Tony Bin likes to be alone when he flies.
Which could pose a problem for his owners if they decide to send the winner of the Arc de Triomphe to run in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov. 5.
Tony Bin’s owners and trainer are debating whether to send their 5-year-old to Louisville. The Italian horse needs a quiet trip in order to be effective and, based on experience, the only way Tony Bin might settle down on a 4,500-mile flight is if he flies alone.
The 75-cent diagnosis on Tony Bin is that he has claustrophobia. When he has to share a plane with other horses, he gets restless. He’s not antisocial, it’s just that he can’t stand being in a cramped portable stall.
Earlier this year, Tony Bin was flown from Italy to England to run in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. On a relatively short flight, the horse panicked in his stall, thrashing about and becoming a nervous wreck. By the time he got to Blighty, Tony Bin was exhausted. He ran third at Ascot.
In France, Mtoto, the horse who had beaten Tony Bin at Ascot, was the favorite in the Arc, and Tony Bin went off at 14-1. Mtoto encountered traffic problems in the stretch and Tony Bin beat him by a neck.
After Tony Bin hit the finish line at Longchamp, he received a warm greeting. The horse’s supporters waved national flags and jumped barricades and railings to greet him on his way back. The following for Tony Bin in Italy is as rabid as it was for John Henry in the United States.
If Tony Bin comes to Louisville, he will be the third straight Arc winner to compete in the Breeders’ Cup. In 1986, Dancing Brave won France’s premier race and then ran fourth as the 1-2 favorite at Santa Anita. Last year, Arc winner Trempolino, after beating Tony Bin by 2 lengths at Longchamp, lost by half a length to Theatrical in the Turf at Hollywood Park.
A cargo plane from Europe to the United States costs about $40,000, round trip, but it would probably be even more expensive for Tony Bin, who would require a dedicated cabin. It’s something for his owners to think about. First place in the Breeders’ Cup is worth $900,000.
Although a bruised foot is preventing Cutlass Reality from racing Alysheba Friday night in the Meadowlands Cup, his trainer, Craig Lewis, is still hopeful of going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic with the winner of the Californian and the Hollywood Gold Cup.
“He’s had some good works since the foot got better,” Lewis said. “And this is a horse who’s not known for being a good-work horse.”
Cutlass Reality, who would have to be supplemented into the Breeders’ Cup at a cost of $360,000, is scheduled to run in the Goodwood Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 22. The 1 1/8-mile Goodwood would become the most intriguing race of the Oak Tree season if Ferdinand and Precisionist also ran. Mi Preferido, already a stakes winner at the meeting, is another possibility.
Ferdinand is considered definite for the Goodwood, and there’s the likelihood that Precisionist will also run. The other option for Precisionist before the Breeders’ Cup is the New York Racing Assn. Mile at Aqueduct on the same day, but trainer John Russell seems to be leaning toward the Goodwood.
“If we went to New York and the weather was bad and the track came up muddy, we’d be in a tough spot,” Russell said.
Trainer Wayne Lukas has so many horses running in important stakes races this weekend that it has been necessary for him to play musical chairs with his jockeys.
At Belmont Park Saturday, Gary Stevens would normally be aboard Some Romance, because he won the Matron with the 2-year-old filly earlier this month. But Stevens has a more urgent assignment at Keeneland, where he will ride his Kentucky Derby winner, Winning Colors, in the Spinster.
Lukas will send Laffit Pincay to Belmont to ride Some Romance, and en route the jockey will stop at Keeneland to ride Solid Eight in the Alcibiades. Pincay will also ride Is It True, a 2-year-old Lukas colt, in the Champagne at Belmont Saturday. Stevens will ride yet another Lukas filly, Wonders Delight, in the Alcibiades.
Pincay has been riding Texian, who is running in the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-old colts at Santa Anita Saturday. Eddie Delahoussaye now gets that call.
Now that California has caught up with some other states by allowing tracks to publish more complete medication information in the daily program, the state should tighten its liberal coupling rule.
There are fewer couplings for betting in California than in many other states, because local rules permit horses to run separately even if they have the same trainer.
In the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita on Monday, there was still another coupling twist. There would have been a 3-horse entry if Wayne Lukas had saddled One of a Klein, Lea Lucinda and Solid Eight. All three horses had different ownership, but because Lukas is a partner in Solid Eight, the three would have had to run as one betting interest.
When Solid Eight was scratched, One of a Klein and Lea Lucinda were allowed to run separately.
Those two fillies are enough to make bettors dizzy. In the Del Mar Debutante, One of a Klein was favored but ran fifth as Lea Lucinda won on a disqualification. On Monday, Lea Lucinda was favored and ran last as One of a Klein won.
When horses have common trainers--and owners, or both--they should be coupled. It sometimes makes for unattractive betting races because of small fields, but it keeps bettors from raising questions, even when there are no grounds for them to be asked.
Horse Racing Notes
This is not the first horse named Some Romance that Wayne Lukas has trained. During his quarter horse days, Lukas won the Bay Meadows Futurity with another Some Romance and she has become a successful broodmare. . . . Equalize, second to Mill Native in the Arlington Million, is out of the Breeders’ Cup because of a wrenched ankle.
Henry Bellmon, the governor of Oklahoma, has killed plans by the state racing commission that would have required reporters to be fingerprinted to have access to the barn areas at tracks. . . . Mountain Ghost, winner of the Sport of Kings Futurity at Louisiana Downs, heads for the Young America at the Meadowlands and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
The scratches of Alysheba and Winning Colors from major races at Belmont last Saturday were legitimate, but their absences would have been a disaster had a major television network been broadcasting the stakes. No guarantee that the best horses will run has long been a problem for racing when it tries to sell the sport to television. . . . Gene Klein is trying, again, to sell Lady’s Secret, 1986 horse of the year. In foal to Alydar, she is being offered at auction in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 3. Last year, just before the Breeders’ Cup, Lady’s Secret didn’t bring what Klein expected and he reportedly was paid about $5 million for her by the sales company. Later, however, she wound up back in Klein’s hands.
Elans Special, controversial winner of the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs last year, is out of the Quarter Horse Breeders Classics Saturday night at Los Alamitos because of a knee injury. Although Elans Special’s postrace urine test showed traces of an illegal medication, she was not disqualified by the New Mexico Racing Commission, which has been getting conflicting results with some of its drug testing.