By Jay Privman
ARCADIA, Calif. – A showdown between California Chrome and Arrogate in the $6 million Classic on Saturday and an unprecedented match-up between champions Beholder, Songbird, and Stellar Wind in the $2 million Distaff on Friday highlight 13 Breeders’ Cup races that will be run on Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita, and for which posts were drawn on Monday.
California Chrome and Arrogate top a field of 10 entered in the Classic, the last and richest of the 13 races, nine of which are Saturday, four on Friday.
The Distaff has eight runners, but considering the quality, eight is enough. Never before have three reigning Eclipse Award winners been in the same Breeders’ Cup race.
This is the 33rd Breeders’ Cup, and the record ninth held at Santa Anita. Purses of the 13 races total $26.5 million.
A total of 162 horses are entered in the 13 races. Three of the races – the Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Turf Sprint -- had more than the maximum 14 entered. In those races, 14 were placed in the body of the field, and two also-eligibles were allowed.
Those also-eligibles can only get in if there is a scratch from the main body of the race by 8 a.m. Pacific time Friday, scratch time for both the Friday and Saturday cards.
Of the 13 races, eight have fields of 12 or more. Only three have fewer than 10, the Distaff having the smallest field, with eight.
Monday’s entry stage was the second and final of a two-step process. Last week, horses could be pre-entered in as many as two races, but by Monday those horses had to denote which race they were going in. One of the most closely watched was Found, who was pre-entered in both the Classic and the Turf, but eventually wound up in the Turf, a race she won last year.
Beholder, Found, and Songbird are three of 10 prior Breeders’ Cup race winners entered this year. The others are Catch a Glimpse, Hit It a Bomb, Lady Eli, Mongolian Saturday, Runhappy, Tepin, and Wavell Avenue.
The Classic and Distaff were drawn late Monday afternoon. The other 11 races were drawn earlier Monday.
The early draw got off to a rocky start when the racing office officials initially started drawing the Juvenile Fillies Turf instead of the actual first race, the Juvenile Turf.
That was quickly caught, but when the Juvenile Turf draw commenced, about midway through the draw two horses announced correctly as also-eligibles were mistakenly drawn in the body of the race, so that draw had to be abandoned and the race was drawn anew.
The $1 million Juvenile Turf at one mile on grass begins the Friday card. Brad Free, who made the Daily Racing Form lines for the Friday races, has Good Samaritan as the 7-2 favorite.
The $1 million Dirt Mile has a field of nine, with Dortmund the 6-5 favorite. The field includes Runhappy, last year’s Sprint winner.
The $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, at one mile on turf, finds Intricately the lukewarm 9-2 favorite in a wide-open field.
Free has Songbird favored at 8-5 in the $2 million Distaff at 1 1/8 miles, with Beholder at 5-2 and Stellar Wind 3-1. The unbeaten Songbird won last year’s Juvenile Fillies, while Beholder is a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, in the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and Distaff in 2013.
Saturday’s card begins with the $2 million Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, made the Saturday lines and has Noted and Quoted as the 7-2 favorite.
Lady Eli is favored at 5-2 in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf at 1 1/4 miles on grass. Catch a Glimpse is 15-1. Those fillies won the last two runnings of the Juvenile Fillies Turf and are trying to win a second Breeders’ Cup race.
Lord Nelson is the 5-2 favorite on Watchmaker’s line in the $1.5 million Sprint going six furlongs.
In one of the most wide-open races of the two days, Watchmaker made A Lot the lukewarm 5-1 favorite in the $1 million Turf Sprint at about 6 1/2 furlongs on grass. Mongolian Saturday, the defending race winner, is 15-1.
The $2 million Juvenile, one of the most competitive in years, finds Classic Empire favored at 4-1 in the 1 1/16-mile race.
Flintshire is the 2-1 favorite and Found, the defending race winner, 3-1 in the $4 million Turf at 1 1/2 miles on grass.
Haveyougoneaway is the 3-1 favorite in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint at seven furlongs, with defending race winner Wavell Avenue 12-1.
Tepin is the lukewarm 4-1 favorite to defend her title in the $2 million Mile on turf. Hit It a Bomb, last year’s winner of the Juvenile Turf, is a 30-1 longshot.
And in the $6 million Classic at 1 1/4 miles, Watchmaker made California Chrome the shortest price of the 13 races, at even-money, with Arrogate next at 5-2.