The Breeder's Cup World Championships will again return to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA for the third consecutive year. Two days of world championship racing on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 will showcase talented horses on North America's richest day. Each week we will take a look at the contenders and also the latest news on horses that may ship in for specific races. This week will be a look at three divisions the Breeder's Cup Sprint, Dirt Mile, and Classic.
XpressBet Breeder's Cup Sprint:
Big Macher - A former maiden claimer Big Macher, a son of Beau Genius, will point directly to the XpressBet Breeder's Cup Sprint. Trainer Richard Baltas' horse pulled off a 9-1 upset in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar on July 27. The Bing Crosby was a race run at six furlongs, the same distance as the Breeder's Cup Sprint. In his last start, Big Macher couldn't get to the lead in G2 Pat O'Brien at seven furlongs in a dull effort. His connections have now said they will give him time to rest up so they have a fresh horse for the Cup.
The G1 Forego at Saratoga Race Course Sat, Aug. 30 will clear up the division on the east coast. Clearly Now, trained by Brian Lynch, ran a monster figure in the G3 Belmont Sprint at seven furlongs but can he duplicate his 6 1/4 length victory. Palace and Vyjack look to progress early in their careers as they focus on sprinting as opposed to routes. Falling Sky is another who could prove he is best at the six furlong distance. Capo Bastone will run on from the back of the pack and will need world record pace in front of him at Santa Anita should he make it into the BC Sprint.
Goldencents - The 2013 Breeder's Cup Dirt Mile winner should be back and attempt to repeat this year. Last year Goldencents opened up on the field and never looked back in a record setting performance. Some skeptics felt the track was only playing to speed that day which aided his victory. Whatever the reason Goldencents, by Into Mischief, has never finished worse than second in California for trainer Doug O'Neill. His last start was in dominant fashion and set a track record at Del Mar in the G2 Pat O'Brien.
Fed Biz - Finished second to Goldencents in the Pat O'Brien in what looked to be a tuneup for the Dirt Mile. Trainer Bob Baffert has always liked his ability but his running style is a bit of a question. Some races he can get to the lead but came from far back in his last start. Fed Biz is more suited to the Mile than the Sprint.
The match-up could be set for two of the most exciting 3-year-olds in 2014 to meet in the Breeder's Cup Classic. California Chrome needs no introduction. California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in dominant fashion. What's even scarier is his love for Santa Anita's main track. California Chrome dominated the west coast division this year and will be one of the favorites for the Classic based on reputation. Most of the runners from previous years have moved on so it is time for the 3-year-olds to step up. Reports have California Chrome going to the G2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing in Philadelphia, PA.
California Chrome did dominate the 3-year-old division this year but one horse was missing at the time. Shared Belief, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is the now horse. Shared Belief is undefeated in all his starts and has run on several different surfaces. The gelding has yet to run on Santa Anita's main track which will be the only question entering the race. Shared Belief is by Candy Ride and should no doubt handle the distance. If both runners reach the BC Classic on Nov. 1, the crowd could be in for a show. Not saying it's Ferdinand and Alysheba but two rivals with proven form makes for an exciting scenario. As far as the human connections, the banter between owners Jim Rome (Shared Belief) and Steve Coburn (California Chrome) could be front page material.