Nine 2012 winners among pre-entries for next week's Breeders' Cup

awincze@herald-leader.comOctober 23, 2013 

Wise Dan, with John Velazquez up, won the Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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The previous 29 Breeders' Cups have seen just a dozen horses win two or more editions of one of the World Championship races.

This year's 30th running of the two-day event stands a heavy favorite to bolster that figure as nine 2012 race winners, including reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan and two-time Distaff winner Royal Delta, were among the 172 horses pre-entered for the 2013 Breeders' Cup being held at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2.

The number is down slightly from the 180 who pre-entered in 2012. However, the Breeders' Cup dropped the Juvenile Sprint from its lineup this year, reducing its number of races to 14 from the 15 it had been the past two seasons.

Wise Dan (Mile), Fort Larned (Classic), Royal Delta (Distaff), Little Mike (Turf), Beholder (Juvenile Fillies), Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint), Trinniberg (Sprint), Mizdirection (Turf Sprint) and Flotilla (Juvenile Fillies Turf) are the nine 2012 winners pre-entered in races this year.

The headline $5 million Classic has the top four finishers from 2012 (Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out and Ron the Greek) among its 13 pre-entries as well as leading Horse of the Year candidate Game On Dude, who will be making his third consecutive start in the 11/4-mile test.

Second in the 2011 Classic and seventh last year, Game On Dude is unbeaten in five starts in 2013 including Grade I wins in the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic.

"You need racing luck but he's a much better horse this year," said Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, trainer of Game On Dude.

There will be five Breeders' Cup races on Friday and nine Breeders' Cup races Saturday. The standout event of Friday's card, the $2 million Distaff, had just six horses pre-entered but couldn't ask for much more quality.

Royal Delta, who was pre-entered in the Distaff only, is seeking to become the first three-time winner of the race but will face top 3-year-old fillies Princess of Sylmar and champion Beholder. Princess of Sylmar bested Royal Delta in the Grade I Beldame with Beholder also taking down older females in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes.

"She ran great in the Beldame and ... has given us every indication that she has maintained her form," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of 2013 Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar.

Pletcher has nine horses pre-entered, with Chad Brown leading all trainers with 11 pre-entries. Nicholasville-based Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the nation's leading owners, have pre-entered the most horses of all owners in this Breeders' Cup with seven.

The Breeders' Cup retains an international flare as 24 of the pre-entrants are from outside North America. Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 4-year-old filly The Fugue, who was third in last year's Filly & Mare Turf, might be the best bet of the bunch as she is slated to take on males this year in the Turf.

The Fugue comes into the race off consecutive Group I victories in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes against male rivals.

The $2 million Mile features 16 pre-entrants, but three of those have first preference in another Breeders' Cup race. Morton Fink's homebred Wise Dan set a course record in last year's Mile but saw his nine-race win streak snapped by fellow Mile entrant Silver Max in Keeneland's Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile, which was taken off the turf and run on the Polytrack.

A maximum of 14 starters are allowed in each of the 14 Breeders' Cup World Championships races with the exception of the Dirt Mile (12). If fields are oversubscribed, a system ranks horses in order of preference based on Breeders' Cup Challenge race winners, a point system, and the judgment of a panel of racing experts.

There will be up to two also-eligible horses for each championship race.

This year's Breeders' Cup will mark the seventh time it has been at Santa Anita Park and the Arcadia track will host the event for a third consecutive year in 2014.

Breeders' Cup pre-entries

At Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (Odds by Mike Watchmaker, the national handicapper for the Daily Racing Form)

Friday, Nov. 1

Marathon

Purse: $500,000Distance: 13/4 miles

For: 3 and olderPost time: 4:45 p.m. EDT

Favorite: Worldly (4-1)

Juvenile Turf

Purse: $1 millionDistance: 1 mile

For: 2-year-oldsPost time: 5:25 p.m.

Favorite: Bobby's Kitten (5-2)

Dirt Mile

Purse: $1 millionDistance: 1 mile

For: 3 and olderPost time: 6:05 p.m.

Favorite: Graydar (5-2)

Juvenile Fillies Turf

Purse: $1 millionDistance: 1 mile

For: 2-year-oldsPost time: 6:50 p.m.

Favorite: Clenor (4-1)

DISTAFF

Purse: $2 millionDistance: 11⁄8 miles

For: 3 and olderPost time: 7:35 p.m.

Favorite: Royal Delta (2-1)

Saturday, Nov. 2

Juvenile Fillies

Purse: $2 millionDistance: 11⁄16 miles

For: 2-year-oldsPost time: 3:05 p.m.

Favorite: Sweet Reason (3-1)

Filly & Mare Turf

Purse: $2 millionDistance: 11/4 miles

For: 3 and olderPost time: 3:43 p.m.

Favorite: The Fugue (2-1)

Filly & Mare Sprint

Purse: $1 millionDistance: 7 furlongs

For: 3 and olderPost time: 4:21 p.m.

Favorite: Groupie Doll (3-1)

Turf Sprint

Purse: $1 millionDistance: 61/2 furlongs

For: 3 and olderPost time: 5:05 p.m.

Favorite: Obviously (3-1)

Juvenile

Purse: $2 millionDistance: 11⁄16 miles

For: 2-year-oldsPost time: 5:43 p.m.

Favorite: Havana (5-2)

Turf

Purse: $3 millionDistance: 11/2 miles

For: 3 and olderPost time: 6:22 p.m.

Favorite: The Fugue (4-1)

Sprint

Purse: $1.5 millionDistance: 6 furlongs

For: 3 and olderPost time: 7:01 p.m.

Favorite: Pointsoffthebench (7-2)

Mile

Purse: $2 millionDistance: 1 mile

For: 3 and olderPost time: 7:40 p.m.

Favorite: Wise Dan (8-5)

Classic

Purse: $5 millionDistance: 11/4 miles

For: 3 and olderPost time: 8:35 p.m.

Pre-entered: Game On Dude (5-2), Mucho Macho Man (5-1), Fort Larned (6-1), Ron the Greek (8-1), Flat Out (10-1), Palace Malice (12-1), Will Take Charge (12-1), Declaration of War (15-1), Graydar (15-1), Paynter (15-1), Last Gunfighter (20-1), Moreno (20-1), Planteur (30-1).

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.

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