10/17/2007 11:12AM

Pre-entries: First Look

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Letthegamesbegin
The Breeders' Cup pre-entries have been released from their cages and the online pp's are up. Eleven races, 141 horses, 19 of them cross-entered in two spots, for a total of 160 entries.

Six of the eleven are technically oversubscribed, but four of those six are fields that drew 15 or 16 entries in races limited to 14 starters. So between defections and cross-entries, no one may actually be excluded from those four when real entries are taken next Tuesday. The two races where the BC Selection Committee's choices and rankings will come into play are the new Juvenile Turf, which got 23 names in the box, and possibly the (Turf) Mile, which got 18.

The briefest of first takes:

*BC Dirt Mile: WIth just 11 pre-entries, this is the second-smallest pre-entered field behind the Classic's 9. It could well go down to nine because it's the second choice race behind the Sprint for Commentator and Forefathers. Discreet Cat ('06 Cigar Mile), Commentator ('05 Whitney) and Corinthian ('07 Met Mile) are the lone G1 winners in the field.

*BC Juvenile Turf: Don't worry if you've never heard of many of these 23: six are Europeans and another seven have nothing more than a maiden victory on their resumes. Stakes-winners Prussian and The Leopard may be the favorites. Five of the 23 are cross-entered in the Juvenile (4) or Juvenile Fillies(1).

*BC F&M Sprint: A dozen were pre-entered, including on-the-fencers Hystericalady (also-pre-entered in the Distaff) and La Traviata (Sprint). In their absence, Prioress-Test winner Dream Rush would be the likely favorite.

*BC Juvenile Fillies: Saturday's first BC race got 16 pre-entries including Juvenile Turf cross-entrant Annie Skates. Bob Baffert has two G1 winners in likely favorite Indian Blessing (Frizette) and Cry and Catch Me (Oak Leaf) in a lineup that also includes Spinaway winner Irish Smoke and Matron winner Proud Spell. Alcibiades winner Country Star, as expected, was not entered.

*BC Juvenile: Champagne winner War Pass is the likely favorite in a field of 16 that includes four Juvenile Turf cross-entrants and the winners of the Breeders' Futurity (Wicked Style), Norfolk (Dixie Chatter), Hopeful (Majestic Warrior), Belmont Futurity (Tale of Ekati), and Saratoga Special (Kodiak Cowboy).

*BC F&M Turf: A field of 13 including cross-entrants Honey Ryder (Turf), Nashoba's Key (Distaff), Panty Raid (Distaff) and Precious Kitten (Mile). Time to bone up on the four Euros being sent over for the race: All My Loving, Passage of Time, Simply Perfect and Tamarwa. Nashoba's Key the likely favorite if she goes here as expected.

*BC Sprint: Midnight Lute, who will come into this fresh off his chart-topping 124 Beyer in the Forego, heads a list of 15 pre-entrants that includes five cross-entrants (Four from the Dirt Mile and La Traviata); the 1-2-4 finishers from the Ancient Title (Idiot Proof, Greg's Gold, Bordonaro); perennial pacesetter Attila's Storm; and Kelly's Landing, unraced since winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen March 31.

*BC Mile: No rash of last-minute Euro entrants here as in the F&M Turf, just the somewhat obscure Jeremy and Rabatash, who are worth a look in a less-than-vintage year for the Americans. The primo Euros are Aidan O'Brien's pair of Excellent Art and George Washington, though the latter may instead go in the Classic. Icy Atlantic (Turf), Lewis Michael (Dirt Mile), My Typhoon (Distaff) and Precious Kitten (F&M Turf) are also cross-entered elsewhere. Nobiz Like Shobiz was pre-entered despite trainer Barclay Tagg's initial preference for the Hollywood Derby.

*BC Distaff: The field of 15 includes four aforementioned cross-entrants and may be the day's deepest and most contentious race. Ten fillies are listed between 6-1 and 12-1 on overseas betting lines: Ginger Punch, Hystericalady, Indian Vale, Lady Joanne, Lear's Princess, Octave, Panty Raid, Teammate, Tough Tiz's Sis and Unbridled Belle.

*BC Turf: Arc winner Dylan Thomas looks like the day's heaviest favorite on a roster of 11 that includes four Pletcher trainees: English Channel, the likely second choice, and three on-the-fencers -- cross-entered Icy Atlantic and Honey Ryder, and perhaps Canadian International-bound Sunriver. The '04 and '06 winners, Better Talk Now and Red Rocks, are back to try for a second BC Turf victory. The new stranger is Champs Elysees, a lightly-accomplished Juddmonte 4-year-old who is a full brother to F&M Turf winners Banks Hill and Intercontinental.

*BC Classic: The field of nine pre-entries could go down to seven if Diamond Stripes opts for the Dirt Mile and George Washington goes in the Mile. The other seven are the Fab Four 3-year-olds -- Any Given Saturday, Curlin, Hard Spun and Street Sense; Whitney/Woodward winner Lawyer Ron; and the 1-2 finishers from the Goodwood, Tiago and Awesome Gem. I still can't see Hard Spun beating them all, but my first reaction after looking at this lineup was that he could get awfully loose in here.