Race of the Week 2017

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Past the Grandstand

2013 Breeders' Cup: Possible Saturday Long Shots

Day one of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup is in the books and now, as racing fans file into the grandstand at Santa Anita, the excitement is in the air for the finale. Nine Breeders’ Cup races will be contested today, featuring some of the best Thoroughbred athletes the world has to offer. Anticipation is building with each second. Which horses will be crowned winners today? No horse won a Breeders’ Cup race at a price higher than 9-1 yesterday, but the championships aren’t over yet; upsets could certainly be in store.

Are you searching for some possible long shot plays for today’s Breeders’ Cup Friday races? I chose at least one horse from each race worth a look that was given morning line odds of at least 8-1, giving you plenty of options to choose from.


Declaration of War: 2013 has been this four-year-old’s best year yet, as he has captured a pair of group ones: the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot and, most recently, the Juddmonte International Stakes (gr. I). Even in his four losses this year, he has run respectably against top-class horses such as Al Kazeem, Dawn Approach, Farhh, Moonlight Cloud, and Toronado. He may be better at a mile than at ten furlongs, but he is capable of winning at a mile and one-quarter, which he made evident in the Juddmonte International. Perhaps the biggest doubt surrounding Declaration of War is his ability on dirt, but his pedigree suggests that the surface should not be an issue, as he is a son of War Front – who excelled on dirt – and is out of a half-sister to 2012 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags.

Palace Malice
: Arguably the best three-year-old colt in the nation, Palace Malice matured slowly, but always showed promise. A 3 ¼-length winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Palace Malice was a clear winner of the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) over Will Take Charge – to whom he finished fourth in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) after a very poor break that cost him the race. Last out, he finished 6 ¾ lengths behind Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but was nearly two lengths clear of Flat Out and completed the race in a time that would have won the past nine runnings. Nonetheless, he will need to improve off of his last race to win here.

Paynter: Miraculously returning to the track after he had overcome life-threatening illnesses, Paynter easily won at the allowance level at Hollywood Park in June prior to finishing a game second in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar. A trip to Saratoga resulted in a last-place finish over a sloppy track – a race through which a line can be drawn. He returned to Southern California to finish a good second behind fellow Classic contender Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) at the end of September. Paynter’s odds may be lowered due to sentimental betting.

Will Take Charge: Will Take Charge showed potential at the beginning of 2013, winning the Smarty Jones Stakes and Rebel Stake (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. But bad luck impeded his success, especially when traffic troubles halted his impressive rally in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). But after competing in each Triple Crown race, Will Take Charge has had a spectacular second half of the season, finishing a willing second in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) behind Palace Malice prior to capturing the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II).

Juvenile Fillies

Concave: A filly based in Southern California that has taken turns with her familiar competitors in graded stakes events, Concave won the first two starts of her career, including the Sorrento. She has not raced since finishing third behind She’s a Tiger in the Del Mar Debutante, but has trained very well at Santa Anita and appears primed to return to her winning ways.

Rosalind: An easy debut winner at Ellis Park, Rosalind was a decent third behind fellow Juvenile Fillies candidate Untapable in the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) before finishing a good second behind My Conquestadory in the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) on the synthetic at Keeneland.

Filly & Mare Turf

Alterite: Beginning 2013 with a win in a listed stakes in France, Alterite was tenth in a group one behind Flotilla prior to finishing a narrowly beaten second in a group one at Longchamp. Following a sixth-place effort behind eventual Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (gr. I) victress Treve, Alterite made the move to North America, where she captured the Garden City Stakes (gr. I) and finished a good second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

Kitten’s Dumplings
: This Ken and Sarah Ramsey “Kitten” has won half of her starts this year and since May, she has been remarkable, losing only once. After a disappointing start to 2013, Kitten’s Dumplings scored her first victory of the year in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs in May. Following wins in the Regret Stakes (gr. III) and the Lake George Stakes (gr. II), Kitten’s Dumpling shipped west for the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I), in which she only managed fourth as the favorite, but closed willingly. Since then, she has captured the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.


Laughing: Unbeaten in her four starts this season, Laughing won a grade three at Monmouth over Dayatthespa prior to taking the Diana Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Following a game victory by a neck in the Ballston Spa Stakes (gr. II), Laughing won her final prep race for the Breeders’ Cup – the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I) – by a determined half-length. She is obviously among the top turf females in the nation, but has a tendency to not travel well, which would be a major disadvantage for her if that is the case. In addition, she has received an easy lead in her past three wins and is not as likely to have that advantage in this race.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Dance Card: Dance Card has only raced once since running away with last November’s Gazelle Stakes (gr. I), finishing a respectable third behind Cluster of Stars and Dance to Bristol in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) in September. Starting in the Breeders’ Cup after recently returning from a long layoff is no easy task, but Dance Card is a classy filly.

Summer Applause: A filly that impressed me with her athletic appearance in the mornings, Summer Applause has formed a lose-win-lose-win pattern this year. If you’re into patterns, take notice of her, as she lost last out. She has three wins from seven starts in 2013, which came in easy wins in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II), Allaire DuPont Distaff (gr. III), and Lady’s Secret Stakes. Most recently, she was a good second behind Emollient in the nine-furlong Spinster Stakes (gr. I). She won her debut in December of 2011 at seven furlongs, which is the same distance as the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Sweet Lulu: Sweet Lulu began her racing career in May and won her first four races, including the Test Stakes (gr. I). After gamely winning this grade one contest by a head, she stretched out to a mile and one-sixteenth in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), in which she finished two lengths behind Distaff contender Close Hatches. A return to seven furlongs should suit Sweet Lulu well, making her an imposing participant.

Turf Sprint

Boat Trip: After a pair of good performances at the allowance level at Hollywood Park to begin 2013, including a win over Kinsale King, Boat Trip was a narrowly beaten fourth in a roughly run Green Flash Handicap going five furlongs over Del Mar’s turf course. Last out, he closed willingly to finish just a nose behind Chips All In in the Eddie D Stakes (gr. III) over the downhill turf course.

Capo Bastone: A talented juvenile last year, Capo Bastone began 2013 with a win at the allowance level at Gulfstream prior to disappointing in a trio of graded stakes races. However, last out, he was an impressive two-length winner of the King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) on the dirt at Saratoga. He has never raced on turf, but was a winner on the synthetic in his career debut.

Unbridled’s Note
: Runner-up in the Turf Sprint last year, Unbridled’s Note does not appear to be quite the same horse he was in 2012. His only win in his four starts in 2013 was his first of the year. Since then, he has placed in a pair of graded stakes races and finished far back in a graded stakes event at Churchill Downs. But it is worth noting that he is a fan of the downhill turf course.


Bond Holder: Bond Holder raced four times, improving with each start, before he broke his maiden, but garnered his first win in style, capturing the FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. In this grade one event, Bond Holder closed into a brisk pace to draw off to a 2 ¼-length victory. With possibly much pace in the race, the Juvenile could set up for him, but he will need to continue to improve. He, along with the other Southern California two-year-olds other than Tap It Rich, have been rather slow and unimpressive.

Dance with Fate:
Among the somewhat uninspiring California juvenile crop, Dance with Fate was a poor eighth in his debut before winning his second start, in which he defeated Bond Holder. He then finished second in both the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and the FrontRunner. He will need to step it up in order to win.

Diamond Bachelor
: This son of War Front has never raced on the dirt, but has trained well over it. His first two starts resulted in wins at Del Mar, including an easy win in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes. Last out, he was defeated by Juvenile Turf contender Aotearoa in the Zuma Beach Stakes by ¾ of a length. He has never competed against graded stakes company, but is worth a look here.

New Year’s Day
: A willing third in his debut at Del Mar in August, New Year’s Day was a clear winner of a maiden special weight two weeks later. Competing against proven competition will be a difficult task for him, but he has trained well in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup.


Magician: In three starts this year, Magician has won twice, taking his first two starts of 2013 by a combined 7 ½ lengths. Among these was a victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) at The Curragh. Most recently, however, he was last in the St. James Palace Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot in June.

Real Solution: A colt who began his career in Rome, Real Solution’s 2013 debut was also his U.S. debut. This came in the Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. III), in which he finished fourth. Following a respectable third in the Manhattan behind Point of Entry, Real Solution ran an incredible race in the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. I), finishing second at the wire but being promoted to first after the disqualification of The Apache. He most recently was defeated by just over a length in the Joe Hirsch behind Little Mike and stablemate Big Blue Kitten. He is worthy of being in this race, but this is certainly his toughest test to date.

Vagabond Shoes
: Vagabond Shoes has only won once in his seven outings this year and although he began 2013 with three lackluster performances in Southern California graded stakes, a narrow loss in an allowance optional claiming at Hollywood Park in May gave him the confidence booster he needed. Since then, he was a good second in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. I) prior to gamely capturing the Del Mar Handicap (gr. II), a race that preceded an eager runner-up effort in the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (gr. II).


Bahamian Squall
: Bahamian Squall has only won once this year, taking the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) over defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Trinniberg. Since then, he was second to Justin Phillip in the Vanderbilt and a disappointing fifth in the Vosburgh. He will need to rebound here.


Gentlemen’s Bet: Gentlemen’s Bet has never won a graded stakes race, but was a tenacious winner of the Iowa Sprint Handicap prior to encountering an intense speed duel in the Vanderbilt that left him third behind Justin Phillip. He was then fourth in the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, but this result can be ignored, as he did not seem to be fond of the synthetic surface. Of course, he’ll need to improve to win here, but he is appealing. 


Bright Thought
: Bright Thought began 2013 with a win in an allowance at Penn National, but was later demoted to tenth due to a purse disqualification. After easily capturing a starter stakes and allowance optional claiming at Santa Anita, Bright Thought set a world record for a mile and one-half in his victory in the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. II). However, he has not started since March.

He Be Fire N Ice
: This son of Unusual Heat did not venture into graded stakes company until August, finishing a game second behind Obviously in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. II). Most recently, he rallied to finish a half-length behind No Jet Lag in the City of Hope Mile (gr. II).

No Jet Lag
: After a rather unsuccessful beginning to his career in Europe, which spanned seven races, No Jet Lag made the move to America, where he has been unbeatable in two starts. Following a win at the allowance level at Del Mar, No Jet Lag showed a remarkable turn of foot to take the City of Hope Mile. He’s clearly talented, but it remains to be seen how he will fare against this caliber of horses.

Za Approval
: After winning at the allowance level at Gulfstream Park in January, Za Approval was fourth in the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. III) behind Data Link. He followed up this effort with a pair of graded stakes victories prior to shipping west to finish second behind Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. I). A runner-up finish behind 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan preceded an easy win in the Knickerbocker Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont last out.


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About Mary Cage


Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage, a 21-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and has interned at WinStar Farm with a marketing focus - with projects involving photography, videography, giving tours, data entry, etc. 

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer/photographer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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