QUALIFIERS AND PREPS ARE COMPLETE BREEDERS CUP SET IN 3 WEEKS…A LOOK AT A FLAWED ASSUMPTION

TRACKING THE BREEDERS CUP  
Volume 14 – Number 1

QUALIFIERS AND PREPS ARE COMPLETE
BREEDERS CUP SET IN 3 WEEKS…A LOOK AT A FLAWED ASSUMPTION

Friday, 10/14

Over the course of the next three weeks leading up to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup this TRACKING THE BREEDERS CUP column will deliver previews, histories and observations regarding the valid and not so valid.

As we move forward towards the Breeders Cup on Frida, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 there is as always much to discuss.

First of course, here is the Two Day 13 Race Lineup.

Friday. 11/4
BC Juvenile Turf
BC Dirt Mile
BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
BC Distaff

Saturday. 11/5
BC Juvenile Fillies
BC Filly & Mare Turf
BC Filly & Mare Sprint
BC Turf Sprint
BC Juvenile
BC Mile
BC Sprint
BC Turf
BC Classic

As to Breeders Cup Assumptions that will be oft-repeated by pundits and the public on a regular basis…our first edition of TRACKING THE BREEDERS CUP is about to debunk what you will be told regarding horses who have raced at Santa Anita having a “Horse For Course” or “Home Track Edge.”

Even a cursory look at the results (where the winners and supporting exotic horses last ran) shows how wide-spread the positive prep programs have been, but there is an even more generic observation regarding the history of horses that have run in the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita where the races were run in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Most important is that a “history” of the three years of Breeders Cup at Santa Anita must be qualified by the fact that in 2012 and 2013 the main track races were run over a synthetic dirt surface and in 2014 over the now in place more traditional dirt surface of a single-source material consisting of highly coveted El Segundo Sand, a natural soil.  

Even worth further consideration is that other than the racing that has occurred over the duration of the last few weeks, all horse that compete on the turf will be running over another new surface.

With an oval that measures about seven furlongs, Santa Anita's grass course is unlike any other in North America, in that it features a hillside component, which measures about 6 1/2 furlongs (4,777 feet) from the top of the hill to the finish line. And at the beginning of the meet the grass itself (now a Bermuda Grass Component) is different in texture.

This “difference” in the surfaces is definitely worthy of consideration when it comes to attempting to assume any trends drawn from the 2012-2014 races run at Santa Anita.

That being said, the actual results…how last out Santa Anita runners performed vs opponents who last prepped at other tracks…also goes a long way towards dispelling any valid assumptions about a horse for course edge.

In fact, as you’ll see by the last 3 years at Santa Anita there has been no discernible edge for horses prepping last at any particular venue. Even the turf races, which have been heavily influenced by European Runners have seen those runners emerge from Ireland, England and France.

Below is a list of the first, second and third place last out prep locale for the 2012-2014 Santa Anita Breeders Cup Races.

2014
Juvenile Turf – Pimlico…Santa Anita…Santa Anita
Dirt Mile – Santa Anita…PARX…Charles Town
Juvenile Filly Turf – Belmont…Del Mar…Europe
Distaff – PARX…Keeneland…Santa Anita
Juvenile Fillies – Keeneland…Keeneland…Belmont
Filly & Mare Turf – Keeneland…Belmont…Woodbine
F & M Sprint – Belmont…Belmont…Keeneland
Turf Sprint – Woodbine…Keeneland…Kentucky Downs
Juvenile – Santa Anita…Keeneland…Belmont
Turf – Belmont…Europe…Belmont
Sprint – Keeneland…Santa Anita…Belmont
Mile – Europe…Europe…Belmont
Classic – PARX…Del Mar…PARX

2013
Juvenile Turf – Europe…Europe…Belmont
Dirt Mile – Santa Anita…Santa Anita…Belmont
Juvenile Filly Turf – Europe…Belmont…Santa Anita
Distaff – Santa Anita…PARX…Santa Anita
Juvenile Fillies – Belmont…Santa Anita…Keeneland
F & M Turf – Arlington…Europe…Keeneland
F & M Sprint – Keeneland…Keeneland…Belmont
Turf Sprint – Belmont…PARX…Del Mar
Juvenile – Del Mar…Belmont…Belmont
Turf – Europe…Santa Anita…Santa Anita
Sprint – Santa Anita…Santa Anita…Keeneland
Mile – Keeneland…Belmont…Del Mar
Classic – Santa Anita…PARX…Europe

2012
Juvenile Turf – Europe…Belmont…Belmont
Juvenile Fillies - Santa Anita…Santa Anita…Belmont
F & M Turf - Belmont…Santa Anita…Europe
Distaff – Belmont…PARX…Santa Anita
Juvenile Turf – Europe…Belmont…Keeneland
F & M Sprint – Keeneland…Belmont…Santa Anita
Dirt Mile – Belmont…Santa Anita…Woodbine
Turf Sprint – Hollywood…Santa Anita…Santa Anita
Juvenile – Belmont…Keeneland…Santa Anita
Turf – Belmont…Belmont…Churchill
Sprint – PARX…Belmont…Hollywood
Mile – Keeneland…Gulfstream…Santa Anita
Classic – Belmont…Saratoga…Belmont

As you can see, it comes down to what it always comes down to when we are at the class level of the Breeders Cup. Good horses are good horses and if they do well prepping in high level races against high level opponents it matters little from where they last emerge.
 

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