The Road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships begins in earnest on Saturday with the first of the Win & You're In races for the Breeders' Cup Classic, and it's a solid octet (nine entered but one of the Dans will scratch) led by Wise Dan assuming he starts in favor of his stablemate, Successful Dan.The older male group appears solid this year and three-year-olds such as Bodemeister and Union Rags can spice up the Classic division later in the year, but for as exciting as everyone staying healthy would be, it's hard to imagine any North American-based horse having the draw at Breeders' Cup that Black Caviar, Camelot, or Frankel would.The Breeders' Cup has not been shy about trying to land Black Caviar and Frankel for the World Championships on November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park, but what are the chances any of them show up?Camelot is certainly the most likely given he is owned by Coolmore, which has not been shy about bringing its absolute best horses to the States. It's trio in 2002 of Rock of Gibraltar (Mile), High Chaparral (Turf), and Hawk Wing (Classic) was easily one of the strongest international contingents ever assembled.Frankel's owner Juddmonte is a big supporter of American racing, including the Breeders' Cup, but his participation is certainly more tenuous. It's difficult imagining Frankel's connections risking an undefeated career in our Turf Mile, but winning the Classic to complete an undefeated career could stamp him as the greatest of all time.Black Caviar is a major longshot, but the down the hill turf sprint is ideal for her. Seeing her swing wide off that turn and accelerate for home would be worth whatever cost it takes to get there, and it's hard to imagine a shorter-priced favorite on the card (or maybe ever in the history of the Breeders' Cup) if she showed up.Unfortunately, it's tough to see that happening. I have Black Caviar at 100-to-1 to be in Arcadia with Camelot 25x more likely at 3-to-1 and Frankel 10x more likely at 9-to-1. At those odds, the chances that all three show up is 4,000-to-1 and the chance that none of them do is 3-to-5.Obviously a lot can happen between now and November, including both Frankel and Black Caviar running at Royal Ascot next week.As for this weekend, I'll be cheering for whichever Dan is running in the Stephen Foster, as I bet both of them to win the Classic. My take on the Stephen Foster is that Wise Dan is the fastest until he shows he isn't. I'm not over the Moon with the weight assignment (Big Cap winner Ron the Greek gets four pounds, multiple graded stakes winner Nates Mineshaft gets five, and both Nehro and Mission Impazible get seven each), but I like the post for the trip I'd like him to get. Wise Dan is unlikely to be a win play, but he's one I can lean on in the Pick 4s.The Stephen Foster closes out an all-stakes Pick 4 and begins the late Pick 4. Check out TwinSpires.com's 4x4 promotion to win up to 4-million points by playing each of the Pick 4s on Saturday at Churchill).Joel Cunningham, who didn't like Dullahan in the Belmont Stakes, picks Nehro to win the Stephen Foster. He's certainly a threat running late with the favorable impost.
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The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
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