Publish positions had been being drawn for the Breeders’ Cup Traditional and solely three spots remained. Two of the horses with out an task had been the 2 favorites, defending champion Arrogate and Gun Runner.
Would one in all them get the dreaded rail?
Arrogate’s title was chosen. “No. 1,” was the decision.
A groan could possibly be heard contained in the pavilion at Del Mar’s Powerhouse Park, the place publish positions for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races this weekend at Del Mar had been drawn Monday.
But when jockey Mike Smith was involved, he saved it to himself.
“In case you return and look,” Smith mentioned, “most likely his greatest two races, the Travers [August 2016] and the Pegasus [January 2017], he was within the one-hole. I discovered a very long time in the past an actual good horse makes a nasty publish a great one. We’ll see what occurs.”
One factor is for certain: Smith received’t have to spend so much of time eager about technique.
“I’ll be aggressive leaving there,” he mentioned. “I’ve acquired to get place. I’ll trip him onerous, like I did within the Travers, and see the place that places me. If I can get proper behind the primary group [of pacesetters] I’ll be proud of that.”
Gun Runner, the 9-5 morning-line favourite after profitable three consecutive races by a complete of 22½ lengths, figures to be a kind of pacesetters out of the No. 5 publish. He’ll have firm from Collected, like Arrogate a member of coach Bob Baffert’s file quartet of starters within the race. Collected, who’s on the surface of the 11-horse subject, received the Pacific Traditional in August by racing gate to wire.
“I like being on the surface higher, however I’ve acquired numerous good horses on the surface,” mentioned Baffert, who additionally has Mubtaahij (No. 6) and West Coast (No. Eight) within the subject. “It’s going to all work out. They’re unfold out in every single place. It was a great draw for Collected. West Coast is in a great place there.”
Arrogate, who shall be retired to stud after Saturday’s race, was the runner-up within the Pacific Traditional, his second consecutive loss after defeating Gun Runner within the Dubai World Cup. The Dubai race was the final of his seven consecutive victories, a stretch that included the Travers, Breeders’ Cup Traditional and Pegasus World Traditional.
Is the Four-year-old nearly as good now as he was presently final yr, when he beat California Chrome within the Traditional at Santa Anita?
“He’s coaching prefer it. He actually is,” Smith mentioned.
Smith additionally has expertise profitable the Traditional from the No. 1 publish. He did it in 1997 at Hollywood Park aboard Skip Away, who was on close to the lead all through. Two different horses have received the Traditional from the rail: Ghostzapper, who led your entire race in 2004, and Superior Once more, who got here from nicely again in 1998.
There even have been three Pacific Clbadics received from the rail on the similar 1¼-mile distance as Saturday’s race, most just lately California Chrome in 2016. He led from gate to wire, as did Bertrando in 1993. Normal Problem, the opposite winner from the within publish, was by no means greater than 3½ lengths off the tempo whereas profitable in 1999.
Arrogate is one in all 5 defending champions attempting to repeat in the identical race, and just one is favored: Drefong at 7-2 within the Dash. The others are Most interesting Metropolis, 12-1 within the Filly & Mare Dash; Queen’s Belief, 12-1 within the Filly & Mare Turf; and Highland Reel, 5-1 within the Turf.
The post-position draw for the Dash additionally was intently watched, and the Baffert-Smith combo couldn’t have favored like what they noticed in that one. Drefong, who took a pointy left flip and unseated Smith shortly after leaving the gate from the No. 2 publish within the July 29 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, obtained the identical publish for the Dash.
“I needed to be outdoors with him as a result of he had that dangerous expertise earlier in the summertime,” Baffert mentioned. “… However he had the two-hole final yr [in the Sprint] and I used to be fretting about that till he received the race.”
Seven of the 13 races Friday and Saturday attracted full fields, and each race has at the least 10 runners besides the Distaff, which has eight. Stellar Wind drew the No. 2 publish for the 11/Eight-mile race and was put in because the 5-2 morning-line favourite over the Three-year-old Elate (Three-1). This shall be Stellar Wind’s third straight look within the Distaff; she was second in 2015 and fourth final yr. Her coach, John Sadler, is Zero-39 in Breeders’ Cup races.
The entire checklist of morning-line favorites, within the order the races shall be run (the primary 4 are Friday): Speeding Fall (Juvenile Fillies Turf, 7-2), Mor Spirit (Filth Mile, Three-1), Masar (Juvenile Turf, 9-2), Stellar Wind (Distaff, 5-2), Moonshine Recollections (Juvenile Fillies, 7-2), Girl Aurelia (Turf Dash, 5-2), Distinctive Bella (Filly & Mare Dash, 9-5), Girl Eli (Filly & Mare Turf, 5-2), Drefong (Dash, 5-2), Ribchester (Mile, 7-2), Bolt d’Oro (Juvenile, 9-5), Ulysses (Turf, 7-2) and Gun Runner (Traditional, 9-5).