With the 2012 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park a little under five weeks away, many of the top contenders made their final pre-Breeders' Cup starts in New York and California on Super Saturday. Let's take a look back at some of the action and results from Super Saturday.
- After a lackluster performance at Saratoga in her last start, Royal Delta seemed vulnerable in the Beldame heading into Saturday. That "vulnerability" proved to be misplaced as she simply blew away a very good It's Tricky to win by 9 ½ lengths without being fully extended by jockey Mike Smith.
- If this year's Classic was at a track like Belmont or Churchill Downs, perhaps it would make sense to be a little less bullish on the chances of Game On Dude. But with this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, it's hard not to like the chances the Bob Baffert gelding to get revenge for last year's second place finish. Santa Anita's tendency to favor front-runners should give Game On Dude and edge over late-running horses like Flat Out and Ron the Greek.
- Speaking of Ron the Greek; going into the Jockey Club Gold Cup the thought was that the pace wouldn't really be fast enough to set things up for a closer. That turned out to be not the case as Flat Out closed from a reasonable distance to nip Stay Thirty at the wire. Ron the Greek made up a little ground in the stretch but ultimately finished sixth in the 11 horse field.
- You've got to feel pretty confident in the chances of an American horse winning the Breeders' Cup Turf this year if you watched Point of Entry's win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Saturday. Point of Entry has run exceptionally well on the grass at the distance of a mile and a half this season and is in phenomenal form heading towards the Breeders' Cup. Furthermore, the firm turf course at Santa Anita should be perfect for Point of Entry's stalking running style.
- Going into Saturday's stakes races most handicappers were in agreement that the older fillies and mares on the East Coast were decidedly better than there West Coast counterparts. After Love and Pride wired the field in the Zenyatta at Santa Anita, easily defeating some of the better females from California, it's now crystal clear that the East Coast contingent is the better group.
- The Ladies' Classic is (once again) turning into a simply fantastic race to watch and bet. Here are just a few of the names of possible starters for the Ladies' Classic: Royal Delta, Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia, Questing (GB), Grace Hall, Love and Pride, In Lingerie and Include Me Out. Two of those fillies are undefeated (Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia), and another is arguably the best three-year-old filly on the continent (Questing).
Similar to the last few years, the Ladies' Classic is shaping up to be the deepest race on the Breeders' Cup card.
- Kauai Katie dominated an over-matched field of juvenile fillies in the Grade 2 Matron Stakes at Belmont on Sunday afternoon. While not a "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge race, Kauai Katie is clearly the best juvenile filly on the East Coast and will be pointed to either the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies or the Juvenile Sprint by trainer Todd Pletcher.
- A curious move: Michael Hushion, trainer of Vosburgh winner The Lumber Guy, is considering both the Breeders' Cup Sprint and the Dirt Mile as possible desitinations for his horse.
The Lumber Guy began his career sprinting and proved to be quite capable of running strong races at six furlongs. The connections stretched him out to two turns where he struggled to maintain his sprint form. He's got the talent to win a two-turn race but he appears to be better suited to six furlongs at this point in time.
- A trio of European horses qualified for the Breeders' Cup with victories over the weekend (Certify, Steeler (IRE) and Battle of Marengo (IRE)) but it is doubtful that any of them will make the trip to Santa Anita in November.
The linked spread below (via Google Drive) contains an overview of all the horses that have qualified to the Breeders' Cup through the "Win and You're In" series (as of 9/30/12), as well as a summary of the major contenders in each Breeder's Cup division.
Below is a summary of the Super Saturday results in North America and Europe.
|9/28/2012||NEW||Shadwell Fillies' Mile||I||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Certify|
|9/29/2012||BEL||Beldame Invitational Stakes||I||0.0||Dirt||Ladies' Classic||Royal Delta|
|9/29/2012||BEL||Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes||I||10.0||Turf||Filly & Mare Turf||Nahrain (GB)|
|9/29/2012||BEL||Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational||I||12.0||Turf||Turf||Point of Entry|
|9/29/2012||BEL||Kelso Handicap||II||8.0||Dirt||Dirt Mile||Jersey Town|
|9/29/2012||BEL||TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational||I||10.0||Dirt||Classic||Flat Out|
|9/29/2012||BEL||Vosburgh Invitational Stakes||I||6.0||Dirt||Sprint||The Lumber Guy|
|9/29/2012||NEW||Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes||II||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf||Steeler (IRE)|
|9/29/2012||SA||Awesome Again Stakes||I||9.0||Dirt||Classic||Game On Dude|
|9/29/2012||SA||Chandelier Stakes||I||8.5||Dirt||Juvenile Fillies||Executiveprivilege|
|9/29/2012||SA||FrontRunner Stakes||I||8.5||Dirt||Juvenile||Power Broker|
|9/29/2012||SA||Rodeo Drive Stakes||I||10.0||Turf||Filly & Mare Turf||Marketing Mix|
|9/29/2012||SA||Zenyatta Stakes||I||8.5||Dirt||Ladies' Classic||Love and Pride|
|9/30/2012||CUR||Juddmonte Beresford||II||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf||Battle of Marengo (IRE)|