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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
55,000 Furlongs to the Finish

2013 Breeders' Cup Marathon: The Contenders

Sky Kingdom wins 2013 Tokyo City at Santa Anita.
Photo: Benoit Photo


When I was asked if I had a preference as to which Breeders’ Cup race I would like to cover this year, I had an immediate response. Like a young child volunteering for a magic show, I started jumping up and down (at least in my mind) screaming, “Pick Me! Pick Me!”


Of course I was talking about the Marathon.


Among all of the world-class horses competing in the Classic, Distaff, Turf, Turf Mile, why on earth would I single out the Marathon as my first choice? I must be in the minority. But think about it. 1 ¾ miles on dirt, $500,000 purse, and a grade 2 status. Say what you want about all the other races, but the Marathon is one of a kind. And there is no truer display of the characteristics of a thoroughbred than grinding out 14 exhausting furlongs on the premier stage of racing.


The only negative about this year’s edition is it will be absent of three of the best dirt stayers of 2013: Richard’s Kid, Calidoscopio, and Eldaafer. The two former horses have been unfortunately retired due to injury, while Eldaafer is planning to skip the Marathon ending his streak of entries at 4.


However, even without the three “old men” in the race, there are still plenty of worthy contenders that may be able to make the statement that they are the most long winded horse in the land. Lets take a look at a few of them.


Ever Rider (Arg): Its not like we need any reminder of Calidoscopio’s unbelievable come from behind victory in the previous edition of the Marathon. This year’s only “Win and You’re In” winner is another Argentinian bred looking to claim Breeders’ Cup glory. Ever Rider’s wire-to-wire victory in the Classico General Belgrano was as gritty as they come, and just like Calidoscopio last year, he will make his North American debut in the Breeders’ Cup. He has been acclimating to the Southern California sunshine for some time, where in his latest workout he fired a sharp 46 and change four furlong bullet at Santa Anita.


Atigun: This will be the second attempt in the Marathon after a well-earned show in last year’s race. He has proven that he likes the longer races, but will need to find better form than he has had of late. The Marathon will also be a move back to dirt from his previous 5 races on the grass.


Blueskiesnrainbows: Here’s a horse that has proven to be pretty inconsistent this year, but comes into the Marathon off a wire-to-wire win in the 9 furlong Ralph M. Hinds Handicap. We’ll see if he will try to attempt to take this race all the way on the lead, and we do know he loves the track at Santa Anita having only finished off the board twice in 8 races, both as a 2 year old.


Indian Jones: The 6 year old gelding by Smarty Jones has been in incredible form lately finishing off the board only once in his last 11 races. He also finished a very game 2nd to 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer in the 12 furlong Greenwood Cup Stakes at Parx. Watch for him running late down the stretch at the Great Race Place.


London Bridge (GB): An interesting potential entry as a three year old and a shipper from across the pond in Europe. Showing great form this summer, he rattled off three straight wins in 14 days over the distances of 10f, 10f, and 12f respectively. His task in the Marathon wont be easy having not raced since August and having to try dirt for the first time.


Suns Out Guns Out: Showing fairly consistent form this year, Suns Out Guns Out will see if his pedigree (Empire Maker – Angel Arch, by Smart Strike) can carry him to victory in the Marathon. However, we already have an indication of his preference for distance with his flat 4th place finish in the Greenwood Cup Stakes. We’ll see how well his recent allowance optional claiming win will catapult him in the Marathon.


Sky Kingdom: One of the few horses in the race with a win at 12 furlongs on dirt, he will try again to stretch his legs to victory at Santa Anita. Having last visit the winner’s circle in the 12 furlong Tokyo City Cup (pictured above), we know he has the capability to get the job done in the Marathon.


Take Control: Not every horse out there can say they have Breeders’ Cup champions as their parents. By A.P. Indy out of Azeri, Take Control has a true “million dollar pedigree.” Perhaps coming back to racing in the Grade 1 Awesome Again off a 14-month layoff was not the wisest of moves by trainer Bob Baffert. But if there is one horse with the bloodlines to win a Breeders’ Cup race it’s Take Control.


Some of the other possible contenders are Percussion, Pool Play, and Worldly. Who do you think has what it takes to get the job done this year?


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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Marathon: The Contenders...

You're welcome. It's hard to believe he was already six years old.
thank you goblin. poor fellow. so much promise yet do many problems. in retrospect it is too bad he was not retired and retrained for a less demanding life.
kay, There are a couple of threads below. He was working and suddenly went down. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/81390/bc-marathon-contender-take-control-euthanized
horrible news about Take Control. what happened to him?
Terrible news^ RIP
According to a tweet from Steve Anderson at drf Take Control was euthenized early today.
Ever rider can just stalk Blue skies and then punce when they come off the far turn. Whether any other horse who is not sucking dirt can close on him is another question.
I've been waiting 2 years for Pool Play to run in this.He may lose,but;he'll be a value play!
Great article and great way to start the Breeders’s Cup. I’m sure most handicappers in the world will like the Argentinean- Classico General Belgrano angle, but running 14 furlongs is a lot different than running 12. Further, since Mr. Prospector’s descendants dominate marathon races (Calidoscopio, Palace Malace, etc.), I’ll be looking for one of those, hopefully at a long price.
Given the history of this race I'll probably throw bets on the 6 longest shots in the field. I plan to do a follow up to this blog with a full handicap analysis once the nominations have been made.
I am going to hammer Ever Rider. Coming out of the same race that Calidoscopio won to get in the Marathon last year.
Sky Kingdom is probably the choice, but likely the favorite.
I actually LOVE the Marathon. Just find the horse who has been asked to run that far already, regardless of where he/she finished, the experience alone moves them forward. Thanks for the preview!
My favorite Marathon in my short horse racing fan history was when Afleet Again won it at Churchill Downs. But Calidoscopio took my breath away last year!
I'm really disappointed that Eldaafer is passing on the Marathon.
Love the Marathon. Wish it was a Grade I and that they had an Eclipse for stamina like they do the sprinters. Last year's win by Calidoscopio was my personal BC highlight.
Blueskies warms up for the Marathon tomorrow in the Bull Dog. He may love that Marathon distance, and he very much likes the return to dirt. Just won at Fairplex in their one big route stakes. Almost wired that synthetic 12f this summer.
London Bridge sounds interesting. I've never been big on Sons Out Guns Out or Blueskiesnrainbows, but Sky Kingdom could be a good play, too.
I am another one in minority by loving the Marathon Will be missing seeing Calidoscopio and Eldaafer esp Calidoscopio too Haven't sat down to try and pick a winner yet Just excited to see so many going for it Marathon rocks!

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Meet Matt Scott 

My horseracing journey began when I was 16 years old and my mom took me to Hollywood Park. Although I did not fully appreciate it at the time, the experience stuck with me forever. 10 years later, during one of my many international business trips to Hong Kong, I visited Sha Tin racetrack to watch the races. This is where my true passion began. 


Holding a masters degree in mechanical engineering, the puzzle of handicapping intrigued me. I have made a career of making decisions based on trends, patterns, and formulas, which is why I think I was initially drawn to the sport. However, I have truly learned to appreciate the horses and how magnificent they are as athletes. 


I currently live in San Jose, CA, and when not following racing, I like to spend time with my wife, mountain bike, and design high-speed bicycles that I build and race For reference, 55,000 furlongs is the distance from Hong Kong to my home in San Jose. Also, I have 1-year-old dachshund (aka wiener dog) that I am training to race in the annual Wiener Nationals held at Golden Gate Fields.   


The purpose of this blog is to help give people the viewpoint of a fan that is newer to the sport and eager to learn. I like to respectfully speak my mind, and often the ideas come out of left field, which could give a fresh perspective on a sport rich with tradition and history. hope to represent the many future fans that I wish to follow my footsteps into the Sport of Kings. 

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