BC Turf: Europeans look strong
Doctor Dino's victory in the Man o' War Stakes did not bode well for American Breeders' Cup Turf hopefuls. Timeform rates him just the 50th best older European horse in training. There are a dozen Turf possibles from Europe that would have him over a barrel.
Strongest among them are the three Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe favorites. Epsom Derby winner Authorized prepped for the Arc by winning the Juddmonte International. Soldier of Fortune is the nine-length Irish Derby winner who took Sunday's Prix Niel over the Arc course and distance. Dylan Thomas is a four-time Group 1 winner who is 2 for 2 at the 1 1/2-mile Turf distance, winning the 2005 Irish Derby and this year's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
European trainers won't be making a decision about the Turf until after the Oct. 7 Arc, but Dylan Thomas is their biggest threat. Controlled by John Magnier, a man who likes to win Breeders' Cup races, he is more likely to be at Monmouth than his 3-year-old stablemate Soldier of Fortune.
Defending champ Red Rocks would have trouble making the Turf lineup at this stage should a full field emerge, as his lone victory this season came in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes in April.
The three Arc favorites rate a cut above the best Americans, several of whom are nominated to Belmont's Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Sept. 29. Todd Pletcher could run both of his consistent pair of United Nations winner English Channel and Man o' War runner-up Sunriver. Graham Motion said that last year's Turf runner-up Better Talk Now is "less than 50 percent" for the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic due to muscle soreness and would be trained up to either the Turf or the Canadian International. John Shirreffs is leaving all options open for Del Mar Handicap winner After Market, who will run in either Belmont's Kelso or Santa Anita's Clement Hirsch as a prep for either the BC Mile or the BC Turf.
The Turf wild card is Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca. A two-time Group 1 winner at 1 1/2 miles, he will prep for the Turf in Sha Tin's seven-furlong Group 3 National Day Cup on Oct. 1, the only viable Turf trial available to him in Hong Kong.
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BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE
For the first time, the winner of each of 25 selected Breeders' Cup Challenge races will automatically earn a start in the corresponding division of the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26 & 27 on ESPN. This year, "Win and You're In" ...
Already InOak Tree: October 7
• Spinster: Panty Raid has Cup options
• Ancient Title: Ideal trip sets up Idiot Proof
• Tough Tiz's Sis first in First Lady
• Out of Control anything but in Oak Tree Mile
Keeneland: October 6
• War Pass wires field in Champagne
• Shadwell Turf: Purim tops off day of upsets
• Wicked Style wires Breeders' Futurity
• Vacare wears down 'Kitten' in First Lady
• Phoenix: Off Duty outlasts Rebellion
Belmont: September 30
• Curlin reels in Lawyer Ron to win Gold Cup
• English Channel repeats in Joe Hirsch Turf
• Fabulous Strike impresses in Vosburgh
• Unbridled Belle nips Indian Vale to take Beldame
• Goodwood (9/29, Oak Tree): Tiago gets in
Del Mar: August 19
• Pacific Classic: Student Council schools field
• Crossing the Line fires big in Del Mar Mile
• Greg's Gold takes Pat O'Brien
Arlington Park: August 11
• Perfect trip for Jambalaya in Arlington Million
• Royal Highness queen of the Beverly D.
• Shamdinan impresses in Secretariat
Saratoga: July 28
• Whitney: Lawyer Ron romps, earns BC berth
• Diana: My Typhoon earns Breeders' Cup slot
• Go For Wand: Ginger Punch wins by six
• Vanderbilt: Diabolical runs down Attila's Storm
Sha Tin Race Course: April 29
• Champions Mile: Able One first to qualify
Finley: Challenge Fallout
• Zito sips Champagne again, BC Juvenile next?
• Curlin rebounds, tops huge weekend of Cup preps
• Student Council still enigma after Pacific Classic
• Jamabalya takes Million, is Cup bound in Week 2
• Lawyer Ron's record win highlights Week 1
Plonk: Breeders' Cup Hits & Misses