October 23, 2007 Contact: Jim Gluckson 646-335-6835
Street Sense, Curlin & Lawyer Ron Clash in Breeders’ Cup Classic Climax of $24 million Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park
OCEANPORT, N.J. – Horse of the Year 2007 honors will be on the line when Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes hero STREET SENSE meets Preakness and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner CURLIN in a field of nine drawn for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
A total of 123 horses from major racing centers across North America and Europe have been entered in the 24th edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with 11 races to be run over two days for the first time on Friday and Saturday, offering total purses and awards of $24,145,000 as the Oceanport, N.J., course hosts the event for the first time.
The Breeders’ Cup begins Friday with three new $1 million races to be telecast on ESPN2 during a two-hour program from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET. The eight races Saturday concluding with the Classic will be broadcast during a seven-hour program on ESPN from 12:00-7:00 p.m. ET. For the first time, the Breeders’ Cup races will also be shown on the Web at www.breederscup.com;
and broadcast nationally on HRRN radio network.
Jim Tafel’s Street Sense, Fox Hill Farm’s HARD SPUN and Stonestreet Stables, Padua Stables, George Bolton and Midnight Cry Stable’s Curlin finished one-two-three, respectively, in the Derby at Churchill Downs in May and are among six 3-year-olds in the Classic with James T. Hines Estate and Stonewall Stallions Racing Division’s 4-year-old star LAWYER RON and two other older horses.
Regular rider Calvin Borel will be back aboard Street Sense for trainer Carl Nafzger breaking from post position two and was installed the 3-to-1 second choice morning line favorite. The homebred son of Street Cry finished second to Hard Spun in the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park on Sept. 29 as a final tune-up for the Classic.
Curlin drew post four and was installed co-second choice at 3-to-1 with regular rider Robby Albarado in the saddle for trainer Steve Asmussen. After his Preakness victory over Street Sense, Curlin lost a heart-breaking decision to filly star Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes. In his only start between the Belmont and the Jockey Club Gold Cup the imposing chestnut finished third in the Haskell.In the Classic, Lawyer Ron and WinStar Farm’s 3-year-old ANY GIVEN SATURDAY lead trainer Todd Pletcher’s juggernaut team of 11 runners in six Breeders’ Cup events. Lawyer Ron was made the 5-to-2 morning line favorite with regular rider John Velazquez in the saddle, breaking from the rail.
A son of Langfuhr, Lawyer Ron ranks as the leading older horse in America this season with stunning victories in the Whitney Handicap and Woodward Stakes at Saratoga this summer and a big effort when losing a neck decision last out in the Jockey Club Gold to Curlin at Belmont Park on Sept. 30.
Any Given Saturday is by Distorted Humor and comes into Saturday’s test after three straight victories, including the Haskell Invitational over the Monmouth track in early August and most recently the Brooklyn Handicap over older horses at Belmont on Sept. 22.
Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 4-year-old DYLAN THOMAS leads a strong team of 12 European-trained stars entered in Breeders’ Cup events, and is the shortest-priced morning line favorite at odds of 7-to-5 in the $3 million John Deere Turf at 1 ½ miles. Jockey Johnny Murtagh gets the call from Coolmore trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Dylan Thomas sealed European championship honors for this season winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris on Oct. 7. The Irish-bred son of Danehill had previously swept the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in early September prior to the Arc.
Dylan Thomas faces seven rivals, including two past winners of the Turf – J. Paul Reddam’s 4-year-old RED ROCKS, who scored last fall at Churchill Downs for English trainer Brian Meehan, and Bushwood Farm’s 8-year-old gelding BETTER TALK NOW, upset winner of the renewal at Lone Star Park in 2004 for trainer Graham Motion and second to Red Rocks last fall.
The Pletcher stable sends out James Scatourchio’s 5-year-old ENGLISH CHANNEL, third behind Red Rocks last fall. The chestnut son of Smart Strike was made 5-to-2 second choice in the Turf with regular rider John Velazquez. English Channel comes into the race after capturing the United Nation going 11 furlong over the Monmouth course on July 7 and his impressive victory last out in the Turf Classic at Belmont on Sept. 30.
A highly competitive field of 12 fillies and mares is set for the $2,260,000 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles with Melnyk Racing Stable’s 5-year-old mare INDIAN VALE made the lukewarm favorite at 3-to-1 with John Velazquez in the saddle.
Indian Vale leads a team of three strong contenders in the race from the Pletcher stable together with Starlight Stable and Donald Lucarelli’s 3-year-old filly OCTAVE, winner of the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, and Team Valor’s 4-year-old filly UNBRIDLED BELLE, who won a hard-fought head decision over Indian Vale last out in the Beldame Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 30.
Stronach Stable’s 4-year-old filly GINGER PUNCH, a homebred daughter of 1998 Classic hero Awesome Again, is the second choice in the Distaff after capturing the Ruffian Handicap at Belmont in early September and finishing third as the favorite three weeks later in the Beldame.
A wide-open international field of 14 is set for the $2,630,000 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile and Mrs. John Magnier and partners’ 3-year-old EXCELLENT ART the 3-to-1 favorite with John Murtagh aboard, despite drawing post 13. The son of Pivotal ranked high among Europe’s top milers this season, just missing when second last out in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 29.
Michael Pegram and partners’ 4-year-old MIDNITE LUTE drew post two and is the 2-to-1 favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds and up drawn for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs with jockey Garrett Gomez getting the call for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Real Quiet turned in a memorable performance winning the Forego Handicap last out at Saratoga on Sept. 7.Warren B. William’s 4-year-old filly NASHOBA’S KEY takes her seven-race unbeaten record into the $2,130,000 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles as the 3-to-1 morning line choice with 17-year-old jockey Joe Talamo retaining the mount for trainer Carla Gaines. The daughter of Silver Hawk faces 11 fillies and mares in her East Coast debut.
Robert La Penta’s undefeated 2-year-old colt WAR PASS drew post for the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and rules the 5-to-2 favorite to keep his record perfect in the race won so impressively last fall by Street Sense. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez will be back aboard the son of Cherokee Run after his stunning, wire-to-wire victory in the Champagne Stakes last out at Belmont on Oct. 6.
Trainer Bob Baffert saddles a pair of top contenders the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles with Hal and Patti Earnhardt’s homebred INDIAN BLESSING the choice at 3-to-1 after her dominating victory in the Frizette Stakes at Belmont after a brilliant debut tally at Saratoga. Garret Gomez rides the daughter of Indian Charlie out of post four in the full field of 14.
Friday’s trio of new races begins with the $1,125,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at six furlongs, followed by the $1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf for 2-year-olds at one mile and completed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to be run at one mile & 70 yards this year because of the configuration of the Monmouth track.
Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s 3-year-old filly LA TRAVIATA puts her perfect three-for-three career record on the line as the 5-to-2 second choice to DREAM RUSH in a field of 10 fillies and mares entered in the inaugural Filly & Mare Sprint. Jockey Julien Leparoux will be back aboard the daughter of Johannesburg that has swept her three starts by a total of 27 ½ lengths.
West Point Stable and Lewis Lakin’s Dream Rush, who has won six of eight career starts, is the 2-to-1 morning line favorite and will break from post three under Eibar Coa.
Trainer Bill Mott saddles Montecule LLC’s PRUSSIAN as 3-to-1 favorite in the inaugural edition of the Juvenile Turf with Kent Desormeaux aboard in a field of 12. The homebred son of Danzig won his debut by 6 ¾ lengths at Saratoga in August and the Summer Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 16 in his only other start.
Completing this first ever Friday Breeders’ Cup lineup is the new Dirt Mile with Godolphin’s brilliant 4-year-old DISCREET CAT the 2-to-1 choice in field of nine 3-year-olds and up. Garrett Gomez will be atop the son of Forestry, who swept his first six starts before suffering his first defeat when last of seven in the Dubai World Cup in March.