Eighteen 2012 Placed Breeders' Cup Contenders Return To Do Battle - Nine Of The Fifteen Winners Are Back!

Volume 10...Number 7

Eighteen 2012 Placed Breeders' Cup Contenders Return To Do Battle - Nine Of The Fifteen Winners Are Back!

(Part I)

Just over two weeks and counting until the 2013 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2.

Today begins the DAILY COUNTDOWN to the Cup as the Jim Hurley Breeders' Cup Bulletin presents Part I of the two day analysis of the horses who ran in last year's Breeders' Cup races and have been pre-entered to either defend their crown or finish the job they didn't a year ago. Among the veteran Cup contenders are 9 horses who won a year ago and another 9 who placed. In today's edition I'll take a look at the "try again" horses that are pre-entered to run in Friday's races. Check back tomorrow for Part II as I look at the returnees entered for Saturday's races.

List Of Breeders' Cup Races

Friday, November 1
BC MARATHON - 1 3/4 Miles - $500,000
BC JUVENILE FILLIES TURF - 1 Mile (Turf) - $1,000,000
BC DIRT MILE - 1 Mile - $1,000,000
BC JUVENILE TURF - 1 Mile (Turf) - $1,000,000
BC DISTAFF - 1 1/8 Miles - $2,000,000

Saturday, November 2
BC JUVENILE FILLIES - 1 1/16 Miles - $2,000,000
BC FILLY & MARE TURF - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - $2,000,000
BC FILLY & MARE SPRINT - 7 Furlongs - $1,000,000
BC TURF SPRINT - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - $1,000,000
BC JUVENILE - 1 1/16 Miles - $2,000,000
BC TURF - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - $3,000,000
BC SPRINT - 6 Furlongs - $1,500,000
BC MILE - 1 Mile (Turf) - $2,000,000
BC CLASSIC - 1 1/4 Miles - $5,000,000

For the purposes of this analysis the returning contenders (based on those pre-entered by the October 21 deadline) will be listed race-by-race. The four Juvenile races of course have no returning runners.

BC MARATHON - There are 10 horses pre-entered for this race but none of them ran in last year's contest.


Alpha - While Alpha does return to the Breeders' Cup this year he does so at the softer position and shorter distance than in 2012 when he competed in the BC Classic and had a disastrous day as he was in contention for about a half mile while on the rail before dropping back under pressure and getting eased as he was beaten 44 lengths. Certainly the one mile distance plays to his speed, so trainer Kieran McLaughlin is obviously looking for any edge. But the real issue with Alpha is by now a well-discussed one. Can he win anywhere other than Saratoga? He has won 4 of 5 at the Spa over a three year period and is just 2 for 12 everywhere else. If you are looking for angles, the only one is negative. Last year in his final prep prior to the BC Classic he ran 6th in the Pennsylvania Derby on 9/22 with a 96 BRIS speed number. This year his final prep for this race took place at Belmont in the Grade I Jockey Gold Cup on 9/28 and he ran 6th with a BRIS speed number of 98. Given his difficulties other than Saratoga and last year's catastrophe over the surface he is a tough one to back.

Fed Biz - Last year's BC Dirt Mile experience for this Bob Baffert trained son of Giant's Causeway was not a pleasant one. The then 3-year old colt got caught between rivals early, was hustled up into contention along the rail by jockey Joe Talamo as they left the turn but had already used up his surge and faded to 8th. It is worth mentioning that prior to last year's race Baffert sent the colt to Hoosier to compete in the Grade II Indiana Derby 4 weeks before the race and that Second City, who was also sent to Hoosier (by trainer Ben Cecil) for the same race finished in 9th in the BC Mile. This year Baffert has kept the horse comfortably on the west coast and has worked forwardly after his last race, a significantly sharp off-the pace win in the Grade II Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar. This is a versatile colt who can rally or press the pace and though he failed in this race last year it is notable that he has won three times from six tries at Santa Anita in his career.

Rail Trip - The Ron Ellis trained veteran gelding was a sharp second in this race a year ago at 8.4-1. However, things have not gone as well in 2013. The son of Jump Start has yet to hit the board in three starts and though the distant 9th in a stakes race at Indaian Downs might be excused because of the sloppy surface (the gelding has failed to hit the board in his two off track tries) it is more difficult to forgive his flat fifth in the Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood in June and distant sixth in Pirate's Bounty at Del Mar on that meet's closing day because both those races were on the synthetic surface, over which he has compiled an 18-9-4-1 career mark. He did turn in a good half mile drill on 10/16, shortly after returning from Indiana, but that too was at over Hollywood's synthetic surface. And be careful when you look at his Santa Anita record, which shows 5-3-1-0 lifetime since his three wins there were accomplished prior to the surface being switched back to conventional dirt from synthetic. Ellis is going to have to turn this guy around in a hurry if he hopes to even duplicate last year's runner-up finish, no less win the race.

Friday November 1 - Saturday November 2
Win Selections - Exactas - Trifectas - Superfectas
Daily Doubles - Pick 3's - Pick 4's - Pick 6's

In The Last 3 Years Of Breeders' Cup Races...BASED ON A $2 BET
The Average Winner Paid $27.90...The Average Exacta Paid $225.90
The Average Trifecta Paid $1,999.80...The Average Superfecta Paid $18,453.20
The Average Double Paid $302.60...The Average Pick 3 Paid $4,183.80
The Average Pick 4 Paid $28,435.50...The Average Pick 6 Paid $498,470.30
One Pick 6 Payoff Was 5 Of 6 $95,070.00
Click Here For All The Winning Info!


Beholder - Last year while Royal Delta was further cementing her career with a smashing victory in this race, Beholder was just beginning her career as she was triumphant in the BC Juvenile Fillies. The daughter of Henny Hughes absolutely loves this race surface, which is easy to glean from her 5 wins and a second from six career starts. But what makes her extra special is that she has shown she can extend her speed regardless of the distance she runs. The Richard Mandella trainee has been on the lead or second from start to finish in 9 of her last 10 races at 6 furlongs, a mile, a mile and a sixteenth and at the mile and an eight distance of the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She comes into the race having won the Torry Pine at Del Mar and the Grade I Zenyatta at Santa Anita (on 9/28) in wire-to-wire fashion and has won four of her last five with the only loss coming to the "now distaffer" Princess Of Sylmar (pre-entered in the Distaff), who caught her in the final strides of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at CD. If you want to match her up with the rivals she'll meet on November 1 you can feel rather comfortable with that competitive effort vs Princess Sylmar, who dusted last year's BC Distaff champ Royal Delta when those two turned in their final preps in the Grade I Beldame at Belmont on 9/28. Beholder has also outrun the likes of Authenticity, Close Hatches, Fiftyshadesofhay, Flashy American, More Chocolate and Pure Fun. This race will present interesting scenarios because if both Princess Of Sylmar and Royal Delta stake each other out from off the pace in the early going, Beholder could have her comfortable position on the front end and be a handful inside the furlong marker.

Royal Delta - What is truly amazing about this game is how quickly "alarm sirens" go off after just one racing performance which isn't completely dominant. Such was the case regarding this brilliant mare who has left the distaff world wondering "what can be wrong" with Royal Delta...and that simply because she had the audacity to finish second behind Princess Of Sylmar in the Grade I Beldame last time out. Yup, sounds like her domination is over. Although back in the settled world of analysis it is perhaps germane to consider that the daughter of Empire Maker found herself uncomfortable racing just off the pace when her best races of late have come when she has set the pace. Two back she went wire-to-wire in dominating the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga and prior to that the Bill Mott trainee had won start to finish by 10 lengths in the Grade I Delaware Handicap. Of course a detailed speed number denizen could make the case that the two aforementioned wins were vs less-than-stellar Grade I opposition and the number she ran in the Beldame was well below the one she ran in dominating the same final prep a year ago before she went on to wire the field and win the BC Distaff (then called the Ladies' Classic.) One thing to consider, if the seemingly slower numbers and lesser performances this year compared to last is that Mott does not run horses just for the sake of doing so and it is significant (at least to this analyst) that the conditioner has worked Royal Delta hard at Belmont since the "failure" in the Beldame, sending her a best of 35 half mile in :46 2/5 breezing on 10/12 and a best of 18 5 furlongs in :59 3/5 breezing on 10/19. Now, should that mean she is working towards looking for the lead at Santa Anita does she battle with Beholder and set it up for another Princess Of Sylmar rally? Oh the drama.

(Don't forget to check back Friday evening when I post the pre-entered horses that will return from 2012.)

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