Devil His Due, Paradise Creek and Lure, three of the favorites for Saturday's Breeders' Cup races, have drawn outside post positions that might hurt their chances in capacity fields.
When Devil His Due drew the No. 14 spot Wednesday for the $3-million Breeders' Cup Classic, Mike Battaglia, the Churchill Downs handicapper, switched his morning-line favorite to Tabasco Cat. Devil His Due was listed as the second choice at 4-1, and Tabasco Cat, who drew the No. 4 post, is 7-2.
Lure, with the No. 14 post, is still the favorite in the $1-million Mile for an unprecedented third consecutive year, but Battaglia said that his 9-5 odds would have been lower "if he wasn't breaking from the parking lot."
Paradise Creek, who drew the No. 13 post, is still the 8-5 favorite in the $1-million Turf.
A record 94 horses were entered in seven races worth $10 million. There are capacity fields of 14 starters in each race except the Distaff, which might be the toughest to win because of a deep 10-horse field.
Other favorites are Soviet Problem at 7-2 in the Sprint; the entry of Flanders and Cat Appeal, 6-5 in the Juvenile Fillies; Timber Country, 7-2 in the Juvenile, and Hollywood Wildcat and Sky Beauty, who are each 2-1 in the Distaff.
"I couldn't separate those two horses," Battaglia said. "This is the first time I've ever had co-favorites in a race."
Trainer Shug McGaughey tried to find something positive about Lure's outside draw, and mentioned that he had won the Mile a year ago at Santa Anita after starting from No. 12 in a 13-horse field.
"We'll have to use him more leaving the gate," McGaughey said. "But since he's only running a mile, that shouldn't matter."
Horse Racing Notes
Mike Battaglia said that he would have made Holy Bull "less than 2-1" if the colt had run in the Classic. Holy Bull, who is favored to win the horse-of-the-year title without running Saturday, is being rested for a 4-year-old campaign. His owner-trainer, Jimmy Croll, sent in Holy Bull's $500 nomination fee a year late, when he was a yearling instead of a weanling, and it would have cost Croll a penalty of $360,000 to run him in the Classic.
There's a chance of rain Friday and Saturday, with temperatures dropping from the 60s Friday to the 50s for race day. . . . Donald Calabria, attorney for trainers Ron McAnally, Willard Proctor, Richard Mandella and Mark Hennig, said they would appeal the fines ordered Tuesday by California Horse Racing Board stewards. The four trainers raced horses at Santa Anita that tested positive for a prohibited medication. "The fact that they issued these relatively small fines without comment still leaves a cloud over the trainers' heads," Calabria said. "If they really believe these trainers did something, why didn't they give them six-month suspensions?"
Mandella, who had two horses that tested positive, was fined $750 and the others were fined $500. "Even the way they totaled up the fines doesn't make sense," Hennig said. "In effect, Mandella got $250 for his second positive. What would they have done if he'd had a third positive, fine him only $125?"