Thursday, October 27, 2005 Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017
Unbeaten Stars Look To Culminate Great Year In Breeders’ Cup
When Personal Ensign edged Winning Colors with one last lunge to capture the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs by a nose, the Shug McGaughey-trained filly became the first major North American Thoroughbred in 80 years to retire undefeated.
The Ogden Phipps homebred filly set the standard for Breeders’ Cup perfection, emerging from arguably one of the most memorable races in the 21-year history of the event with a lifetime record of 13 victories from as many starts.
The Breeders’ Cup has produced a long list of champions, but there’s something about an undefeated horse that seems to capture the public’s imagination, especially one who has met the imposing challenge presented by the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Eight horses have been able to keep their perfect records intact with victories in their respective Breeders’ Cup races: Favorite Trick (1997 Juvenile; 8-0), Meadow Star (1990 Juvenile Fillies; 7-0), Johannesburg (2001 Juvenile; 7-0), Gilded Time (1992 Juvenile; 4-0), Vindication (2002 Juvenile; 4-0), Storm Flag Flying (2002 Juvenile Fillies; 4-0), Halfbridled (2003 Juvenile Fillies; 4-0) and Personal Ensign, the only horse older than 2 to stay undefeated by winning on Breeders’ Cup.
Six horses will go to post at Belmont Park on Saturday for attempts to join the elite company, most notably Lost in the Fog, who will be seeking his 11th victory without a loss in Saturday’s Sprint. Lost in the Fog has been installed as the even-money favorite in the morning line to keep his lifetime record unblemished and become the only horse in Breeders’ Cup history to emerge undefeated from the Sprint. The 3yo son of Lost Soldier would become the second winningest undefeated Breeders’ Cup champion with a win in the Sprint.
Shakespeare, the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Turf, and Nothing But Fun, set to run in the Distaff, also will have the opportunities to join the distinguished company of Personal Ensign as undefeated Breeders’ Cup winners at an age older than 2. The 4yo Shakespeare will bring a 5-0 record into the Turf for trainer Bill Mott, while 3yo Nothing But Fun will chase her fifth straight score in the Distaff for trainer Michael Hushion.
While it has been a more common occurrence for a 2yo to emerge from the Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies undefeated, the seven horses who have achieved the feat were named champions in their respective divisions. Favorite Trick was named Horse of the Year in 1997, the first 2yo to be honored with Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious Eclipse Award since Secretariat (1972).
Three 2yos have the chance to stay undefeated on Saturday in the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies. Frank Brothers-trained First Samurai, the winner of all four of his starts, has been installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Juvenile. Sorcerer’s Stone, who will challenge First Samurai in the Juvenile, will be saddled by Patrick Byrne, the trainer of Favorite Trick.
Original Spin is the only entrant for the Juvenile Fillies who will put an unbeaten record on the line Saturday. The daughter of Distorted Humor has won both of her starts, including the Arlington Breeders’ Cup Lassie, for trainer Anthony Mitchell.