From now until the Breeders’ Cup, we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Breeders’ Cup Buzz Horses – horses we’re excited to watch run at Santa Anita this November 1-2.
Breeders’ Cup Buzz Horse #8 - Havana
Breeding: Dunkirk - Missy Turtle (Kyle's Our Man)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, & Derrick Smith
Breeder: Harvey A. Clarke Racing Stable LLC
*Timeform Master Rating: 122p
**TimeformUS Speed Figure earned: 110
Analysis of key prep (Grade 1 Champagne): Breaking from a tough inside post position in a race with numerous other speed horses, Havana's hand was forced and he pressed a ruthlessly fast early pace set by the accomplished three-time stakes winning sprinter Debt Ceiling.
The TimeformUS pace figures were 128 for a quarter, 126 for a half, and 117 for six furlongs. By comparison, the Grade 1 Frizette was run at the same distance just 30 minutes earlier, and the pace figures for that race were 74 for the quarter, 80 for the half mile, and 88 for six furlongs.
Havana not only courageously survived this hot pace in the Champagne Stakes, he opened up boldly off the turn and survived the stretch-running bid of the highly touted Honor Code. To emphasize how much the hot pace was a factor, Debt Ceiling stopped to a virtual walk in the stretch. Even Grand Arrival, who stalked the early pace from third position, ended up finishing next to last, staggering home to a 21 length defeat. Havana proved a heroic Grade 1 winner in just his second career start.
Buzz Horse Countdown:
*Timeform Master Ratings are adjusted for age, so that equal ratings mean horses of equal merit. Another way of looking at it is to see the universal rating handicap as four handicaps side by side: one for two-year-olds, one for three-year -olds, one for four-year-olds and one for older horses.
**In TimeformUS past performances, neither the Timeform Performance Ratings nor the TimeformUS Speed Figures are adjusted for age.