Lets take a look at some of the potential contenders for the
upcoming 1 ¾ mile Breeders' Cup Marathon.
As the race gets closer, I will give my best attempt to handicap a field
that is made up of many horses that have never run the distance or on the track
Almudena (PER): This South American import is the lone
mare considering the race. In her 18
starts, she has won 6 and only finished off the board 4 times. Over her recent season of racing (offset 6
months from the Northern Hemisphere) she has 4 wins, 5 seconds, 1 third, and 1
ninth place finish across mixed surfaces.
She has most recently been seen working a mile at Hollywood Park in
Arthur’s Tale: The 4 year old Bernardini colt will be
stretching out to the longest start in his 14 race career. Perhaps best known for finishing 2nd
in front of Uncle Mo in the 2011 Wood Memorial, the Godolphin owned bay has
been looking for his calling card. His
best finish this year came in the Brooklyn Handicap finishing 3rd
behind Redeemed. Arthur’s Tale will
likely have a high price in this field, but the Marathon is no stranger to longshots
finding their way to the winner’s circle.
multiple stakes placed Unbridled’s Song colt is looking to improve off his
recent finish caboosing the Awesome Again Stakes. This was undoubtedly a prep race for the
Marathon, but I would think that Darley Stables was hoping for a more tenacious
effort from their charge. But a solid
performance in the Cougar II Handicap in late July shows that Balladry may be a
horse that just needs more distance to really show his best.
Calidoscopio (ARG): With
Redeemed’s retirement, Calidoscopio is the only on Breeder’s Cup Marathon
Challenge winner eligible for this year’s race.
The free trip to the Breeders' Cup was earned by an impressive win in
the 1 9/16 mile Clasico General Belgrano in June. This 9 year old is a true distance specialist,
competing in races 1 ¼ miles or longer in 38 of his 39 career races, 28 of
which he toted 130+ lbs. He’s already
working on his Southern California suntan, breezing 7 furlongs in 1:32 at Santa
Anita on October 9th.
Commander: 6 in a
row. Since being claiming for $62,500 by
Troy Tailor in January, Commander has proven well worth the price. In his first race for Taylor, Commander was
eased, and subsequently spent the next 4 months off from racing. However, since returning he has been unbeaten
in 6 starts including a hot paced persevering victory in the recent, 1 3/8 mile
B.C. Premier’s Handicap (Gr. 3). In his
current streak, each win has come at equal or longer in distance than the preceding
race, and this once claimer is proving that he is ready to take on the 14
grueling furlongs of the Marathon.
Dynamic Host: The Tokyo City Cup Stakes earlier this year
posted as the first stakes victory for the Art Sherman trained gelding. By Dynaformer, Dynamic Host has shown to love
distance races, with most of his experience coming on turf and synthetic. However, his lone win this year is the afore
mentioned Tokyo City Cup, which was run at 1 ½ miles over the Santa Anita dirt
surface. He will certainly be worth a
second look come November.
Alvarado is preparing to saddle her seasoned 7 year old gelding for his 4th
straight Breeder’s Cup Marathon.
Although boasting the most experience of the starters in the race’s 5
year history, including a win in 2010, Eldaafer will have to dig deep to become
the first repeat winner. He’s coming
into the Marathon off his two best races of the year including a win in the 1
3/16 mile Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes in September, and a game third to Pool
Play in the Hawthorne Gold Cup.
Eye of the Leopard: This AP Indy horse has not been the
model of consistency during 2012.
Starting his career with a pair of stakes victories in 2009, he looked
to become another powerhouse AP Indy colt.
Since his debut year, he has only managed 2 wins, both in non-stakes
company. One of those wins came this
summer going 9 furlongs on the turf. In
fact, he only has one start over conventional dirt, but he has had success on
the synthetic of Woodbine. He will
likely be a high priced longshot if he makes the start at Santa Anita.
Royal Diamond (IRE): One
of the more interesting possibilities for the race. The 6 year old King’s Best gelding has raced
as long as 21 furlongs in hurdle races, but in 2012 he has been training and
raced strictly to flats. He is coming off
of a thrilling photo finish win in the Grade 1 Irish St Leger, and if he
decides to enter the Marathon, he will be one of the big question marks. Having never raced on dirt, one has to
question if he can duplicate his soft turf form. However, if he can make the transition to
dirt, he may only be starting to break a sweat as much of his competition is
gasping for air coming down the stretch.
Worth Repeating: This 6 year old by Giant’s Causeway is
another distance loving Southern California resident. He has shown some success this year over the
synthetic surfaces of Del Mar and Betfair Hollywood Park, but his best
performance was a recent win over the tight turned Fairplex Park. This could prove to be a great final prep race
as it was run over a conventional dirt surface and more than 2 turns. He has been working strongly, recently
breezing 6 furlongs in 1:13.20 (1/6) on October 13th
*Photo Credit to elturf.com