11/02/2010 7:53PM

California gold on BC Saturday


Saturday could be big for California in the Breeders’ Cup, if the West Coast shippers are as good as this West Coast handicapper believes. It is time to take a look. Horses are listed in post-position order.

Juvenile Turf

No starters, no interest.


Smiling Tiger drilled a good horse (next-out stakes winner Cost of Freedom) last out. Smiling Tiger has trained super since arriving in Kentucky, and enters with a big shot.

Kinsale King had a good run in winter and spring, but his act is old. Who ships to Fresno for a workout? If Kinsale King hits the board in the Sprint, call it a stunner.

Supreme Summit picked off tired speed and finished second in a G1 won by Smiling Tiger. The style of Supreme Summit suggests he can hit the board; a win is unlikely.

Turf Sprint

Unzip Me, a filly, might be better than she looks. She does not appear to handle the tight turns of the Hollywood turf course, but wins there anyway. She has longshot potential.

Waveline is overmatched and outclassed. Otherwise, you have to love her. She did finish relatively close to Unzip Me. Waveline, a closer, could clunk up for third at a price.

Quick Enough is razor sharp, and might tuck into a cozy trip sitting just off the speed. With any racing luck, he would be 4-for-4 this year. He has a big look at a fat price.

California Flag, last year’s Turf Sprint winner, stayed in Kentucky after getting drilled at Keeneland. This year, California Flag lost his best weapon – his speed. No thanks.


J P’s Gusto, a front-runner, is compromised by the pace scenario. He will keep things honest, and who knows? – maybe he is a dirt horse. More likely, he is a sprinter.

Riveting Reason’s trainer is Myung Kwon Cho, whose four BC starters include third-place finishes by 80-1 Critical Factor, 40-1 Nationalore, and 6-1 Street Hero. A live longshot.

Jaycito raced wide start to finish in the G1 Norfolk at Hollywood Park, and won anyway. In a race with an abundance of speed, he enters as an obvious contender.


The Usual Q.T. moved too soon at Woodbine, and paid the price. He has battled all year, continues to run well, and enters with a longshot look in a tough race.

Sidney’s Candy set a wild pace (1:08.91) his only turf start, and crushed 3-year-olds. This is tougher, but Sidney’s Candy will race by himself. He might win, he might finish last.

Dirt Mile

Dakota Phone is not good enough, but anyone who leaves the consistent late-runner out of the vertical exotics is asking for trouble. He is a useful, hit-the-board longshot.

Crown of Thorns is solid. Two races into his season (runner-up in two G1’s) he is just getting started. Recent works are super; a one-turn mile is perfect. He is the one to beat.

Hurricane Ike has not raced in California since March, when he finished third in N1X. He appears overmatched, but has won a Churchill Downs. He would be a stunner.


Champ Pegasus has been campaigning this year against a sorry West Coast turf division. But he is getting better every start, and benefits from the longer distance. Upset potential.


Zenyatta looked sensational physically before she left California on Tuesday. Her most recent work was her best yet; this is the race trainer John Shirreffs has targeted all year.

Lookin at Lucky will give “Z” her biggest challenge. The outside draw is a plus in a 12-horse field. The improving 3-year-old has never lost with a good trip. Big chance.


California is represented Saturday in seven of the eight Breeders’ Cup races. The best chances are Smiling Tiger (Sprint), Crown of Thorns (Dirt Mile) and Zenyatta (Classic).

Bottom line: California shippers should win at least two Saturday, and probably more.