It was another busy weekend for horses trying to gain automatic entry to various Breeders’ Cup races to be run at Del Mar on Nov. 3 and 4.
But before we get to those performances, I need to clarify something I wrote in last week’s column about a specific “win and you’re in” race.
Specifically, I wrote that the filly Avenge – winner of the Rodeo Stakes at Santa Anita – would be a longshot in the $4 million BCup Turf, which is true! But, her performance in the Rodeo made her automatically eligible for the $2 million BCup Filly & Mare Turf, where she also would be a longshot.
Given the difference in purses for these two BCup events – and given that the top two finishers in France’s prestigious Arc d’Triomphe, Enable and Cloth of Stars, are skipping the $4 million BCup Turf, I expressed my view that Avenge would be better off racing in the $4 million race. My two principal thoughts about this were:
• Lady Eli would be a formidable foe in the $2 million BCup F&M Turf, given that Avenge has been unable to handle Lady Eli in prior meetings.
• The absence of the two Arc finishers in the $4 million Turf could be better for Avenge, even though she would be a longshot there as well.
Apparently, my thoughts about this were similar to Avenge’s Hall of Fame trainer, Dick Mandella, who told me a few days ago he is not yet sure which race Avenge will attempt.
“Frankly,” he said, “the weaker competition for the $4 million race is something I need to seriously consider. Given that,” he continued, “I won’t make my decision ’til we get closer to entry day.”
While the complete list of America’s “win and you’re in” races for 2017 are spelled out adjacent tof this column, here were my impressions of those races run this Saturday in New York, Kentucky and Southern California. Beyer Figures and pertinent impressions are included.
At Belmont Park
Firenze rallied to win the $500K for 2-year-olds to earn a respectable 90 Beyer Speed Figure.
By comparison, Bolt d’Oro won the Frontrunner at SA, Sept. 30, with a 100 Beyer.
Diversify was an impressive wire-to-wire winner of the $750K Jockey Club Gold Cup, with a 107 Beyer, as he held off stretch running Keen Ice. Both seem likely for the $6 million BCup Classic.
Finley’sluckycharm did win the 6-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America; but his 94 Beyer says he will be a longshot in the BCup Sprint.
Zipessa scored a respectable 100 Beyer upsetting the $400K First Lady to earn a spot in the F&M Turf.
Free Drop Billy won the $500K Breeders’ Futurity with a modest 79 Beyer. Must improve sharply to threaten Bolt d’Oro in the BCup Juvenile.
Suedois finished strongly in his American debut to win the Shadwell Turf Mile with a good 105 Figure. I’ll keep tabs on this one.
At Santa Anita
Roy H earned a terrific 110 Beyer Figure winning the $300K SA Sprint to loom a threat to the top BCup sprinters.
As previously stated, here is the complete list of 2017 American based BCup win-and-your-in races.