Ride was the 7-2 favorite over 21 other horses in phase two of the Breeders' Cup
Classic future bet that closed at midnight on Labor Day.
The price might seem generous, but upon further review, value on the
undefeated winner of the Pacific Classic could be deflated, despite his
impressive victory over a previous handicap leader, Medaglia d'Oro.
"Don't throw out Medaglia d'Oro," trainer Ron Ellis cautioned,
and with a perceptive reason. "I think it's a little soon to make Candy
Ride the king. Medaglia d'Oro had to ship from Saratoga to Del Mar for the
Pacific Classic and that's a very tough ship because there's not really a direct
way to go. There's a lot of vanning involved. That's how Cigar got beat (in the
1996 Pacific Classic). I wouldn't give up on Medaglia d'Oro yet. He kind of took
the worst of it having to ship across country."
With the 20th Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 less than two
months away, the $4 million Classic at 1 1 /4 miles could be the most
contentious ever, if the horses remain healthy.
"Congaree is still a very talented horse and what about
Mineshaft?," Ellis said. "I hope all the horses hold together so it
will be an awesome Breeders' Cup."
Oak Tree Racing Association, which hosts the Breeders' Cup, is putting
its best foot forward for the 32-day meeting that begins on Sept. 28 and ends on
Nov. 9. Ellis expects nothing less.
"I think the track will play like it always does,"
the 43-year-old California native said. "It seems like the same track to me
and I don't think it will be any different (when the meet starts). It's in good
shape and horses have done well here this summer. We'll have good weather and I
think the track will play fair."
One horse that won't make the Breeders' Cup Classic is the Ellis-trained
3-year-old Atswhatimtalknbout, who finished an eventful fourth in the Kentucky
Derby behind Funny Cide, Empire Maker and Peace Rules. The $900,000 son of 1992
Horse of the Year A.P. Indy presently is at the Arcadia track preparing for a
"He's been jogging a couple miles a day, but he's ready to start
galloping anytime now," Ellis said. "I'm not planning to run him until
some time in December, whether it's in the Malibu or a race at Hollywood I
haven't decided yet. It depends on how he comes around. Basically we're pointing
to the Strub series, the San Fernando, the Strub and the Santa Anita
Ellis, one of the more patient trainers on the circuit, admits now he had
to hurry Atswhatimtalknbout to make the Run for the Roses last May 1.
"He got rushed along pretty good and he handled it well," Ellis
said. "The Derby was his sixth race in five months, but he suffered a
quarter crack training up to the Belmont, so this was a good opportunity to give
him some time off. We made sure the quarter crack grew in well. I had him
jogging two miles a day towards his comeback earlier when he got a little virus
for about two weeks. It was going through the barn with my young horses, but
he's over it and looks great.
"In retrospect, I'm hoping the quarter crack was a blessing in
disguise in that it gave him some time off, because I've always believed he was
going to be a lot better older horse than he was a 3-year-old."
Ellis thinks this is a bumper crop of 3-year-olds, especially the first
four finishers in the Derby.
"The horses that ran in the Derby were the horses,"
Ellis said. "Funny Cide is awesome. He just hasn't held his form after the
Triple Crown races, but who could expect it after what he did? Empire Maker
(winner of the Belmont) has done everything right. Peace Rules
has proved himself. When Empire Maker's not there, then Ten Most Wanted
goes to the fore (winning the Travers). They're the dominant ones. Their
performances are a really good sign for Atswhatimtalknbout. I think we're a
better horse than Ten Most Wanted. We could have beat Empire Maker in the Derby
with a little racing luck.
"I was just glad to see that bunch hold their form going against the
3-year-olds that didn't run in the Derby, like Dynever. He was thought to be
something special but it turned out he wasn't able to compete (with them).
"But the 3-year-old crop this year, going into the Derby, if you
look at numbers and Sheets and that kind of stuff, looked like an extremely
solid group. I think the ones that ran in the Derby were extremely strong and
they're still holding their form."
THE HOMESTRETCH: Bobby Frankel said that Zenda, a Group 1 winner in
Europe and a candidate for this year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, has
been retired, so don't waste any money on her in the Future Book betting.