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BC Contenders Plan Final Tests

Posted by Webster Washington on 9/18/2016 7:36:34 AM

With the Breeders' Cup about six weeks away, most of the top contenders have penciled in the races they'll enter for the big event. They're also lining up their final prep races before the Breeders' Cup, which is Nov. 5 and 6 at Santa Anita Park. The Woodbine Mile on Saturday in Canada, kicks off the final lap of prep races, but Oct. 1 will be a date to circle for a number of big races. Here are some top contenders, where they'll likely show up next, and the Breeders' Cup events they are pointing toward. They are ones to watch before you settle on which way to go in your Breeders' Cup betting.

BC Classic Contenders

CALIFORNA CHROME is the top rated horse in North America, and his recent win over Beholder and Dortmund in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic bolstered that status. He's a probable for the G1 Awesome Again Stakes on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita, where Dortmund will likely try him again. If he stays on course, Chrome will be the favorite in the Classic.

NYQUIST had his eight-race streak stopped in the Preakness and Haskell, but the Kentucky Derby winner is still probably the top 3-year-old around. He'll get a chance to prove that in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby this weekend against rival Exaggerator.

EFFINEX has won two graded stakes this year, but hasn't won a Grade 1 since the Clark Handicap in November. He hopes to break that trend in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 8. Mubtaahij will be there to test him.

BC Distaff Contenders

SONGBIRD will top the field in a Breeders' Cup Distaff race that will be as interesting as the Classic. Unbeaten in 10 races, she's going after the G1 Cotillion Stakes this weekend at Philadelphia Park. She should be on track for favoritism in the Distaff.

BEHOLDER's setback in the Pacific Classic leads me to think her handlers will put her in this one instead of the BC Classic. After a perfect 2015, she has lost two this year, so she'll look to return to form against rival Stellar Wind in the G1 Zenyatta Stakes Oct. 1 at Santa Anita.

STELLAR WIND is 1-1 vs. Beholder in the last two races, so the Zenyatta will be a sort of rubber match before the BC. Wind has won five of her last eight, all graded stakes. If she takes Beholder in the Zenyatta, she's in the discussion as the top female.

Other Race Contenders

FLINTSHIRE has had success when he comes from Great Britain to the states, so he'll tune up in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Oct. 1 at Belmont before going after the BC Turf. He's on a three-race win streak.

TEPIN will test her seven-race win streak against a couple of worthy foreign shippers in the Woodbine Mile on turf this weekend in Canada. Then she'll go for the BC Mile, also on turf.

RUNHAPPY will seek to run his win streak to seven on Oct. 1 in the Ack Ack Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs. But it will be his first race since taking the G1 Malibu way back in December, and at a mile, the longest race this sprint specialist has ever run. He's pointing to the BC Dirt Mile.

LADY ELI had her six-race unbeaten streak stopped recently in the G2 Ballston Spa, so she'll seek to bounce back on Oct. 1 in the G1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont. She'll be a favorite in the BC Filly & Mare Turf.

Resting Up

Some notable runners have put in their final races before the Breeders' Cup.

FROSTED is just off of a third place in the G1 Woodward at Saratoga, and will be trying to resume his winning ways in either the BC Mile or the Classic. He's won three of his last five.

ARROGATE's monstrous triumph over the top 3-year-olds in the Travers Stakes made him an instant favorite among his age peers and put him in consideration for BC Classic favoritism. But it was the late bloomer's first stakes test, and he has entered nothing until BC time.

MELATONIN won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June, but had to skip the Pacific Classic due to minor illness and hasn't raced since. He's shooting to be back for the BC Classic.

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