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
, 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
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
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.