Horse Racing / Bill Christine : Rain Forecast, So Greinton in Turf Race
Because the weather forecast is for rain today, followed by more rain on the weekend, Greinton has been entered in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes instead of the $3 million Classic.
The entry deadline for the second running of the seven-race Breeders’ Cup series, which will be held Saturday at Aqueduct, was Wednesday morning. Trainer Charlie Whittingham dropped Greinton’s name into the turf race, not wanting to risk running the English-bred 4-year-old colt on a muddy dirt track in the Classic.
The only time Greinton ever ran on a muddy track was Oct. 5, when he finished last in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. That was the worst showing of his 19-race career, in which he’s won nine races and finished second seven times.
Even if Greinton is forced to run on soft turf Saturday because of rain, Whittingham figures the horse has a better chance than going in the mud. Greinton has run only twice on the grass since he came to the United States late last year, but in one of those races, the Budweiser-Arlington Million in August, he finished second on a soggy course.
Because Greinton wasn’t nominated to the Breeders’ Cup, it is costing his owners--Mary Jones Bradley of Santa Monica, Howell Wynne of Dallas and Whittingham--a supplementary fee of $240,000 to run in the Turf. It would have cost them $360,000 to run in the Classic.
A win in the Classic might have given Greinton an outside chance at the horse-of-the-year title. Now that championship appears to be among Chief’s Crown, Vanlandingham, Track Barron and Lady’s Secret. All but Lady’s Secret are running in the Classic, with the filly seeking her ninth straight stakes win and her 11th of the year in the $1 million Distaff Stakes.
There will be maximum fields of 14 in three of the Breeders’ Cup races--the Sprint, the Mile and the Turf. Thirteen will run in the Juvenile, 12 in the Juvenile Fillies, 7 in the Distaff and 8 in the Classic.
Harvey Pack, the track linemaker, installed Chief’s Crown as the 5-2 favorite in the Classic. Next were Vanlandingham at 3-1 and Gate Dancer at 9-2.
Other favorites are Mogambo at 5-2 in the Juvenile; the Wayne Lukas-trained entry of Family Style, Arewehavingfunyet and Twilight Ridge, 6-5 in the Juvenile Fillies; the Lukas pair of Mt. Livermore and Pancho Villa, 7-2 in the Sprint; Rousillon, 3-1 in the Mile; the Lukas trio of Lady’s Secret, Life’s Magic and Alabama Nana, even money in the Distaff; and Pebbles, 3-1 in the Turf.
Lester Piggott, the Bill Shoemaker of England who is retiring after a 38-year career, has one Breeders’ Cup mount, Theatrical, an Irish-bred longshot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Piggott, who will turn 50 next week, won a race in Ireland with Theatrical this year, but actually, he’s substituting for M.J. Kinane on Saturday. Kinane was injured in a spill two weeks ago.
Turkoman, who has never won a stake and has only two lifetime wins, is nevertheless considered by his trainer, Gary Jones, to be dangerous in the Classic. Turkoman won an allowance race by 10 lengths at Belmont Park in his last start two weeks ago.
Jones is one of the few trainers hoping for rain on Breeders’ Cup day. “This horse excels in the mud,” he said.
Turkoman ran the first race of his career on a sloppy track at Hollywood Park last December and won by half a length.
John Veitch, who trains Proud Truth, a starter in the Classic for John Galbreath, the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, says there’s a good chance the colt will be racing at Santa Anita this winter.
“He’ll go to Florida with the rest of my horses after the Breeders’ Cup, but we’ll be looking at those rich California races,” Veitch said. “There are some major, prestigious races in Florida, like the Widener and the Gulfstream Handicap, but let’s face it, their purses are only about a third of what some of the top California races are.
“I’d like to win some important races for Mr. Galbreath, who’s 88 years old. He’s not counting his days yet, but he is 88 and it would be nice if this horse could win some big ones out there.”
If Veitch does send Proud Truth to California, he would be handled by his exercise rider and assistant, Charlie Rose, who has a brother working in the jockeys’ rooms at California tracks.
Horse Racing Notes Jack Liebau, the head of the syndicate that races Yashgan, the Oak Tree Invitational winner, takes exception, with justification, to the reference here that the 4-year-old colt is not well bred. Yashgan’s sire, Hot Grove, died after only two years at stud, but his female line is strong. Yashgan’s dam, Val Divine, has produced stakes winners and there are French and English champions in the family. . . . Because the Breeders’ Cup mile dirt races--the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies--are run out of a chute, the 2-year-olds that got the inside post positions, Papal Power and Family Style, are at a disadvantage. . . . Laffit Pincay and Chris McCarron have mounts in all seven Breeders’ Cup races. Jorge Velasquez and Angel Cordero are represented in six each. Steve Cauthen’s only mount is Committed, a 5-year-old mare who will go into the Sprint with wins in her last three European starts. . . . Creme Fraiche, winner of this year’s Belmont Stakes, will run in the only Aqueduct race Saturday that isn’t worth $1 million or more. The 3-year-old gelding is entered in a $100,000 stake that completes the day’s eight-race program.