Fridays win by Untapable laid down the gauntlet for the boys in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Her win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic capped off a brilliant three-year-old campaign, the type that puts her name right in the conversation for Horse of the Year.
With last years Horse of the Year Wise Dan out of contention, the focus for the coveted prize falls on a trio of contenders in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A victory by any one of these three horses could steer the conversation back in their direction.
Shared Belief – The horse in the proverbial drivers seat is Shared Belief; a Kentucky bred owned by sports personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Stables. Shared Belief is out of the Argentinian sire Candy Ride, and the dam Common Hope who is a daughter of the great sire Storm Cat. Undefeated in seven races, Shared Belief has won on synthetic and dirt surfaces and from distances of 6 furlongs to the classic distance of a mile and 1/4.
Two races back he defeated Game on Dude who was the apex predator of the California racing scene for years. In his last race, The Awesome Again Stakes, Shared Belief added another notch on his belt when he overcame a world of traffic trouble and ground loss to prove he could win a race with a target on his back. A win on Saturday would solidify this horse as a possible unanimous winner for Horse of the Year.
California Chrome – Oh how quickly we forget, just six months ago the sports world was all a flutter about a sleek looking horse from the sunshine state. A win in the Belmont Stakes by California Chrome and horse racing would breath a long sigh of relief, as they would have gotten the 34-year Triple Crownless monkey off of their back. Unfortunately that was not to be, as California Chrome would show signs of weariness tiring to forth place in the Belmont Stakes. After a much-needed layoff the son of Lucky Pulpit found himself once again back east to begin his second half racing campaign. Unfortunately the seven-time stakes winner looked very flat, as he could not mount an attack in the Pennsylvania Derby, and finishing a disappointing sixth.
One thing that was taken from that race was that California Chrome does not like to be on the rail and inside of horses. In the Breeders’ Cup Classic, California Chrome drew post 13, an outside spot that would seem like a clear disadvantage to most . However trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza know how much their horse will relish sitting outside of the field and make his winning kick for home. If he is able to do this and pull of a win in the Classic, California Chrome may again stake his claim for Horse of the Year.
Tonalist – There is a horse from the New York City area that can come in and make life miserable for these two California runners. That horse is Tonalist, who has quietly put together a nice resume this year. That resume began in New York with a win in the Peter Pan Stakes followed by his big win in the Belmont. In true New York fashion, Tonalist made sure that California Chrome would not just come into New York and take what was rightfully his. Now after his win in the highly touted and harshly contested Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Tonalist will have the chance to come into California and steal the back the battle for Horse of the Year into his camp. That camp consists of east coast horsemen like trainer Christophe Clement, owner Robert S. Evans, and NY jockey Joel Rosario.
Although a win by Bayern would certainly put him in the mix, this would only be his first win in a race against older horses, and I don’t feel that alone would solidify a Horse of the Year award.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the 12th and last race of the two-day Breeders’ Cup. The feature race of the card, the purse for the Classic is $5million dollars Post time for the race is scheduled for 8:35 PM EST
Breeders’ Cup Classic
1. Prayer For Relief (30-1)
2. Cigar Street (12-1)
3. Imperative (30-1)
4. Moreno (20-1)
5. V.E. Day (20-1)
6. Shared Belief (9-5)
7 .Bayern (6-1)
8. Zivo (15-1)
9. Toast of New York (12-1)
10. Footbridge (30-1)
11. Tonalist (5-1)
12. Candy Boy (20-1)
13. California Chrome (4-1)
14. Majestic Harbor (20-1)