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HRN Original Blog:
Dead Heat Debates

2012 Breeders Cup Classic: Pool Play, Party Crasher?

The 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic will offer bettors many different ways to go, the obvious favorite being Game on Dude. He loves Santa Anita, and one of his only two 10 furlong victories came at this very track. If you don’t like chalk you can always take long, hard looks at Fort Larned, Ron the Greek, and Mucho Macho Man. Fort Larned will love the speed favoring strip, Ron the Greek already has an impressive victory here, and Mucho Macho Man comes into the race fresh and ready to deliver.
Those are your main choices, however since all have recently lost to what some may consider “lesser” horses, they will be far from your only options. There is one horse coming into the Classic off a win, however, he is not getting much mention. He is no stranger to long odds, but despite what the odds maker may think, I highly recommend you give this one a strong look.
Depending on how long your memories are, you may or may not know who I’m talking about. Pool Play started his career over Woodbine’s synthetic surface. For three years he was bounced between synthetic and turf surfaces, compiling a very modest record of five wins in 27 starts. After that 27th start Pool Play’s connections, for some odd reason, decided to test their luck over conventional dirt in the grade one Stephen Foster Handicap.
Pool Play was let go at better than 30-1. When the gates opened he dropped to 10th in the first quarter. He dropped to last at the half and stayed there as they passed the 3/8th pole. Then, something unexpected happened, Pool Play began to rally. Coming around the turn he was floated nine wide, but when they hit the stretch he was 4th and coming with a full head of steam. The son of Silver Deputy surged in front to win the Stephen Foster by a neck. After watching the race only one thing could be derived… Pool Play had found a new home on dirt.
Unfortunately, Pool Play was injured shortly after that and put on the shelf for over a year. He came back in July of this year, and actually raced twice more after. His races didn’t get much attention as they were only average performances over turf and synthetic. It wasn’t until this past weekend we saw him return to dirt in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.
After racing last for most of the race, Pool Play again made a move that propelled him to the lead entering the stretch. He held on to win by a half a length. After the race his connections said they might, just might give their charge a shot at America’s richest race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Can Pool Play win? In two starts on dirt he has two wins. They aren’t blowouts, but he always seems to get there winning by only as much as needed. Both starts are graded stakes, one was a grade one. He hasn’t ever run over Santa Anita, that is true, but he had never run at Hawthorn or Churchill Downs and that didn’t deter him. The distance could have been a question, but the Hawthorn Gold Cup is 10 furlongs, the same as the Classic.
Does he have a chance, yes, he most certainly does. He will get a pace to run at and will stay on a surface he so clearly loves. He will not be one of your favorites, but I would not leave this one off any tickets. If Drosselmeyer can win the Classic, there is no reason this horse can’t. Do not ignore Pool Play, if you do, you underestimate him at your own peril.


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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders Cup Classic: Pool Play, Party Crasher?...

He closed his final 3/8ths in 35 and change that day, even with being pushed nine wide. I think he has the kick, and I think running 10f over a track as deep as Hawthorn gave him a lot of bottom coming into the Classic.
I think I'm still reeling from Pool Play's Stephen Foster win. I'm very excited to see him in the BC Classic.
It would be great for Pool Play to make a big showing in the classic. I agree that at the price he is likely to go off at, I would be nuts to leave him off multi race tickets, but I just can't see him out kicking Ron the Greek given the pace set up.
Mike, I'm not sure how good he really is either, however the horses he has beaten in his two dirt wins aren't exactly chopped liver. We will see, but I can see with the pace in this year's Classic along with the division being a complete toss up, him coming with a big run at the end.
The Breeders Cup races are usually good betting races and Pool Play will be a great price. The last few years the key to picking the Classic winner has been finding the horse that will like 1 1/4 miles, Pool Play should like the distance. I'm not sure he is good enough to win, but he looks to be the best longshot bet.
Thank you very much for mentioning him. He will be a heavy longshot come the Classic, and worth a $2 bet if not more. A closer like him can take advantage of a pace meltdown and win it. He loves dirt, he loves the distance, all systems go. Nice piece on a horse no one else will mention. Great job.
Neither can I. He is not a flashy horse, but as I said he always comes running and has gotten there each time.
I can't think of another horse who will enter the Classic undefeated on dirt, and both of those graded stakes to boot.

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Meet Laura Pugh


For as long as i can remember I have always loved horses and writing. The first race I ever watched was War Emblem's Preakness Stakes, but I didn't really start to get into racing until the next year where watched and cheered Empire Maker through the Derby, and yes, the Belmont.

I didn't begin writing until a few years later, when I created my own blog Horsin' Around. It didn't take long for me to realize that my niche was stirring the pot and creating heated debates, especially during the time of Big Brown vs Curlin and Rachel Alexandra vs Zenyatta. I was a Curlin and Rachel fan.

Now I am here under the name of Dead Heat Debates, and hoping to live up to that name. Have fun and let the opinions fly! 

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