The total number of horses pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup is down, perhaps because of a new rule banning raceday Lasix in the juvenile races.
That won’t stop Starlight Racing and trainer Todd Pletcher from sending undefeated Shanghai Bobby to Santa Anita next week, though.
He’s one of 10 2-year-old colts named for the Juvenile, to be held a week from Saturday.
The Breeders’ Cup drew 180 horses, down from 193 last year. The post-position draw will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET on Monday. Each race is limited to 14 starters.
The Classic drew 14, but trainer Bill Mott said 4-year-old filly Royal Delta likely will run in the Ladies’ Classic, instead, the race she won last year to clinch the 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award.
The Ladies’ Classic, to be held on Friday, Nov. 2, could be the highlight of the weekend, with a star-studded field even if Royal Delta runs in the Classic next Saturday.
Fillies and mares lined up for the Ladies’ Classic include two undefeated horses, My Miss Aurelia and Awesome Feather, one of six horses trained by Mechanicville native Chad Brown.
Also pre-entered are Alabama winner Questing, two-time Grade I winner Love and Pride, California-based multiple graded stakes winner Include Me Out, Grade I Spinster winner In Lingerie, Grace Hall and Class Included.
The Classic field will be drawn from Game On Dude, Ron the Greek, Fort Larned, Flat Out, Mucho Macho Man, To Honor and Serve, Travers co-winner Alpha, Richard’s Kid, Pool Play, Brilliant Speed, Handsome Mike, Nonios (cross-entered in Dirt Mile) and Dullahan, owned in part by Ray Bryan of Saratoga Springs through Donegal Racing.
Golden Ticket, who dead-heated with Alpha in the Travers, is out of the Breeders’ Cup after coming down with a lung infection this week.
Shanghai Bobby represents a terrific chance for a BC win by Starlight, whose managing partners are Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg and Jack Wolf.
Besides him, Pletcher has three other horses scheduled to run in the five juvenile races. None of them has ever raced with Lasix, which mitigates the symptoms of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging.
“It is uncharted waters,” Pletcher said. “I’m not anticipating any problems, but there’s only one way to know, and that’s to run them and see how they perform, and scope them afterward. We haven’t done anything different; the most important thing is to have them healthy going in.
“He’s [Shanghai Bobby] a very healthy horse. I don’t anticipate it to be a problem. He hasn’t had a problem, no.”
Brown, who won a Breeders’ Cup race as in a head trainer in 2008, with Maram in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, has a full hand himself.
Besides Awesome Feather, who won the 2010 Juvenile Fillies before coming to his barn, Brown has Zagora as one of the top contenders in the Filly & Mare Turf; Watsdachances in the Juvenile Fillies Turf; Balance the Books and Noble Tune in the Juvenile Turf; and Corporate Jungle in the Turf Sprint.
Awesome Feather has been lightly raced since coming to his barn, but she’s 10-0 and will be one of the favorites in the Ladies’ Classic, along with Royal Delta.
“We’re leaning toward running in the Ladies’ Classic,” Mott said.
“The field, right now, looks like it’s shaping up to be as good of one as we’ve possibly seen,” Pletcher said. “You’ve got Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia undefeated, but it’s excellent from top to bottom.”
Mott won both the Classic (Drosselmeyer) and Ladies’ Classic last year.
Even with Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic, he has three others pre-entered in the Classic, Flat Out, Ron the Greek and To Honor and Serve.
It’s likely they’ll all be chasing Game On Dude, who is in a position for Horse of the Year honors, should he win the Classic.
His only loss in four starts since running in the Dubai World Cup was a second to Dullahan in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar.