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Deciphering The Breeders? Cup PT 2 - Turf Races

by Laurie Ross
(Port St. Lucie, FL)

Prep Races:

Two races, the Oak Tree Mile and Shadwell Turf have proved beneficial preps for the Turf Mile at Churchill. In 2000 the Oak Tree Mile Champ War Chant pulled off the Oak Tree/Turf Mile double. In 2006, the Oak Tree winner Aragorn was second in the Turf Mile.

In 2006 and 2010, contenders who raced in the Shadwell Mile, hit the board. Miesque's Approval placed fourth in the Shadwell before blowing away the field in the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile. Last Year's Shadwell winner Gio Ponti was second to the legendary Goldikova.

Six of the last ten editions of the Breeders' Cup Mile have been won by Europeans, with Goldikova taking an unprecedented last three runnings. Although Goldikova won at Churchill last year, in 2000 and 2006 American horses triumphed.

Time between the final prep and the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile range between 20 ' 48 days, with most contenders ready to race within 28 days.

Running Style:
Stalkers won in 2000 and 2006, while Golidikova raced mid-pack in 2010. Overall stalkers and mid-pack runners fared best. All three winners at Churchill were victorious from posts 10 and 11. Gio Ponti hit the board from post 3 last year, but otherwise the top three have come from posts 7 ' 11.

In 2000 and 2010 the favorites won, while in 2006, Miesque's Approval lite the tote at $50.60.

Prep Races:

Four Mares who used the Flower Bowl as a springboard to the Filly & Mare Turf have hit the board in the last two years. In 2006, Honey Ryder and Film Maker, first and second in the Flower Bowl, reversed the decision in the F&M Turf, with Film Maker coming in second and Honey Ryder taking the show spot behind the international sensation Ouija Board.

Last year's F&M Turf heroine Shared Account failed to hit the board in the Flower Bowl, but found the firm Churchill turf to her liking. Keertana, third in the F&M Turf, was fourth in the Flower Bowel.

Europeans have done well in the F&M Turf event. Mares who hit the board in their three last races in Europe also hit the board in the F&M Turf.

The time between their last prep race and the F&M Turf varied for the American mare from 22 to 34 days, while the Europeans took a bit more time between races, from 41 to 55 days between races. Petrushka, the European favorite in the 2000 F&M Turf failed to hit the board. She had won her last preps, but had only 33 days between her last race and the Breeders' Cup.

Running Style:
As one would expect in a turf route race, stalkers hit the board in all three editions of the F&M Turf held at Churchill. Winning and showing in 2000, but in the last two editions, in 2006 and 2010, pace pressers and mid pack runners took the top spots with one run stalkers finishing third. Inside posts (2-8) have fared best.

In 2006 and 2010, the favorites won or placed. In 2000, the favorite failed to hit the board and Perfect Sting returned $12.00 and second place Tout Charmant offered $14.00. Last year, longshot Shared Account held off the favorite Midday and returned $94.00 to her backers.

Prep Races:

Beware the Europeans. They won the last three editions of the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill. Every American horse that hit the board in the Turf used a different prep race to get to Churchill. All except 2000 place horse Quiet Resolve won last time out.

Time between the final prep and the Breeders' Cup Turf varied from 21-56 days. In 2000, there was a relatively quick turn around with all contenders having raced between 21 ' 28 days previously. In 2006, the winner and runner-up took 56 and 41 days between races respectively. Last year the second and third place Turf finishers waited 34 days while the winner came in off of a 50 day layoff.

Running Style:
In 2000 and 2006, one run stalkers won, but surprisingly only three horses the two winners and a runner up, have hit the board. Pace pressers and mid-pack runners hit the board the most, while last year's pace setter finished second. A winner and tird place finisher have exited the one hole, but overall, posts 6 ' 11 are best.

Europeans may dominate at Churchill, but not the horses you would expect. All three years, the favorites lost, and in two of those years, 2000 and 2006, they failed to hit the board.

In 2010, the favorite Behkabad was third. This opened the tote for double digit payouts.

In 2000 Kalanisi paid $11.20 to win, second place Quiet Resolve offered $28.00 to place.

2006 saw Red Rocks returning $23.60 and the gallant old Better Talk Now rewarding backers at $17.40 to place. 2010 was a bit more chalky, with Dangerous Midge returning $19.00 and place horse Champ Pegasus at $9.00.

Last year, the inside posts ruled Churchill's dirt races. The Sprint, Filly & Mare Sprint and Dirt Mile were all won by horses exiting the one hole. No horse won farther out than post 7. Three dirt winners, F & M Sprint, Distaff and Classic, had won a race previously over the Churchill surface.

The race offering the greatest ROI at Churchill for the last three runnings has been the Distaff. All three years the winners have supplied double-digit payouts, the lowest being Unrivaled Belle at $17.00.

In the last three Breeders' Cup contests held at Churchill, six out of eight of the winners in 2000 and 2006 paid more than $10 to win, while last year an incredible 12 of 14 winners offered a $10 or more payout.

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