With the temperature in the mid-80s on Monday and not a single cloud visible at Santa Anita, the draw was held for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, even though 14 horses entered in the world championships are still stuck in New York and Kentucky waiting for the weather to clear from Hurricane Sandy.
They’re supposed to board a plane Wednesday morning for afternoon arrival in Arcadia, and among the missing are 2-1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite Shanghai Bobby and 9-5 Mile favorite Wise Dan. Special security will be assigned to the horses to fulfill a Breeders’ Cup rule requiring 72-hour surveillance before they race.
It offers further evidence about the possible home-track advantage enjoyed by a strong contingent of West Coast-based horses, led by the Bob Baffert-trained Game On Dude, who drew post position No. 5 in a field of 12 and was installed as the 9-5 favorite for Saturday’s $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 11/4 miles. Game On Dude is unbeaten in five starts at Santa Anita.
Royal Delta, the defending champion in the $2-million Ladies’ Classic, drew the No. 6 post for Friday’s 11/8-mile race. Trainer Bill Mott said Royal Delta suffered a minor cut on a thigh Monday while being loaded on a flight from Newburgh, N.Y., and received some sutures from a veterinarian.
“From my standpoint and her standpoint, I don’t think it will be an issue,” Mott said. “It’s no different than a hockey player getting a little cut on his forehead and getting stitched up. They’re athletes.”
Mott has three horses set to run in the Classic: 5-1 Flat Out, 6-1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron The Greek and 8-1 To Honor And Serve.
Connections for the 3-year-old Dullahan, winner of Del Mar’s Pacific Classic, decided to pass on the Classic and entered him in the $3-million Turf at 11/2 miles.
There are 15 Breeders’ Cup races and more than $25 million in purses with 171 horses entered, including 26 from Europe.
One horse that didn’t make the draw was Contested, a 3-year-old Baffert-trained filly who wasn’t entered in the Filly & Mare Sprint after coming down with a cough.
Jockey John Velazquez was selected to ride in 11 of the 15 races. Joe Talamo, the leading rider at the autumn Santa Anita meeting, has 10 mounts.