Tuesday, October 27, 2015
American Pharoah Draws Post 4 and Is Installed as Favorite for Breeders’ Cup Classic
American Pharoah drew post 4 for his first race of 2015. Ditto for his final race of the year. He has been installed the 6-5 program favorite for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Saturday at Keeneland, the Triple Crown winner’s final career start before entering stud. Post positions for the 13 Breeders’ Cup races Friday and Saturday, including the 1 ¼-mile Classic, were drawn Monday.
“The four is fine and I'm happy with the post,” said Baffert. “It looks like everybody drew pretty well. The important thing is that the horse is doing really well. We're just focused. We have to ship well. Everything has to go well. I'm worried about the rain coming in tomorrow. Once we get there and get settled down, everything will feel better. But we're still day-to-day with little things. But right now I feel really happy with the way he's going in. Right now he's fantastic so we're really getting excited. I think the Classic has an incredible field and that's what the Breeders' Cup is supposed to be. The best horses are in it. I'd like to see a lot softer field. It's a tough race.”
American Pharoah drew post 4, the same spot he broke from in his 3-year-old debut, the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn. He returned to Oaklawn to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11, then became racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978. The champion will be making his first start since suffering his only loss this year, a runner-up finish in the $1.6 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
American Pharoah has worked seven times leading up to Saturday’s race, including a half-mile in :46.60 Monday Santa Anita.
“He worked in forty-six, but it was forty-six easy,” said Justin Zayat, racing manager for his family’s Zayat Stable. “We’re very, very happy. We could not be happier with him. He’s right on target. He always works well every week so it’s no surprise to us. But we can see that right now he’s in the zone. He’s feeling it, and that’s the feeling he’s giving everyone right now. All systems are go and we’re expecting a huge race from him.”
American Pharoah was flown Tuesday from his West Coast base to Kentucky.
Nine other horses are entered in the Classic, including two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, the early 3-1 second choice who will be facing males for the first time. Tonalist, Keen Ice, Frosted, Gleneagles, Effinex, Smooth Roller, Hard Aces and Honor Code are also entered. Hard Aces finished sixth in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11.
Probable post time for the Breeders’ Cup Classic is 4:35 p.m. (Central).
Oaklawn and the Cup
In addition to American Pharoah, two other 2015 Racing Festival of the South winners, are scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup. Oaklawn’s annual Racing Festival of the South traditionally features at least one stakes race daily during the final week of the meeting.
Alsvid (50-1 on the morning line) drew the rail for Saturday’s $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The gelding scored his biggest career victory to date in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.
Holy Boss (15-1) drew post 7 for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He won the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes April 10 at Oaklawn.
One other Oaklawn stakes winner this year, Ivan Fallunovalot, is entered in the Sprint. The King Cotton winner (30-1) drew post 6. The Hot Springs winner, Gentlemen’s Bet (30-1), was the lone also-eligible for the 6-furlong race, but was declared from the race Tuesday morning.
Habitually slow-starting Kobe’s Back, seventh in last year’s $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn, drew post 2 for the Sprint. Kobe’s Back is 15-1 on the morning line.
Defending champion Untapable was entered in Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), but withdrawn from the 1 1/8-mile race Tuesday because of a fever. Untapable, the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2014, won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn.
“After she worked yesterday, she was scoped and they found a little bit of mucus,” said David Fiske, owner Winchell Thoroughbred’s racing manager. “Everyone had a panicked reaction, but then we thought that maybe we could fix it and she would eat up well. Her blood-work from Monday morning came back good, but she didn’t eat up last night and this morning and this morning she had a low-grade temperature. At that point, it’s game-over and start treating her with antibiotics.
Stopchargingmaria, fourth in last year’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn, drew post 4 for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She is 5-1 on the morning line.
Mr. Z (50-1) and Tapiture (10-1) drew posts 4 and 9, respectively, for Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Tapiture won the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn. Mr. Z finished third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) this year at Oaklawn.
Three-time Oaklawn winner Street Strategy (50-1) drew post 6 for the Dirt Mile.
Taris (12-1) drew post 3 for Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Sprint (G1) at 7 furlongs.
Taris suffered her first career defeat in last year’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee is Taris’ only start around two turns.
Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading rider the last three years, rode 12 winners to finish third in the standings at the 17-day Keeneland fall meeting that concluded Saturday.
Santana didn’t ride a winner during the first six days of the meeting, but had six victories over the final three days.
Santana rode three winners Friday – all for main client and six-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen – including Bold Conquest in a first-level allowance race.
After nine consecutive losses (all in stakes events) Bold Conquest won the 1 1/16-mile race by three lengths.
Bold Conquest, a 3-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, wintered at Oaklawn and ran fourth in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), third in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and fifth in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).
Santana rode nine of his 12 winners at Keeneland for Asmussen. The jockey also rode two winners for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and one for trainer Kellyn Gorder.
Stall applications for the 2016 Live Season, which begins Jan. 15 are due Thursday, Oct. 29 … Include Betty finished second in Saturday’s $150,000 Valley View Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, a 1 1/16-mile race taken off the turf because of rain. Include Betty won the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4 at Oaklawn. …. … Achiever’s Legacy, unraced since finishing third in this year’s Fantasy following colic surgery, worked 6 furlongs in 1:12 Friday at Los Alamitos. …Uncle Brennie, a 2-year-old Uncle Mo colt owned by Staton Flurry of Hot Springs, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for his dirt debut in the $80,000 Street Sense Stakes. The 1-mile race is Sunday at Churchill Downs.