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Views on Breeders Cup
are “Young’s at heart’’

Oct 19, 2004 12:27 AM

Racing is short on fans, horses and unity, but as long as the game plods along, it will never lack opinions. Everybody has one, in particular Gary Young, Southern California’s consummate and candid clocker, horse trader and gambler, whose views could help turn a profit on Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship day at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Following is Young’s subjective slant on racing’s greatest day:

JUVENILE--"Roman Ruler is the best 2-year-old on the West Coast and for a while I thought he might be the best horse I’ve seen in a few years. Right now I’m not saying he is and I’m not saying he isn’t. Proud Accolade and Afleet Alex are nice horses but with their pedigrees (Yes It’s True and Northern Afleet) you have to worry about how far they’ll run. I didn’t like the way Bellamy Road stopped (in the Champagne). Consolidator, who won the Lane’s End Futurity, is OK, but I think this is Roman Ruler’s race to lose even though a lot of people are off the bandwagon"

DISTAFF—"Sightseek isn’t going to run and I wasn’t nuts about how she jogged back after her win in the Beldame anyway so it’s probably a good thing she’s retiring. Azeri should run against fillies. She shouldn’t run against colts (in the Classic). She won’t be the strongest favorite on the card but she definitely deserves to be favored. Island Fashion ran well in (winning) the Lady’s Secret. Society Selection and Storm Flag Flying got taken out of their natural styles when the chased Sightseek in the Beldame."

TURF—"I won’t deny Kitten’s Joy’s win (in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic) wasn’t impressive but the ride on (runner-up) Magistretti was beyond belief. That made Kitten’s Joy’s race look that much better. Why the horse was up on the pace and why he (Edgar Prado) cut him loose at the time that he did is just beyond me. As in most years, the European horses probably are stronger than ours. I would think it’s Kitten’s Joy but it’s going to be interesting to see how some of these horses run this year when they put security in front of their stalls for 48 hours before the race."

MILE—"Julio (Canani) has done a marvelous job with Special Ring. He’s not the easiest horse to train and he’s not the soundest horse in the world. (The filly) Musical Chimes is OK. Even though her (nose) win (in the Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile) was a great race to watch, I don’t think those four horses that hit the wire together (Musical Chimes, Buckland Manor, Singletary and Gondolieri) can run against the best Europe has to offer. (Buckland Manor and Gondolieri will not run in the Mile). Nothing to Lose looked very good winning the Shadwell Mile but I’m not sure what he beat."

FILLY & MARE TURF—"By (Bobby) Frankel’s own admission, Light Jig didn’t beat the strongest field in the world when she won the Yellow Ribbon but she did run good. Riskaverse is a grinder. If the Europeans bring close to their ”˜A’ group here, by American standards, I don’t think that’s their strongest division this year."

JUVENILE FILLIES—"Sweet Catomine is a very good filly as is Sense of Style. Balletto is a very nice filly. She’ll run as far as they can write races. She just keeps coming at you. She doesn’t really have the blast of Sweet Catomine but she keeps coming at you."

SPRINT—"I don’t know what happened to Pico Central at Del Mar in the Pat O’Brien (fading to third). It was a horrible performance. He’s the horse to beat if he runs (owner Gary Tanaka has opted not to put up $200,000 to supplement Pico Central, who instead will go in the Cigar Mile). Speightstown has given Todd Pletcher some problems throughout his career. He hasn’t been the easiest horse to keep sound. That’s been well-documented but on his best day he’s pretty good. I don’t think Kela is a three-quarter-of-a-mile horse. I don’t think that’s exactly his gig. From a karma standpoint, the whole world is going to be rooting against Cajun Beat. Not only did he (Padua Stables owner Satish Sanaan) fire the trainer (Steve Margolis; the horse is now trained by Frankel) who won the race (Sprint) for him last year, he didn’t even pay his expenses."

CLASSIC—"If you want to question Richard Mandella bringing Pleasantly Perfect off of a lengthy layoff, remember, the guy won four of these races last year. If he was oh-for-his-life or had the record some other trainers have in the Breeders’ Cup you could question him, but the guy won four of these things last year. The horse is training great and until someone knocks him off I think he’s the king of the hill. You don’t have to worry about Mandella’s horses regressing on Breeders’ Cup day."

The homestretch

On the surface, the best 2-year-old colt on the West Coast is Roman Ruler, but don’t dismiss Seize the Day, who won his first start in scintillating fashion by 11 lengths on Oct. 11. The son of Montbrook, owned by Bob Shephard and trained by Kristin Mulhall, covered six furlongs in 1:09.87. Mulhall said they have been deluged with offers to purchase the colt and the prospective new owners have definite designs on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

"There are a bunch of people looking to buy him," Mulhall said. "If he stays with me, I would run him in his next condition race, or perhaps the Sunny Slope Stakes (on Saturday). We knew he was going to be a nice horse. That’s why they want to buy him now, to run him in the Breeders Cup."

”¡ TV ratings of horse racing in the Los Angeles area are like a Stealth bomber flying below the radar — undetectable, according to Nielsen ratings of Oct. 9-10 listed in the Los Angeles Times. The ratings weren’t measurable, thus not listed, falling below the 0.2 of the Nevada-Hawaii football game on Saturday and lower than the 0.1 of beach volleyball (on tape yet) Sunday.

”¡ Spotted in LA: A driver who was not, repeat "not" on a cell phone.