Fraise will be searching for second unlikely win

November 03, 1993|By Randy Moss | Randy Moss,Dallas Morning News

ARCADIA, Calif. -- You had to see it to believe it, and some didn't even believe it then.

Jockey Pat Valenzuela gave 14-1 long shot Fraise the ride of a lifetime to upset heavily favored Sky Classic in the 1992 Breeders' Cup. Valenzuela steered Fraise inside, then outside, then back inside and finally squeezed through a hole between Sky Classic and the rail in the stretch. Fraise was in front for only a few inches of the 1 1/2 -mile championship grass test, but that nose was what counted most.

Fraise is back, and still not getting much respect.

After an injury-plagued season, Madeleine Paulson's 5-year-old is one of four 1992 Breeders' Cup winners at Santa Anita for another shot in 1993. The early Daily Racing Form odds list him at 20-1 for Saturday's Turf following his last-place finish in the five-horse Turf Classic a month ago at Belmont Park. No horse has won back-to-back Breeders' Cup Turfs.

The competition appears even stronger this year. The French-bred, U.S.-raced Kotashaan -- recently sold to Japanese interests -- has four Grade 1 victories on turf in his last five starts, three of them over the Santa Anita course.

Seven European hopefuls -- Apple Tree, Dernier Empereur, Hatoof, Hernando, Interpidity, Serrant and Wemyss Bight -- arrived on a Monday morning flight.

First alternate Serrant could move into the starting field if trainer Ron McAnally chooses to run the double-entered Johann Quatz in the Mile rather than the Turf. But Muhtarram and two other alternates appear to be on the outside looking in.

Other U.S.-raced starters are expected to be Bien Bien, Fairy Garden, Luazur and Solar Splendor.

Kotashaan is considered the early favorite, but on paper he looks no better than top European contenders Hernando and Opera House. They last competed in the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with Opera House finishing a close third and Hernando a fading 16th over a soggy and tiring course.

A big problem for Europeans again this year could be weather. The British and French trainers complained bitterly about 87-degree temperatures at Miami-area Gulfstream Park last year, and afternoon temperatures at Santa Anita have been around 80 the past week.

As a whole, Europeans are three for 10 in the Turf and Mile when the Breeders' Cup has been held in Florida or California, and five for eight in the cooler climates of New York and Kentucky.

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