Breeders Cup Flash - Monday's Holiday Racing


From The Jim Hurley Racing Network


VOLUME ONE - Issue 6

On Monday, October 7, the weekend's final two Breeders' Cup Win-And-You're-In qualifiers will be run at Belmont Park. Originally scheduled to be run on Sunday, but moved late Friday by the NYRA due to projected inclement weather, a bid to the BC Juvenile Turf will be extended to the winner of the Grade III Pilgrim Stakes and a bid to the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf will be extended to the winner of the Grade III Miss Grillo Stakes...each to be run on the grass at a mile and a sixteenth. 

Below you will find previews for these 2 Graded Qualifiers.


The 8 horses entered to run on the turf (there is in addition a pair of Main Track Only entrants) in the Grade III Pilgrim Stakes (Race 5) at Belmont on Monday have a combined total experience of 16 races. Four of the competitors will be making their second career start and six of the juveniles will run following a last out win.

Let's take a look at the eight turf runners and the two MTO entrants, should the race come off the turf.

Saint Vigeur - Trainer Chad Brown has continued to extend his hot hand to bettors. He had a terrific meet at Saratoga and is winning at a 25% clip at Belmont. He saddled this son of multiple graded stakes producer Smart Strike to finish a strong rallying second at first asking vs MSW rivals at today's 8 ½ furlong distance. The colt settled into stride while three wide on the first turn at Saratoga on 8/25, moved up on the far turn and was getting to the winner, Slamarama. That one will be running in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday (another  BC Juvenile Turf automatic bid race) so you might wants to check out how that colt fares. Brown has given his colt time to regroup since the debut and has breezed his 4 times leading up to this. Javier Castellano gets the return engagement.

Cerro - Unknown commodity broke his maiden in his lone try in a minor stakes race in Italy on June 3 and is now in the capable hands of Graham Motion and Team Valor. His sire, Mr. Greeley (Gone West) has turned out to be a better than average turf producer and Motion has had the colt under tack training at Fair Hill for the last few months. Out of the Giant's Causeway mare Ballette, the colt has the perfect combination of mile speed breeding on the male side (especially grand sire Gone West) and stamina on the female side. He could be any kind. Motion hands the irons to Jeremy Rose.

Notacatbutallama - With the kind of weekend Todd Pletcher has been having (grabbed automatic bids to the BC Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies with Shanghai Bobby and Dreaming Of Julia at Belmont Saturday) one would expect that the public will shine a bright light on this Harlan's Holiday colt as well. The fact that he has already had a trio of two turn turf races in his career and is running at the same distance again today definitely gives him an experience and stamina leg up on the rest. In the Grade II With Anticipation Stakes in his most recent he was caught 4 wide and got tired in the final furlong. But he did check in a close enough fourth behind winner Balance The Books, who runs in the Bourbon at Keeneland on Sunday and second place finisher Johar, who won Saturday's BC Juvenile qualifier (the Dixiana at Keeneland on Saturday) so it is possible that the With Anticipation has turned into a Key race. John Velazquez has ridden all three times and returns on Monday on a very live youngster.

Special Skills - The Alan Goldberg trained colt broke his maiden in his debut in a 6 furlong turf sprint at Belmont on July 6. The son of Bernstein then beat 6 rivals in the grassy 7 ½ furlong Nick Shuck Memorial Stakes at Delaware a month later. Given a brief freshening the juvenile has continued to work forwardly for the conditioner with a pair of 5 furlong turf breezes at his home training center grounds the 22nd and 29th of September. Goldberg reaches out to Jose Lezcano, who has done well over the turf course here and the colt has shown enough speed over a course that has been playing honestly, to give him a shot a piece should he carry it this far. Nonetheless he will definitely contribute to the pace and in a smaller size field that can always be a factor.

West Hills Giant - On paper this son of Frost Giant appears to be the lone true outsider. He broke his maiden vs restricted NYSB rivals in a turf two turner at Saratoga in career start number two while running a BRIS Speed figure well below the top for the best in here and then went to the dirt where he sprinted to victory in the restricted New York Breeders' Futurity. But even given that, he was only beaten 3 lengths by Notacatbutallama when those two made their debut in the same race on 8/2 so any improvement moves him up a notch. What is truly interesting is that if trainer John Terranova is seriously considering this guy just 9 days after that Finger Lakes win and that was a drill for this, then he might be more than an outsider.

Read The Proposal - Last out MSW winner over a sloppy off the grass main track, this son of Read The Footnotes was scheduled to go turf that day and trainer Richard Violette remains confident that he will take to the surface. Given the off track daylight win Violette might even hope for the moisture that is supposed to come on Sunday and had this race rescheduled. The colt is out of a Lear Fan dam so there is some grass in his blood, but you should probably demand a price as the colt is more bred speed that distance and hasn't had a "public" work since breezing a best of 16 half mile in :48 4/5 on  9/15. Regular Violette go-to guy Alan Garcia gets the assignment.

Noble Tune - Another last out MSW winner in his only lifetime start, the beautifully bred son of Unbridled's Song out of the stakes winning Storm Cat mare Serena's Cat has been established as the 5-2 ML favorite. That debut win at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass during the final weekend of the Saratoga meet was most impressive and the Chad Brown trained youngster has been kept busy in the A.M. with his last two works being on the grass here, including a 5 furlong breeze around the dogs over a yielding course this past Monday. Brown once again hands the reins to leading rider Ramon Dominguez and this one just deepens the already competitive field.

Quinzieme Monarque - The Tom Albertrani trained son of Rock Hard Ten finally found his ultimate set up in his last and broke his maiden vs special weights with a strong three wide rush from far back traveling a mile and a sixteenth over this course. He debuted at 7 furlongs on the grass and rallied well yet ran out of ground. In his next he came from the back in an off-the-turf 7 furlong test at Saratoga, finishing 3 ¾ lengths behind Bernie The Jet, who is entered as a Main Track Only player in this race and next out winner Indy's Illusion. Rock hard ten has been a solid producer of two turn turf runners and the switch to Joel Rosario, who has shown an ability to add hustle to slow starting runners has to be a plus. This is another possibility in a deep field.

(Main Track Only)

Bernie The Jet - Has raced four times in his career...three on turf with no wins and a smashing wire-to-wire job to break his maiden going a mile in the slop two back. If the race does come off the grass and the field is reduced, his speed is dangerous.

James Jingle -  An unknown commodity as he has ruin twice in his career and broke his maiden on a fast track in his most recent, but did so with a speed figure low enough to indicate that he would have to improve considerably regardless of which runners chose to stay in should the race switch to his being eligible.


Should the weather cooperate and the originally constructed field of 12 for the Grade III Miss Grillo Stakes remaining entirely or even relatively intact, there should be plenty of value to be had. Let's take a look at the field from the rail out.

Fearless Jacq - The John Terranova Irish bred filly broke through in her debut at Newmarket and travelled across the Atlantic to try her hand in what turned out to be a disastrous Grade II Natalma effort at Woodbine three weeks ago. She showed speed and stopped over a yielding course at a mile. She'll need a turn around vs these.  

Buckingham Bull - Steps up a bit for trainer Joe Orseno after breaking her maiden in start number two and at a mile in what was her first turf try. But it was against maiden claimers so the daughter of Flashy Bull will have to take another step forward.

Fly Again - The daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus is a last out winner in her one and only start and that came at 7 furlongs. But the Eddie Kenneally trainee is definitely bred for the distance and in the 7 furlong grass race triumph she settled at the back early, went willingly while 4 wide and made up all the ground she needed as she pulled away late. Could be a good one.

Watsdachances - The Irish bred broke through in a maiden stakes in Ireland in career start number two and then was a game winner of the PG Johnson Stakes over the turf course at his distance at Saratoga. Now in the barn of the red-hot Chad Brown the Diamond Green filly has a solid late rush ability and from this post could sit a perfect trip under Javier Castellano, who rode her to victory in the Johnson.

Atlantic Dream - The daughter of Stormy Atlantic is one of three uncoupled Chad Brown entrants and unlike the filly to her inside is still an unproven runner after finishing fourth in her one and only start. She was bumped hard at the break and did get caught behind runners before showing some interest late over a yielding Saratoga surface in that mile and a sixteenth test. She might need more seasoning, but Ramon Dominguez saw enough to stay aboard.

Adriani - Ships in from Monmouth after breaking her maiden in her last while travelling this mile and a sixteenth distance. It was the second career start, and first turf try for the Eddie Plesa trained daughter of Medaglia D'Oro. She is well bred for the circumstances but so far her speed figures and rivals have been well below the competition she'll meet on Monday. The filly has the breeding to be a good one but will need further improvement is she plans on factoring here.

Wave Theory - The third of the three Chad Brown entrants this daughter of Smart Strike enters here while still a maiden. But the connections have done little wrong of late and she just missed vs the horse to her inside, losing by a neck while drifting out a bit off the far turn and in the lane during the late run in the 8 ½ furlong test at Saratoga in late June. Even though a maiden, she wouldn't need too much improvement to factor in here.

Summer of Fun - The daughter of Include beat Wave Theory to break her maiden on 8/25 and then shipped north to face good Grade II rivals at Woodbine in the Natalma Stakes. That race has already paid dividends as winner Spring In The Air shipped to Keeneland to win the Alcibiades on Friday. She really never had a shot in the Natalma, getting stuck down on the rail in the 14 filly affair and traveled evenly around the course. That experience plus a better trip makes her a player here.

Sustained - Another developing filly, this Dale Romans trained daughter of war Front showed that her green blood is for real as she caught and drew clear from her rivals in a mile and a sixteenth MSW turf test in career start number two on 8/31 at Saratoga. She has been kept on her toes with three very sharp breezes at Belmont since 9/15 and Romans reaches out to Joel Rosario to make sure that she gets and stays involved early. Wouldn't be a total surprise.

Manuka Honey - The second of trainer John Terranova's uncoupled entrants, this one seems as in need of big improvement in much the way that his rail filly does. She did decently enough in an 8 ½ furlong turf test vs maiden special weights in her one and only career start, finishing second after leading until deep stretch. But she was eaten up by Sustained in that race and with as much speed as is signed on again today might even be in deeper.

Effie Trinket - Is a perfect two for two in her career but since both were on dirt and both vs restricted NYSB rivals (a maiden breaker and a minor stakes) at sprinting distances, this filly has much to prove. She is also breaking from a difficult post as she will likely want to use her speed to clear the field early. Nonetheless, she is fast and daughters of Freud have proven versatile enough to handle 8 and 8 ½ furlongs on grass. Difficult to use and difficult to toss. She could be the underneath longshot that gets the payoffs built up.

Three Hearts - The Graham Motion filly is coming into her own right now so another step forward makes her a player in here. The daughter Hat Trick failed in her first two efforts on the NY grass circuit but showed up in impressive manner at Laurel and broke through over the green at the distance. If she has grown up a bit she should be able to compete on this circuit and Motion does bring Jeremy Rose (who won with her in Maryland) along for the ride. What might prove even tougher than the rise back up in class is the post, but she can't be automatically discounted.

That wraps up the previews of Monday's two Breeders' Cup Qualifiers from Belmont. Make sure you check back her on Wednesday as we REVIEW all 12 of the past weekend's BC Win & You're In Races and how they figure to play in this year's Breeders' Cup races, which are now only three weekends away.


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