LAVA MAN, ENGLISH CHANNEL, OUIJA BOARD (GB) LEAD OPENING BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS POLL
Lava Man, winner of Saturday’s Hollywood Gold Cup, leads the Dodge Classic Division after the first week of voting in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Poll. In addition to Lava Man, three Breeders’ Cup Champions lead their respective divisions after the first week: Defending TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Silver Train, 2005 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller and 2004 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Ouija Board (GB).
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships Poll is a weekly listing of the top 10 contenders in all eight Breeders’ Cup World Championships races as voted upon by a panel of prominent international journalists and handicappers. The panel will rank active and in-training horses, regardless of geographic location in the following divisions: Emirates Airline Distaff; NetJets Mile; TVG Sprint; Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf; John Deere Turf and Dodge Classic. Polling for the Juvenile Fillies and Bessemer Trust Juvenile Divisions will begin in September.
The 5-year-old gelding Lava Man, owned by STD Racing and Jason Wood and trained by Doug O’Neill, has dominated west coast racing this year, reeling off five consecutive victories, starting with the Sunshine Millions Classic in January and the Santa Anita Handicap in March. Prior to his victory by a nose over Ace Blue in Saturday’s Gold Cup, Lava Man won two grass races: the TVG Khaled Stakes and the Charles Whittingham, both at Hollywood Park. Lava Man leads Shadwell Stables’ Invasor (ARG), the top Classic Division horse in the East, who has won both the Pimlico Special and the Suburban Handicap in his last two starts. Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini is fourth in the standings, followed by 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic -- runner up Flower Alley, and in sixth place by Jazil, this year’s Belmont Stakes winner.
In the John Deere Turf Division, Joseph Scatourchio’s 4-year-old English Channel, winner of Saturday’s United Nations at Monmouth Park, leads the division, followed by the Michael Tabor’s Hurricane Run (IRE), Europe’s 2005 Horse of the Year, and winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh in Ireland this spring. Shirocco (GER), the 2005 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, is third in this division.
Mrs. Thomas J. Walsh and Timber Bay Farm’s Artie Schiller, second in this year’s Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland, leads the NetJets Mile Division over Aragorn (IRE), winner of the Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in May.
Lord Derby’s Ouija Board is in first place in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf Division despite a fifth-place finish in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown over the weekend. The five-year-old mare won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, and was second to Shirocco in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Buckram Oak Farm’s Silver Train, winner of this year’s Metropolitan Handicap, leads the TVG Sprint Division over 2005 Eclipse Award Sprint Champion, Lost in the Fog, who captured the Aristides Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in June.
The first two finishers in the last month’s Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill, Stewart Madison’s Happy Ticket and Charles Wacker III’s Oonagh Maccool (IRE), are first and second, respectively, in the standings of the Emirates Airline Distaff Division. Alice Muller’s Take D’Tour, winner of the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park, is third in the division.
This is the second year of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Poll, which was called the World Thoroughbred Poll in 2005. The 23rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held on Saturday, November 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The panelists for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Poll are: John Avello, Director of Race and Sports Book Operations, Wynn Las Vegas; Simon Clare, Coral Racing (U.K); David Gutfreund, Racing World TV Analyst; Fred Faour, Sports Editor, Houston Chronicle; Brad Free, Writer and Columnist, Daily Racing Form; Dick Jerardi, Writer and Columnist, Philadelphia Daily News; David Hood, William Hill Sports Book (U.K); Tom Law; Managing Editor, Thoroughbred Times; Dan Liebman, Executive Editor, The Blood-Horse; Randy Moss, Racing Analyst, ESPN ; Ellis Starr, National Handicapper, Equibase; Tom Quigley, Publisher, Horseplayer Magazine; Fanny Hubart-Salmon, Commentator, Equidia (France) and Mike Watchmaker, National Handicapper, Daily Racing Form. Voting by the panel is calculated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Total points earned are listed for each horse. Ken Kirchner, NTRA Senior Vice President of Product Development, coordinates the panel roster and voting.http://www.ntra.com/bc_wtc_ranking.aspx