The Brock Talk

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sentimental Favorites

With no regard to wagering or handicapping, there are a few horses headed for the Breeders' Cup that I'm going to be pulling for. My money will probably be elsewhere, but for one reason or another, these horses have captured my affection at some point this year.

Mine That Bird, Classic: It's not that I have any affinity toward his connections although I have warmed up to trainer Chip Woolley Jr. as a trainer. I'd like to see the guy off of those darn crutches pretty soon though. I don't think repeating Unbridled's Derby/Classic will be anything historical although it would open the discussion for Champion Three-Year-Old Male which would be kind of fun.

But what I'd like to see from the little gelding is that amazing kick we saw in the Derby and got a glimse of in the Preakness. After his performance in the grade 1 Goodwood at the Oak Tree meeting recently, however, that doesn't look likely.

Presious Passion, Turf: Finding horses that can go wire-to-wire on the turf successfully and consistently at any level is a rarity. To find a horse that can do it while racing in grade 1 company is just downright a blast.

We all remember that one-mile run in high school P.E. class and the goofy kid that just started sprinting at the beginning of the race only to tire and lucky to finish. Well that's Presious Passion. Except he keeps on going just as he did in the grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park and recently in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 11.

The Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita starts on a downhill run too, so that should be a benefit to a natural speedster like Presious Passion. I'd say exclude the "goofy" label but I'm not the one who filled out his foal papers.

Dublin, Juvenile: After winning the grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga with Dublin, it looked like trainer D. Wayne Lukas may have plenty of amunition for a run at his sixth Breeders' Cup Juvenile in Dublin. But he ran a dull fifth, beating one horse in the Champagne (gr. 1) at Belmont and now he's a longshot.

Lukas has won 20% of all Breeders' Cup Juveniles run and took three consecutive from 1986-'88 with Capote, Success Express and Is It True. He also won with Timber County in 1984 and Boston Harbor two years later. It would be nice to see him take another.

Ventura, Filly and Mare Sprint; Proviso, Ladies Classic; Visit, Filly and Mare Turf: All horses trained by Bobby Frankel who is battling cancer at his home near Santa Anita. It took 40 starts in the Breeders' Cup before he got his first win with Squirtle Squirt in the 2001 Sprint and he only has five total victories from 72 starts so he hasn't had a great deal of luck in the Breeders' Cup. Ventura presents his best chance this year but here's hoping the Hall of Fame trainer goes three-for-three this year.

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