Small Field Pre-Entered For Breeders' Cup Classic

Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and Preakness
winner Curlin headline a small but select field of nine horses
pre-entered Wednesday for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at
New Jersey's Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.
A total of 141 horses were pre-entered for the $23 million,
11-race Breeders' Cup World Championships, held over two days for
the first time.
Todd Pletcher, as usual, led all trainers with 15 pre-entries,
including two for the Classic in Whitney and Woodward winner Lawyer
Ron and Haskell Invitational winner Any Given Saturday, as well as
four fillies for the $2 million Distaff - Indian Vale, Octave,
Panty Raid and Unbridled Belle. Last year, Pletcher sent out a
record 17 horses but came away without a victory.
Final entries and the post-position draw is Tuesday.
The nine-horse field would be the smallest for the 1¼-mile
Classic since 1997, when Skip Away defeated eight rivals at
Hollywood Park. However, the field may be the most talented since
'98, when Awesome Again beat the likes of Silver Charm, Skip Away,
Victory Gallop and Touch Gold.
The Classic most likely will decide Horse of the Year.
Three new races will be contested, all Oct. 26, highlighted by
the Dirt Mile featuring Discreet Cat, who won his first six races
before finishing last in the $6 million Dubai World Cup and third
in the Vosburgh in his last start.
Also, 24 horses earned automatic bids with victories in
Breeders' Cup Challenge races. Of those winners, just 14 were
pre-entered in Breeders' Cup races, including Goodwood Handicap
winner Tiago (Classic).
Also headed to the Classic are Derby runner-up and Kentucky Cup
winner Hard Spun, Goodwood runner-up Awesome Gem, Meadowlands Cup
winner Diamond Stripes and 4-year-old George Washington, brought
out of retirement this year and recently third in the Eclipse
Stakes in England in July.
George Washington is one of 20 horses from Europe headed to the
Jersey Shore. Another is Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe winner Dylan
Thomas (Turf), who will take on United Nations Handicap winner
English Channel as well as two former Turf winners in Red Rocks
(2006) and Better Talk Now (2004).
The $2 million Juvenile, which usually determines the early
favorite for the next Kentucky Derby, was among six races
oversubscribed with 16 pre-entries, two more than the maximum of
14. Champagne Stakes winner War Pass, Lane's End Breeders' Futurity
winner Wicked Style and Belmont Futurity winner Tale of Ekati top
the field.
The $2 million Filly & Mare Turf will feature undefeated
Nashoba's Key. The 4-year-old filly is 7-for-7, with wins on the
dirt and the turf, the most recent a victory in the Yellow Ribbon
at Santa Anita. She will be challenged by two Pletcher-trained
horses, 6-year-old Honey Ryder and 4-year-old Wait a While.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, winner of the Wood Memorial now 3-for-3 on
the turf, was pre-entered in the Mile.
Trainer Bob Baffert has a strong hand in the $2 million Juvenile
Fillies with Frizette winner Indian Blessing and Oak Leaf winner
Cry and Catch Me.
Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches is sidelined with an injury
and will miss the Distaff, although the filly is scheduled to
return for her 4-year-old campaign. Among other top horses not
competing in the Breeders' Cup are Lava Man (Classic) and
Shakespeare (Mile), as well as automatic qualifiers including
Student Council (Classic), Jambalaya (Turf) and Fabulous Strike
For oversubscribed races, fields are chosen based on three
factors: BC Challenge winners; a points system followed; and a
selection committee after the first seven starters have been