News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
ZENYATTA APPEARS LIKELY TO RISK UNDEFEATED STREAK AGAINST MALES AS CUP PRE-ENTRIES ARE ANNOUNCED
Led by the undefeated Zenyatta, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Summer Bird, and European standouts Goldikova (IRE) and Rip Van Winkle (IRE), 166 horses, including 10 defending or former Breeders’ Cup Champions, have been pre-entered for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The 26th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s richest and most prestigious global event, consisting of 14 races and purses totaling $25.5 million, will be held at Santa Anita Park on Friday, Nov., 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7 during the Oak Tree Racing Association meeting. This will mark the first time that the Breeders’ Cup will be held at the same track in consecutive years.
“Based on the strength of the pre-entries, in a little more than a week at Santa Anita, racing fans around the world will be treated to full fields of the best horses from both the U.S. and abroad,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli.
Zenyatta, the 5-year-old supermare, winner of all 13 of her career starts including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, has been pre-entered to race against an outstanding international lineup of male horses in the 1 ¼-mile, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta has won all four of her starts this year against female competition. Zenyatta, who has also been pre-entered in the Ladies’ Classic on Championship Friday, has never before raced against males. If Zenyatta can win at the Breeders’ Cup again this year, she will surpass the mark of Personal Ensign, who also won all 13 of her career starts while facing top competition.
For Shirreffs, the race selection for Zenyatta will come down to her training and not the strength of her prospective opponents in the two races. “I haven’t seen all the pre-entries, but I’m familiar with most of the horses in there,” he said. “Really, the only factor will be Zenyatta. We knew the Classic would be tough no matter who enters in the race. So if she’s doing well, and that’s the direction the Mosses want to go in…then we’ll go.”
Zenyatta’s main challengers in the Classic come from an array of international standouts led by Summer Bird, winner of three grade I races. Trained by Tim Ice, Summer Bird got rolling during the second half of the year, capturing the Belmont Stakes, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Last year, European horses won five Breeders’ Cup races and ran one-two (Raven’s Pass and Henrythenavigator) in last year’s Classic. This year, there are 37 horses from Europe pre-entered. Trainer Aidan O’Brien brings two 3-year-old standouts for this year’s Classic in Rip Van Winkle (IRE) and Mastercraftsman (IRE). Rip Van Winkle captured the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in September. Mastercraftsman won the St. James’s Palace at Royal Ascot in June and most recently took the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland by five lengths. Mastercraftsman has also been pre-entered in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Also in the Classic field is this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who is winless in three starts since capturing the Run for the Roses.
Zenyatta is one of a record 10 defending or former Breeders’ Cup Champions to be pre-entered. Ventura (Filly & Mare Sprint); Forever Together (Filly & Mare Turf); Maram (Juvenile Fillies Turf); Muhannak (IRE) (Marathon); Desert Code (Turf Sprint); Goldikova (Mile); Midshipman (Juvenile); Conduit (IRE) (Turf) and Red Rocks (IRE) (2006 Turf) are the others. Final entries for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races will be taken on Tuesday, November 3.
NEW JOCKEY WAGER HIGHLIGHTS BC WAGERING MENU, RACE ORDER ANNOUNCEMENT
The race order and wagering menu was announced today for the 26th Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be held on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. This year’s wagering menu includes two all Breeders’ Cup Pick Sixes, $5.5 million in guaranteed pools, 10-cent Superfectas, rolling Pick 3’s, and two new betting propositions: a Ladies’ Classic – a Breeders’ Cup Head2Head Jockey Bet, and a Ladies’ Classic-Breeders’ Cup Classic daily double bet, which combines the winner of Friday’s featured event with the winner of Saturday’s marquee race.
The Breeders’ Cup Head2Head Jockey Bet challenges fans to select which rider will win the most races among the 14 Breeders’ Cup Events. The bet will offer 13 individual betting entities plus a field option consisting of all jockeys not individually named. Should two or more jockeys tie for most wins, the result will be treated as a dead heat.
There will be a total of 9 races (including six Breeders’ Cup races) worth $8.8 million on the Championship Friday program and 10 races (eight Breeders’ Cup races) worth over $17 million on Championship Saturday. Championship Friday begins with two Oak Tree allowance races beginning at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time. The first Breeders’ Cup race on the program will be the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (12:35 p.m.) followed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (1:08 p.m.); $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (1:45 p.m.); $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2:23 p.m.); $1 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (3:02 p.m.) and the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (3:45 p.m.). The Las Palmas Stakes (4:25 p.m.) concludes the Friday program.
On Championship Saturday, first post time is 10:05 a.m. Pacific Time starting with the Damascus Stakes, followed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (10:45 a.m.); $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (11:23 a.m.); $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (12:10 p.m.); $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (12:49 p.m.); $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (1:28 p.m.); $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (2:12 p.m.); $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (2:57 p.m.) and the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (3:45 p.m.). The Oak Tree Derby at 4:25 p.m. follows the Classic.
Each Breeders’ Cup World Championships race will feature a maximum of 14 horses and wagering interests, with the exception of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which have a maximum of 12 horses. In addition to the standard Win, Place and Show betting, there will be Exacta, Trifecta and 10-cent Superfecta wagering on every race; and rolling Pick 3 wagers beginning with the first race and continuing through all races on both Championship Friday and Championship Saturday. Each day’s Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick Six wager will have a guaranteed pool and feature only Championships races. Friday’s Ultra Pick 6 will have a guaranteed gross pool of $500,000 and Saturday’s Ultra Pick 6 will feature a $2 million guaranteed gross pool. If no one hits the Friday Ultra Pick 6, the pool will carry over into Saturday’s Ultra Pick 6. The wager will be paid out at the end of the Saturday program. There will also be three guaranteed Pick 4 pools over the two days. Friday’s all-Championships Pick 4 will have a guaranteed pool of $500,000. On Saturday, the early all-Championships Pick 4 will have a $1 million guaranteed gross pool and the late all-Championships Pick 4 will have a $1.5 million gross pool.
BREEDERS’ CUP OR BUST TOUR UNDERWAY
Breeders’ Cup Or Bust – a fundraising “drive” of the online publication “The Paulick Report” – kicked off its 10-day, seven-city tour yesterday with a close-to-home first stop at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Breeders’ Cup Or Bust’s ultimate destination is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 6-7 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
The drive, undertaken by racing journalist Ray Paulick and his Paulick Report partner Brad Cummings, will raise money for Breeders’ Cup Charities benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Already, more than $20,000 has been raised by the effort.
At Keeneland yesterday, 10 members of the jockey colony autographed 2009 Breeders’ Cup hats that were sold for $15.00 each. Later in the day, Paulick participated in a handicapping challenge with money provided by Breeders’ Cup and TVG.
“We have been blessed with enough success to be able to give back to our community,” Paulick said. “Not only will we have the opportunity to support our own athletes, but we will be able to raise funds for one of the top cancer research charities in the country. It’s important as an industry that we show charitable leadership both inside and outside our community.”
The tour also will include special promotions at Hawthorne Race Course in the Chicago area; Remington Park in Oklahoma City; Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico; Turf Paradise in Phoenix and a sports book in Las Vegas. The Paulick Report will chronicle its journey at paulickreport.com.
Paulick and Cummings will be making fundraising appeals to the public and accepting donations on a per-mile basis. Individuals, businesses or charitable foundations also may sponsor each segment of the drive, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the two charities. Donations also can be made online at breederscup.com/bccharities2.aspx. Additional information about Breeders’ Cup Or Bust is available at paulickreport.com or by email at email@example.com.
TICKETS FOR 2010 CUP AT STAKE AS NTRA PRESENTS “BREEDERS’ CUP PICK EM CHALLENGE”
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) will host a free, online handicapping competition — the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Pick ‘Em Challenge — in which contestants will make a mythical $2.00 win and place wager on each of the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races to be run at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on November 6-7. The person accumulating the highest mythical bankroll from the 14 races will receive four tickets to the 2010 Breeders’ Cup next November at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
There is no cost to play the Challenge, which can be accessed by visiting www.ntra.com.
“The Pick ‘Em Challenge provides an easy, straightforward way for both casual and core fans to test their handicapping skills at picking winners over two of the best betting days in all of sports,” said Keith Chamblin, Senior Vice President of the NTRA. “We look forward to hosting the winner and his or her guests in Louisville next year.”