The 28th running of the Breeders’ Cup should culminate with Goldikova going for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Mile victory and the best horses in the world fighting it out for the $5 million Classic.
The Classic is being built up as a potential duel between the talented Uncle Mo and this year’s “super filly” Havre de Grace but the race appears to be deeper than those two.
Here is a quick look at the Classic field:
1 – Prayer for Relief – Trainer Bob Baffert announced on Tuesday that he would scratch his colt because of a fever.
2 – Flat Out – He has been one of the most consistent horses all year and is very familiar with Churchill Downs as he spends part of the year under the Twin Spires. Oddly enough, he has yet to win in two starts at Churchill but will still be formidable if he can break through on Central Avenue.
3 – Drosselmeyer – He is best known for winning the Belmont Stakes in 2010 but has yet to recapture that glory. He has shown flashes this year including his runner up finish to Flat Out last month at Belmont.
4 – Ruler On Ice – This year’s Belmont winner hasn’t repeated his stellar performance when he beat Animal Kingdom and Shackleford in the final leg of the Triple Crown. If the track comes up wet, that might serve as his best chance to upset this field.
5 – So You Think – The most well traveled horse in the field makes his U.S. debut after becoming a racing star in Australia in 2009-2010. His success continued in Europe this year but he will need to prove that he can run on dirt, which he has never done before.
6 – Ice Box – After showing tremendous promise with his 2010 Kentucky Derby runner-up finish, the Nick Zito trained colt returns to Churchill in hopes of showing that same brilliance. The son of Pulpit will need to repeat his Derby effort if he hopes for any chance to win.
7 – Rattlesnake Bridge – The lightly raced 3-year-old colt is improving with each start and his runner-up finish to Stay Thirsty in the Travers was his best effort to date. The question going into the Classic is how big of a step forward will he take when he faces older horses for the first time.
8 – Game on Dude - Trainer Bob Baffert’s best hope to win his first Classic rests with this son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again. He has two big wins, both in Southern California, and now “the dude” must prove he can win two events like that in a row.
9 – Stay Thirsty – The hottest 3-year-old in the country was a disappointment earlier this year when he 12th in the Kentucky Derby but rebounded with a runner-up finish in the Belmont. After he swept the two big sophomore races at Saratoga (Jim Dandy and Travers) he finished third to Flat Out and Drosselmeyer in his last race. Now, the question will be can he win outside of New York, which he has yet to do.
10 – Havre de Grace – Last year, Zenyatta attempted to beat the boys for the second straight year in the Classic but fell just short to Blame. Now this super filly, who has won 5 of 6 this year, will try to look to become just the second female to win this event. He biggest Achilles heel could simply be the distance of the Classic – 1 ¼ miles. She has lost both times running that far (all against her gender) and now will have to do that against the boys.
11 – Headache – The other “local” horse in the field will need to improve off his fifth place finish in The Whitney to have any shot. He does have two big advantages though – He has three victories at Churchill Downs and has a win at the 1 ¼ miles distance.
12 – Uncle Mo – There were such high hopes for last year’s 2-year-old champion after he cruised to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He was expected to be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby but a rare liver ailment kept him out of the Triple Crown and away from the races from late April until August. After a runner-up finish at Saratoga in August, he cruised to an easy and impressive win at Belmont last month. His ability has never been in question but can Mo beat the best horses in the world at 1 ¼ miles?
13 – To Honor And Serve – Another colt that was expected to be formidable as 3-year-old but he yet to win a big race this year. His last race was impressive but it wasn’t even close to the level of horses he’s running against on Saturday.