10/27/2005 11:00PM

BC Classic analysis


The fastest horse in the race on speed figures, multiple Grade 1 winner SAINT LIAM further benefits from the pace scenario. There is not much speed, and the presser will be on top of the lead throughout. SUN KING ran better than the line shows in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was shuffled back at the quarter pole, lost position, and re-rallied in a better-than-looked effort that spells potential upset. SUPER FROLIC has enough speed possibly to attempt an aggressive strategy and go straight the lead. Much improved this season for his new trainer, he could pull a major upset. PERFECT DRIFT has lost this race three times. ROCK HARD TEN has had a soft fall campaign, a bruised foot, and his two worst efforts were shipping to the East Coast.

- Brad Free

ORATORIO finished fourth as the favorite in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, but it wasn't a bad performance as he still beat 11 opponents. If he runs as well as he did in his triumph in the Irish Champion, and handles the surface switch, he can win this race at an overlaid price. ROCK HARD TEN ran well at Santa Anita when he won his comeback, but defeated only three rivals in that field. If the bruised foot does not hinder him, he'll be a threat to take it all. SAINT LIAM earned a 123 Beyer in his second-place finish to Commentator two races ago. If he runs a more typical race, he is only about as fast as a few other contenders in this field. I'll look for betting value elsewhere.

- Steve Klein

What a difference a year has made for SUAVE, the impeccably bred colt who has improved dramatically from 3 to 4. He opened his delayed campaign with two nice wins, including the Saratoga Breeders' Cup, then had a spot of traffic trouble when drowned by Borrego in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup four weeks ago. His tactical ability and peak in-form cycle might really open some eyes. SAINT LIAM caught a tough break with an outside hole but has the speed to quickly negate it. His last race was seven weeks ago, which is just perfect in Dutrow's world. He is another primed to run the race of his life. ORATORIO is a multiple Grade 1 winner for O'Brien - enough said. Respect is due to several other highly accomplished stars in this field, including ROCK HARD TEN, although that foot-bruise hiccup cannot be good.

- Marty McGee

ROCK HARD TEN came up with a foot bruise a week ago, but if a trainer such as Dick Mandella thinks it's okay to run him, then it's okay with me. Rock Hard Ten's prep in the Goodwood was perfect in that he ran only hard enough to win, and yet he still ran the fastest race of his life on Beyer Figures. SAINT LIAM won the Woodward in a walk, and his positional speed is a big asset in a race lacking a lot of early pace. ORATORIO won two major Group 1's in Europe this year at this distance, and hails from a barn that has had great results moving European turf horses to dirt in the Breeders' Cup. Borrego won the Jockey Club Gold Cup as easily as Saint Liam won the Woodward, but the pace this time may not be as favorable.

- Mike Watchmaker