Racing's big Cup all but overflows

102 in Breeders' fields

Behrens in choice post

November 04, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

HALLANDALE, Fla. -- Thirteen million dollars and the prestige of winning on racing's greatest day are powerful lures. Yesterday, owners of thoroughbreds from around the world proved that by entering 102 horses in the eight Breeders' Cup races tomorrow at Gulfstream Park.

In a midday ceremony inside a large white tent outside Gulfstream Park, post positions were drawn for the 16th running of what promoters call the championships of thoroughbred racing. That's not accurate, because a thoroughbred champion is one who wins an Eclipse Award, not a Breeders' Cup race.

Nevertheless, winning at the Breeders' Cup often sews up year-end honors. Behrens, for instance, can clinch the golden Eclipse for Horse of the Year, racing's most prestigious award, by winning the Classic at this country's "classic" distance of 1 1/4 miles.

After drawing post 2, Behrens' trainer, James Bond, displayed a stat sheet and smiled.

The sheet showed that in 1 1/4-mile races at Gulfstream Park from 1993 to 1999, post 2 produced the most winners, 21 percent.

"We do our homework," Bond said. "The fence has been golden at Gulfstream for years."

The track oddsmaker named Behrens the 3-1 favorite. However, the race abounds with enticing betting opportunities, as do the other seven highly competitive races. Except for the Distaff and Juvenile Fillies, each race boasts a full field of 14.

Lemon Drop Kid is 8-1 in the Classic. If the weather forecast holds, he should get the dry track he requires for maximum efficiency and for stating his case for the Eclipse Award as outstanding 3-year-old or even, with victory, Horse of the Year. Lemon Drop Kid drew post 11.

"Eleven's good," said his trainer, Scotty Schulhofer, standing with the colt's Maryland owners, Jinny Vance and Laddie Dance. "We should be able to maneuver our way into good position from there."

Here's a rundown of the eight Breeders' Cup races (purse, distance, post time in parentheses). The day's card will start with two preliminary races.


Third race ($2 million, 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares, 1: 10 p.m.).

Silverbulletday, the 3-year-old sensation who's won 14 of 17 races, will break from post 7 in a field of nine as the 5-2 early favorite. She'll face a pair of powerful 4-year-olds, the 3-1 Beautiful Pleasure, post 6, and the 4-1 Banshee Breeze, post 3.

Beautiful Pleasure beat Silverbulletday in her last race and Banshee Breeze in her race before that. Both victories came on sloppy tracks. If Silverbulletday wins the Distaff, she would become the first horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races. Last year, she triumphed in the Juvenile Fillies.

Juvenile Fillies

Fourth race ($1 million, 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-old fillies, 1: 43 p.m.).

At 8-5, the unbeaten Chilukki is the only early favorite at less than 5-2, indicating the competitiveness of the races. She is 6-for-6 and has once defeated males. She will break from post 3 in a field of nine.

The 3-1 Surfside will break from post 7, and the 4-1 Darling My Darling from post 6. Of the 15 previous Juvenile Fillies, the favorite has won eight, the second favorite two and the third favorite two.


Fifth race ($1 million, one mile on turf, 2: 20 p.m.).

With two-time winner Da Hoss out of action and likely retired, the spotlight strikes the tepid 7-2 favorite Brave Act (post 11), the 5-1 Hawksley Hill (post 4) and two 6-1 French-breds, Jim and Tonic (post 6) and Silic (post 12).

The Mile is usually one of the toughest Breeders' Cup races to decipher. The average win payoff has been $17.98, the average exacta $264. Considering that second-favorite Hawksley Hill, last year's Mile runner-up, is 0-for-6 in 1999, this year's version is murkier than the Everglades.


Sixth race ($1 million, six furlongs, 2: 53 p.m.).

The rewards in the Sprint have been even greater than the Mile. The average Sprint win payoff has been $23.52, the average exacta $331.48. For what it's worth, the 7-2 favorite is Artax (post 5), followed by the 4-1 Forestry (post 8) and the 6-1 Kona Gold (post 2) and 6-1 Affirmed Success (post 12).

Europe's top sprinter, Stravinsky, drew post 7. His 15-1 odds reflect concern about his ability to compete on dirt for the first time.

Filly and Mare Turf

Seventh race ($1 million, 1 3/8 miles for fillies and mares on turf, 3: 24 p.m.). This is the first time this race has been run.

Soaring Softly, the 7-2 favorite, drew post 12. The 4-year-old filly has won six of seven races this year. The Irish-bred Coretta (post 14) is 5-1, and Spanish Fern (post 1) and Perfect Sting (post 10) are both 6-1.

The European filly Zomaradah, 8-1, will break from post 6. Her Italian trainer, Luca Cumani, has raced her sparingly this year (three wins and a second in five starts), pointing all along to this race.


Eighth race ($1 million, 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-old colts and geldings, 3: 57 p.m.).

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