTES
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ESPN2 STAKES DOUBLEHEADER FROM KEENELAND FEATURED SUNDAY ON "NTRA RACING TO THE BREEDERS' CUP" SERIES
The $400,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity and $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup from Keeneland Sunday will be featured on a 90-minute program from 3:30-5:00 p.m. ET as the "NTRA Racing to the Breeders' Cup" series continues with less than a month to go before the Championship.
The Breeders' Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles has been one of the most important preps for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over the years, with three of the last four winners of the Championship race using the Keeneland event as a final prep.
Boston Harbor in 1996 and Favorite Trick in 1997 won both the Breeders' Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile to seal Eclipse Award honors, the latter also voted Horse of the Year. Answer Lively was beaten a neck in the 1998 renewal of the Breeders' Futurity but won the Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
Leading contenders for Sunday's race include Harold Queen's BURNING ROMA, The Thoroughbred Corp.'s POINT GIVEN, John Oxley's HOLIDAY THUNDER, Gary and Mary West's DOLLAR BILL and Beverly and Bob Lewis' UNBRIDLED TIME.
Burning Roma invaded Belmont Park from trainer Anthony Dutrow's Laurel, Md.-based stable for The Futurity Stakes on Sept. 17 and finished second by a nose behind City Zip after a strong late rally in the stretch. However, City Zip came out to slam Burning Roma in the final sixteenth and was disqualified. A son of Rubiano, Burning Roma had easily won his two previous career starts at Laurel Park.
Point Given was very impressive last out winning the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park on Sept. 16, with Holiday Thunder second. Trained by Bob Baffert, Point Given is a son of Thunder Gulch and had broken his maiden at Del Mar in his previous start. Baffert also trains West Coast 2-year-old division leader Flame Thrower, who runs this Saturday in the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita.
The Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup is for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf and was captured last year by Perfect Sting, current leader of the filly and mare grass division and early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Twilite Farm's GAVIOLA should be a heavy favorite in this year's renewal and comes into the race after winning her last six starts, four of them stakes, including the Garden City Breeders' Cup at Belmont on Sept. 10. Trained by Billy Turner, Gaviola is a roan/gray daughter of 1985 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Cozzene.
Rivals for Gaviola are expected to include Augustin Stable's NO MATTER WHAT and Mrs. A.J.F. O'Reilly's THEORETICALLY, one-two in the Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 27, respectively. No Matter What, a daughter of Nureyev, was making her American debut for trainer Neil Drysdale after campaigning in France with trainer Jonathan Pease through the spring and summer.
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