Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breeders' Cup Top 10 - Classic

Classic Top 10 - Aug 11

1. Rail Trip (1)
2. Rip Van Winkle (new)
3. Mastercraftsman (2)
4. Einstein (4)
5. Zenyatta (3)
6. Quality Road (7)
7. Parading (5)
8. It's a Bird (6)
9. Mine That Bird (8)
10. Sterwins (10)

Dropped: Well Armed (9)

The major changes to this month's Classic list are that Well Armed was dropped because of a horrendous effort in the San Diego and the subsequent revelation of knee chips and the inclusion of Rip Van Winkle.

Sea The Stars looks increasingly likely to pass on the Breeders' Cup but the horses he's defeating keep coming back to look extremely impressive and in Rip Van Winkle Coolmore have another top notch Classic contender to go along with Mastercraftsman. Rip Van Winkle has kind of been the stable underachiever for Ballydoyle this year. He has always had a huge "Hawk Wing like" reputation. Basically his connections thought he could win every big race of the season but it really didn't work out that way for him. He never really showed proper form until running Sea The Stars all the way to the line in the Eclipse. He followed that up with one of the most powerful races of the season in Britain when he took the Sussex. He is due for a bit of a summer break which will help him I think and he ought to get one more race before the Classic. He will be extremely tough. I have him rated over Mastercraftsman at this stage but I think he's shown the capacity for a bit more brilliance.

Mastercraftsman gets a bit of an acid test of his own against Sea The Stars this coming week. He is due to face the superstar in the Juddmonte International at 10f. That should give us a good line on his ability, especially relative to Rip Van Winkle. Both Coolmore horses look like great Classic prospects. This could easily be their year.

Zenyatta moves down the list with a win an Einstein moves just over her with a loss. It seems like flawed logic but Zenyatta was not very good while winning the Clement Hirsch. That kind of form will see her run 6th in the Classic. Einstein meanwhile was racing on the Turf and I think his connections will just decide to target the major synthetic events from here on out.

Quality Road won a 6 1/2f sprint in his comeback but he broke a track record and it just seems like this horse can walk on water. He's a very fast and freaky horse and there might be no limit to what his talent can see him accomplish. The Travers is next and that will tell us a great deal about his ability at the distance.

I know that very few people have noticed but Sterwins continued his very solid campaign with another stakes win on the grass. Sterwins has been fantastic here in Canada this year and looms a threat based on his past form on synthetics. The biggest challenge here will be convincing his connections to take the shot.

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