Keeneland Preps Reveal Breeders’ Cup Standouts
Category : News
Sun 05/10/2014 - 13:10 EDT
Folks who witnessed the Saturday, October 4 card at Keeneland likely saw two Breeders’ Cup winners – one a seven year-old gelding who has become racing’s biggest superstar, and the other, a burgeoning two-year old colt with seemingly limitless potential.
Wise Dan and Carpe Diem are at very different stages in their racing careers, but they will share the stage November 1 at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile respectively where both will be heavily bet – and with good reason. If anyone thought now was the time to bet against Wise Dan figuring age and colic surgery in May were likely to slow down the two-time Horse of the Year, the striking chestnut gelding put those ideas to rest with his demonstration of thoroughbred excellence in the Shadwell Turf Mile.
Dan is still the man
Facing a quality field that included two grade 1 winners and multiple grade 2 winners, Wise Dan provided a few anxious moments by breaking uncharacteristically slowly after cocking his head towards the grandstand when the gates opened. For the first time in his illustrious career, Wise Dan was last heading into the first turn. As grade 1 winner Silver Max cruised along on the front through dawdling fractions, Wise Dan and jockey John Velazquez showed no signs of panic, calmly picking off horses down the backstretch before finding a bit of trouble when the champ squeezed between two horses entering the final turn. As the field entered the stretch, Wise Dan found running room on the extreme outside and began unleashing gargantuan strides without any visual evidence of fully exerting himself to score by a measured length over Grand Arch.
Carpe Diem precocious beyond comparison
Carpe Diem looked equally superior to his rivals in becoming a Grade 1 winner in just his second career start. The two-year old son of Giant’s Causeway was purchased for $1.6 million by his owners less than a year ago – a transaction that now looks like a bargain. Showing a naturally high cruising speed and plenty of stamina winning the Futurity by over six lengths despite just a five and a half furlong debut, it’s difficult to imagine any two-year olds having more raw ability than Carpe Diem in the BC Juvenile. Bettors who choose to go against Wise Dan or Carpe Diem on Breeders’ Cup day will be dismissing runners who are in better form and clearly more talented than their competition.
Players trying to look beyond prohibitive favorite Tepin in the September 17 Woodbine Mile will surely have their work cut out for them as the superstar mare tackles seven rivals on the grass.
The second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown goes Tuesday night from Fort Erie race track, where Sir Dudley Digges will try to take another step toward Canadian racing history.
On Sunday, Woodbine will host the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes, Canada’s most prestigious race. Restricted to horses foaled in Canada, the classic mile and a quarter contest has drawn a field of thirteen three-year-olds.
A spectacular card of graded stakes action has been assembled for Saturday at Belmont Park and the $1 million Ogden Phipps is shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the day. The Grade 1 event for fillies and mares will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth.