Racing’s biggest rivalry won’t be renewed today.
It may not be renewed at the Breeders’ Cup, either.
Same time, next year, though? It could happen.
Havre de Grace and Blind Luck are racing on opposite coasts
today, and trainer Larry Jones said this week that he and owner Rick Porter want to get her to the Breeders’ Cup Classic to have the best shot at Horse of the Year.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, meanwhile, said that his objective with Blind Luck, of whom he’s a part owner, is the BC Ladies’ Classic.
Both sides said their 4-year-old fillies will race next year — good news for fans.
For now, Havre de Grace, who beat males in the Woodward at Saratoga Race Course, is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in the Grade I Beldame today on a Super Saturday card that could turn into Soupy Saturday, and her nemesis Blind Luck is 6-5 in the Lady’s Secret on another loaded Breeders’ Cup preview card at Santa Anita.
Suddenly, the Havre de Grace-Blind Luck matchup, which boasts six editions, carries the tone of Zenyatta-Rachel Alexandra, who never raced against each other, but were (and still are) the subject of endless debate over who was better.
Jones said he would love another rematch with Blind Luck, but they have to plot their own course, and if that’s independent of Blind Luck, so be it.
“The greatest scenario for us, which Jerry has acted like that’s not in his agenda, would be for Blind Luck and Havre de Grace to be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against all the boys,” Jones said during a national teleconference on Tuesday. “And then maybe we could tackle everything at one time.
“ I think everybody got to see what can happen [in the Woodward] and what kind of horse we really have. But what a joy it would be to be set in at a mile and a quarter against her and all the boys at equal weight, and let the best horse win.”
In the Beldame, Havre de Grace faces just four rivals, who include Alabama winner Royal Delta and Life At Ten, the source of much controversy in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.
Life At Ten, who has not won since last year’s Beldame, will try blinkers for the first time.
Havre de Grace, whose only loss this year was by a nose to Blind Luck in the Delaware Handicap, beat seven males in the Woodward as the 2-1 favorite.
She was a length and a quarter ahead of Flat Out, who is the 7-5 second choice behind Travers winner Stay Thirsty in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The Kelso, Beldame and Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont and the Norfolk, Lady’s Secret and Goodwood from Santa Anita will be televised live on ESPN Classic during a 4:30-7:30 p.m. broadcast.
Belmont took plenty of rain Friday, and the track is expected to get more today.
Jones said Havre de Grace needs to win the Beldame, but he doesn’t want the effort to be so taxing as to compromise her chances at the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4-5.
“We don’t need to win it by 10,” Jonbes said. “We don’t need to set any kind of big mark for her, because the idea is to go win the race and get as light a prep out of it as we can, instead of a 110 percent effort. We don’t want her to bounce going into the Breeders’ Cup. And we know she’s dead fit. We want to keep her where she is.”
Havre de Grace had six weeks between the Delaware Handicap and the Woodward.
Jones said she came back without a hitch after the Woodward.
They shipped from Saratoga back to Delaware Park the morning after the Woodward.
“I was expecting to get back with somewhat of a tired animal, but she never missed a bite,” he said. “And even that night, I had a little extra feed and I needed the feed bag to use as a trash bag, so we gave her the extra feed in it, and it was all gone the next morning. I mean, she ate more than normal. I guess she felt like she earned it.”
Post time for the Beldame is
5:06 p.m., and the Lady’s Secret is scheduled for 6:43.
Hollendorfer said he’ll have a keen eye on the proceedings taking place at the other end of the country.
“I have my tack room set up with TVs so that we can watch all the races around the country, so we’ll be interested to watch the Beldame, and we’re interested to watch her every time she runs,” he said.
Blind Luck had a string of five second-place finishes that included a loss to Unrivaled Belle in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and two to Havre de Grace, but she’s won three straight, including beating Havre de Grace in the Delaware Handicap.
She also lost in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies two years ago.
“The last two years, we came up a little short, but we’re looking to win that race this year. So the race at Santa Anita this weekend, we’re trying to prepare her for that race, so we’re looking for a good effort.
“We’re not considering the Classic. Maybe that would come up later, and I would certainly discuss that with my partners as a matter of respect, if they wanted to do that. But we’re shooting for the Ladies’ Classic.”
GOLD CUP CARD
Stay Thirsty will try older horses for the first time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and stablemate Uncle Mo is the 4-5 favorite in the Kelso for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole.
The Kelso field will drop to just four, as Godolphin’s Sangaree came down with a cough on Friday and is expected to scratch. Uncle Mo will face Grade I Forego winner Jackson Bend; 2010 Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town, who was second to Jackson Bend in the Forego; and Golddigger’s Boy.
Another notable scratch will be reigning Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Big Drama from the Vosburgh. Trainer David Fawkes told the New York Racing Association that his horse had a temperature on Friday.
He was the 2-1 second choice behind Trappe Shot.
The card also includes the Flower Bowl for fillies and mares on the turf and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational on the turf.
Mechanicville native Chad Brown trains the 6-5 favorite in the Flower Bowl, Grade I Beverly D. winner Stacelita.
SANTA ANITA CARD
Acclamation, who has won four straight graded races, is the 2-1 favorite in the Grade I Goodwood at a mile and an eighth on the main track, but trainer Don Warren said it’s more likely he’ll run on Sunday in the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at a mile and a quarter on the grass.
The Goodwood still has a salty field that includes Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, Awesome Gem and the 3-year-old Coil, who won the Haskell, then finished last in the Travers for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Besides the Lady’s Secret and the Norfolk, the card also includes the Grade I Yellow Ribbon for fillies and mares 3 and up going a mile and a quarter on the turf.
Baffert has the favored 2-year-old in the Norfolk, Drill, who is even money after winning the Del Mar Futurity.
Grade I Gamely winner Dubawi Heights, second to Stacelita in the Beverly D., is the 5-2 favorite in the Yellow Ribbon.
Racing’s stars aren’t confined to Belmont and Santa Anita this weekend.
Preakness winner Shackleford will take on Caleb’s Posse, who nipped Uncle Mo at the wire in the King’s Bishop, in the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park.
Since the Preakness, Shackleford was fifth in the Belmont, second in the Haskell and eighth in the Travers.
Coupled with Friends’ Place, he’s the slight favorite at 9-5, and Caleb’s Posse is 2-1.
A Z Warrior, winner of the Grade I Frizette as a 2-year-old, is the even-money favorite in the Indiana Oaks. She was fourth in the Victory Ride on Travers Day.
At Parx Racing, the Grade II Fitz Dixon Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies has drawn a field of six that includes It’s Tricky, Plum Pretty and Buster’s Ready.
It’s Tricky is a two-time Grade I winner this year, in the Acorn at Belmont and Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, but she was second to Royal Delta in the Alabama.
Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty was second in the CCA Oaks and fourth in the Alabama.
Buster’s Ready, winner of the Grade I Mother Goose at Belmont, was fourth in the CCA Oaks.
‘FEATHER’ IN WEDNESDAY
Awesome Feather, the undefeated 2010 juvenile filly champion, is finally set to make her 2011 debut, and her first start since being sent to Brown’s barn by owner Frank Stronach.
She’s entered in the listed Le Slew at Belmont on Wednesday.
Awesome Feather, who hasn’t raced since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November, has been out most of the year with a tendon problem.
NO CHAMPAGNE BUBBLES
Two impressive juvenile winners at Saratoga, Currency Swap and Fire On Ice, will miss the Grade I Champagne at Belmont next weekend.
Currency Swap gave trainer Terri Pompay, a Saratoga Springs native, the first Grade I win of her career when he took the Hopeful on closing day.
Pompay said after the Hopeful that she would prefer to train up to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and they’ll stick to that plan, according to the Daily Racing Form.
Fire On Ice, who broke his maiden by 103⁄4 lengths at Saratoga first time out, suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg and will be out the rest of the year, trainer and co-owner John Kimmel said.
He had been pointing toward the Champagne.
Fire On Ice worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.94 on the Belmont main track on Wednesday with no discernible problem. The break was discovered on Thursday. He’s scheduled for surgery in Florida on Monday.
‘BIG A’ PURSE HIKE
With a considerable influx of money anticipated from the soon-to-be-running slot machines, the New York Racing Association expects to increase total purses by $8.6 million for the upcoming Aqueduct winter/spring meet.
That’s 36 percent more than purses for last year’s meet.
By law, 6.5 percent of revenue from the slot machines at Genting’s Resorts World New York Casino must go to NYRA’s purse structure.
SARATOGA TO BC
In light of the fact that Tizway will train up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic off his win in the Whitney, reader Lou Sitrin raised this question: What is the history of Breeders’ Cup horses whose previous starts had come at Saratoga?
Since the Breeders’ Cup began in 1984, there have been 49 starters in that position, of which seven won and eight came in last place or did not finish.
The BC winners were Escena in the 1998 Distaff (sixth, Personal Ensign); Orientate in the 2002 Sprint (first, Forego); Invasor in the 2006 Classic (first, Whitney); Corinthian in the 2007 Dirt Mile (fourth, Woodward); Maryfield in the 2007 Filly & Mare Sprint (first, Ballerina); Midnight Lute in the 2007 Sprint (first, Forego); and Big Drama in the 2010 Sprint (second in the Forego).
Most of the 49 ran in three races, the Sprint (14), Classic (10) and Dirt Mile (8).
Invasor’s BC Classic field was particularly heavy with entrants straight from Saratoga, as Sun King (third, Woodward), Flower Alley (seventh, Woodward) and Suave (10th, Woodward) finished 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Classic.
The Travers has been a fairly common final launching point for BC Classic horses.
Go And Go (1990) and Victory Gallop (1998) went straight to the Breeders’ Cup from that race, as did Travers winners Medaglia d’Oro, Birdstone and Colonel John.
The other Classic runner from Saratoga was Quality Road, who won the Woodward last year, then finished last of 12 behind Blame and Zenyatta.
Invasor was away from the races for 100 days before he won the BC Classic. Layoffs for the rest of the BC winners off Saratoga starts range from 44 (Orientate) to 70 (Escena).
If Tizway makes the Nov. 5 Classic, he will have been off for 90 days.
AROUND THE TRACKS
The 5-year-old Here Comes Ben, who won the 2010 Forego at Saratoga, has been retired. His last race was a fourth in the James Marvin at Saratoga. …
Jockey Tammi Piermarini won the first five races on the card at Suffolk Downs on Wednesday, and became the fourth winningest female jockey of all time in the process.
She has 2,024 career wins and needs 114 to pass Patti Cooksey for third all-time. Julie Krone (3,704) and Rosemary Homeister (2,438) top the list. . . .
Rapid Redux was supposed to try to push his undefeated streak to 18 on Friday night at Mountaineer, but he was scratched by trainer David Wells because of muddy conditions at the West Virginia track.
He has won 17 straight since last December and is two shy of the North American record for consecutive wins shared by Zenyatta and Pepper’s Pride.
Wells said Rapid Redux told the DRF that Rapid Redux may run next in a race at Laurel on Oct. 11 or race at Charles Town on Oct. 14.
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