Street Sense Gives Nafzger Shot At Breeders’ Cup History
No horse in the history of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships has won different races, but James Tafel’s Street Sense could be the first and put his trainer, Carl Nafzger, in some select company.
Winner of the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November at Churchill Downs, Street Sense was one of nine horses entered for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge to be run Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.
Nafzger is one of five trainers who saddled a winner in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup coming back to seek a score in 2007. In addition to Street Sense, Nafzger has Lady Joanne in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Nafzger will be attempting to join Richard Mandella and Rick Dutrow as the only trainers to have a 2-for-2 day in Breeders’ Cup races. Mandella turned the trick in 1993 at Santa Anita with Phone Chatter in the Juvenile Fillies and Kotashaan (Fr) in the Turf, and Dutrow repeated the feat in 2005 at Belmont Park with Silver Train in the Sprint and Saint Liam in the Classic.
Mandella holds the Breeders’ Cup record for wins in one year with four in 2003. His big day at Santa Anita included Halfbridled in the Juvenile Fillies, Action This Day in the Juvenile, Johar in the Turf and was capped off by Pleasantly Perfect in the Classic.
Other winning trainers from 2006 who have entries are Wayne Catalano (one), Kiaran McLaughlin (two), Brian Meehan (three) and Doug O’Neill (two). Catalano’s victory came in the Juvenile Fillies with Dreaming of Anna, McLaughlin saddled Classic winner Invasor, and Meehan saddled Red Rocks (Ire), who is returning to defend his title in the $3 million John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf.
O’Neill has a chance to join D. Wayne Lukas and Aidan O’Brien as trainers who have won Breeders’ Cup races in three or more consecutive years. Stevie Wonderboy (2005 Juvenile) and Thor’s Echo (2006 Sprint) were victorious O’Neill trainees the past two years.
Fourteen trainers have notched Breeders’ Cup victories in consecutive years, but only Lukas (1985-89) and O’Brien (2001-03) have taken the streak beyond two years.
Lukas, who has had a starter every year of the Breeders’ Cup, will not have a starter in this year’s renewal at Monmouth Park. Lukas has had more starters (146), winners (18) and money earned ($19,645,520) than any trainer in history.
Todd Pletcher, who saddled a Breeders’ Cup-record 17 starters in 2006, is represented by 11 entrants. A huge weekend at the Championships could skyrocket his total Breeders’ Cup earnings of $5,517,400 to the $10 million level that has been exceeded only by Lukas and Bobby Frankel ($10,853,020), who has four entrants for this year’s Championships.
Closer to the $10 million mark is Hall of Famer Bill Mott ($8,542,960), who has five entrants.