Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breeders' Cup Top 10 - Turf

Turf Top 10 - Aug 18th

1. Fame And Glory (2)
2. Conduit (3)
3. Tartan Bearer (1)
4. Ask (5)
5. Casual Conquest (6)
6. Vision D'Etat (7)
7. Cavalryman (new)
8. Presious Passion (10)
9. Kite Wood (new)
10. Age of Aquarius (new)

Dropped: Soldier of Fortune (4), Bronze Cannon (8), Father Time (9)

The defending champion Conduit has finally gotten back to the place he was last year when he rode his hot form to success at Santa Anita. His race in the King George was fantastic and while I feel that Tartan Bearer would not be disgraced in a rematch it just seems that Conduit has better acceleration. Tartan Bearer would need the race to develop into a true stayers contest and that's unlikely to happen at Santa Anita.

Stoute trio's are all still in the top 5 but I have Aiden O'Brien's Fame And Glory as the best of the lot. He's still improving and he is likely the best of the Ballydoyle group which is no small distinction considering the fact that Mascraftsman and Rip Van Winkle run for the same connections. Sea the Stars has been able to handle all of Ballydoyle's best and brightest but I do think that the horse they'd fear the most in a rematch is Fame and Glory. He looked a shade unlucky at Epsom and at the Curragh for the Irish Derby he was ridiculously dominant. I think Fame And Glory is better than Conduit already and his form may still have more to find.

As has been my policy from the get go I am more of less discounting American chances in this race. Gio Ponti is a fantastic racehorse and a personal favorite of mine but I think the Turf is option 3 or 4 for his connections. The Classic or Mile will be where he ends up. Presious Passion is the only Yankee on the list because he offers something that no one else does. The threat of a runaway is real and the Euro's won't necessarily be tactically prepared to deal with him. Forget his last race, it came on a deep course that was wet. The rock hard Santa Anita turf will help Presious Passion strut his stuff.

Races like the Sword Dancer and Secretariat only further the notion that the American 12f turf horses just aren't any good. For me the question is not whether or not a European will win the Turf it's which European will win the Turf.

Soldier of Fortune is still inactive and holds no big race entries at the moment so I'm going to assume that plans are on hold with him.

Bronze Cannon just went to Russia and suffered a loss, it's not that his race was so poor but that connections felt the need to send him out there. I'm going to assume that the Breeders' Cup is not really on his agenda.

Father Time continues to look like he has some promise but he's not quite developing fast enough for me. A recent third at York today was decent but it was a race he ought to have won I'd rather go with the more progressive 3yo's in Europe like Cavalryman, Kite Wood and Age of Aquarius.

Cavalryman is a longshot to come to Santa Anita since he seems to like soft ground and the Arc is always Fabre's main concern but he's got real talent and is a bit of a stranger to the normal class lines in Europe right now. Much like Conduit was last year, it was hard to tell how good he really was because he hasn't faced any of the limelight horses. Age of Aquarius most recently finished behind him in France and there was enough in that race to suggest that both will be good horses.

I have also added Godolphin's Kite Wood. The distance is definitely no problem there may actually be a concern that the distance is too short. He'll likely be the favorite for the St. Leger and that's a race that has produced many live runners in North America on the cutback. Conduit, Red Rocks, Ballingarry and Phoenix Reach all parlayed St. Leger form into good races on this continent. I consider it to be a key race despite the 14f distance.

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