The period after the Belmont is the beginning of the road to the Breeders' Cup. The Three year olds are almost the sole focus until June but the best and highest quality racing happens in the build up to the Breeders' Cup and in the main event itself.
On the Derby trail there are a myriad of Top 10's and Derby Dozen's to help give perspective and maybe alert you to some up and coming stars but for the Breeders' Cup there is very little of that type of thing. I'll look to fill that gap a little. A few weeks back I took a look at some of the top contenders for the BC Mile and today I'll do the BC Turf.
As a side note a great way to keep track of the top contenders for the Breeders' Cup races is the TCR standings. Their aim is to accurately assess a horse's accomplishments and boil it down to one number. Over the many years they've been in use they have proven to be quite accurate.
Breeders' Cup Turf
Soldier of Fortune - He is the best middle distance horse in one of the most powerful stables in the world. Coolmore always sends a strong team to the Breeders' Cup and this horse may head that group. He was a very good 3yo winning several stakes including the Irish Derby but he did seem just a step behind championship class. Turning four may have fixed that particular problem as he was very good in the Coronation Cup. Do not be surprised if this horse ends up being the odds on favorite on Breeders' Cup day. He has all the tools to become the highest profile horse in Europe.
Ramonti - He is not a recognized 12f horse but he does not have a poor record at the distance. He was actually beaten just a head in the Italian Derby which was his only try at the distance. Not a poor effort and we all know that American courses require less stamina. Falbrav was beaten by two noses in the last BC Turf at Santa Anita and he was much more of a miler. Ramonti is a classy street fighter. He has only been worse than second twice in a 19 race career. He has already won G-1's in 3 different nations and we know he has no trouble travelling. He is a huge threat if Godolphin decide to send him for this race.
Duke of Marmalade - Another Ballydoyle hotpot underlining both the strength of that operation and of the European challenge in this race overall. They always believed he was a good horse and he was campaigned aggressively as a 3yo. He has run in 8 straight G-1 events. Despite being placed well over his head on many occasions he was never worse than 4th. As a 4yo he has shaken off the bridesmaid complex and has won two G-1's in a row. Some may still see him as second string behind Soldier of Fortune and while his reputation may never be as high that does not mean he couldn't beat him head to head.
Spring House - His name does not immediately come to mind when you think of the titans of the Turf but he is already basically fast enough to beat his North American peers at the distance. The trip to Dubai was ambitious and he did not too badly to run 7th. At Santa Anita he will be a tough horse to handle. He is 2 for 2 on the course, both races coming at 12f and his two highest career Beyer figures were achieved in those races. He is North America's top hope.
Youmzain - He has become Europe's Better Talk Now in many ways. He has run second in a ton of high profile races and has become loved for his late running ways. Always a threat in eah race he runs. We know he has the capability to win virtually any race. He may lack the mindset at present but you never know how a a trip to North America might shake him up.
Getaway - He put in an ugly race in the Coronation Cup on Epsom Derby weekend but prior to that he looked quite good. It's possible that he just didn't handle the unique course at Epsom. Andre Fabre is a master conditioner and this horse has flashed talent good enough to win at the highest level. There is much to like.
Casual Conquest - Most recently third in the Epsom Derby behind New Approach he has a lot of upside. The Derby was just his 3rd career start so he should get much better. Dermot Weld is well known for his willingness to ship his horses around so there is a good chance we'll see him if he's healthy.
New Approach - Epsom Derby winner and a horse of considerable talent. I'm not sure if 12f is his best distance but in North America he would handle it fine. He always gives his best effort and he's a tough customer. Hopefully they lighten up his campaign in the summer to have him at his best for the fall.
Dancing Forever - I think Dancing Forever is the best Eastern turf horse in America at the 12f distance. Eastern horses do not typically do as well going west for the Breeders' Cup but he is as good as any.
Einstein - He is a very classy horse, I think the distance is against him a bit, that's why I have him ranked lower than some others. But if you're judging pure class he's got a great chance. I like his tactical speed as well. My concern is that they don't use him up too much over the summer.