After this weekend, there is only one conclusion that can be
drawn. There is no longer any substance to the three year old male division.
This is not meant as a slight to Alpha
, who seems to be terrific in New York,
but, New York is far from the only racing state in the United States, and it is
a well-known fact that the Breeders Cup Championships will not be held there,
but three thousand miles away.
The older division, unlike the three year old males, is far
from depleted. It is deep and full of talent, brimming with horses that are
likely to show their talent at the ripest moment. They will be on display this
coming weekend in the Jockey Club Gold Cup
and Awesome Again Stakes
, on opposite
sides of the country.
Pointing for the Awesome Again Stakes are the second, third,
and fourth place finishers of the Pacific Classic. West Coast ruler Game on
, who was second in the Pacific Classic, will be returning to his favorite
track after a courageous performance over his least favorite track. He is
cutting back to nine furlongs and gets a jockey change for this start. What
does this mean? Expect the Dude to come back with a vengeance.
who was third in the Pacific Classic has yet
to finish ahead of Game on Dude in the two times they have met this year. I
seriously doubt this will be any different. Richard’s Kid is a very good horse,
but I have a feeling he likes much longer than nine furlongs and simply just
does not have the speed to keep up with his rival.
has certainly had one heck of a rollercoaster ride
while trying to regain the form we saw in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup. He
looked good two starts back, but was no match for the top three in the Pacific
Classic. It could possibly be that he is not grade one material over Polytrack.
This weekend, we shall see if he is grade one material over Santa Anita’s dirt.
Shifting back to the East Coast, the Jockey Club Gold Cup
features the Whitney Handicap’s top three finishers back for Round Two. Fort
can easily be labeled as the fastest horse on the East Coast. In his
last five starts he has earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure or higher in four of
them. The Whitney was a 110, and it didn’t even look like he broke a sweat that
race. Being that this is a one turn 10 furlong event, and he already has won
well at nine and a half furlongs, I don’t see the distance being an issue.
The one issue for Fort Larned will not be a question of how
well he can run the distance, but if he can run it better than Ron the Greek
This consistent stud hasn’t been out of the top two once this year. He has two
grade one wins, one in the West, one in the Midwest, and should he win here, he’ll
add a grade one on the East coast to his credit. He’s already won at 10
furlongs, so we know the distance is not an issue, the question is can he run
down Fort Larned?
Whitney second runner up is Flat Out
, who like his
stablemate, Ron the Greek, is ever so consistent. In the last two years he has
run second and third in the Whitney, and this year he enters the Jockey Club
Gold Cup as the defending champion. Anyone writing him off has better have a
darn good reason, given his consistency and his returning to the sight of his
The leader of the Classic division, on each coast should
emerge this weekend. One might already say the West Coast leader has already
been crowned, but nothing is ever a given. Hopefully, this weekend provides a
clearer picture and sets up for an epic match of East vs West heading into the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic