Updated on 09/16/2011 9:25AM

BC Countdown - Turf: Europeans stronger than U.S. hopefuls


Europe will bring one of its strongest contingents to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

As of Wednesday, the leading contenders for the richest turf race in the United States were all based in Europe. The list of expected starters included Marienbard and High Chaparral, the first- and third-place finishers in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp; Golan, the winner of the King George VI Stakes at Ascot in July; and Hawk Wing, the winner of the Coral Eclipse Stakes in July.

Add Ballingarry, the winner of the Canadian International at Woodbine on Sept. 29, and the longshot Mubtaker and the visitors have an even deeper bench.

Mubtaker, winner of the Group 2 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, was scheduled to run in the Canadian International but was withdrawn when blood tests showed that he was not in top shape.

One notable absence from Europe is Sulamani, the winner of the French Derby and runner-up in the Arc, who probably has been turned out for the year.

Ballingarry was bought by an American partnership following his win in the Canadian International, but returned to France to complete quarantine procedures. A 3-year-old, Ballingarry will be trained by Laura de Seroux for the Turf, which is run over 1 1/2 miles.

The Europeans have won the last three runnings of the Turf with Daylami (1999), Kalanisi (2000), and Fantastic Light (2001). Bettors will be expecting them to win for the fourth consecutive time and are likely to favor High Chaparral, who won the English and Irish derbies earlier this year.

Awaiting the Europeans, are a group of American-based runners in search of a consistent leader.

Denon and With Anticipation, who have dominated the marathon turf division in New York this year, lead the domestic contenders. The Tin Man joined the group with his win in the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Denon won the Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Sept. 29, a race in which With Anticipation finished sixth as the favorite.

Blazing Fury, second to Denon in the Turf Classic, will be a longshot in the Turf. Trained by James Toner, Blazing Fury finished fourth last year at Belmont Park as a 3-year-old.

During the summer, the Arlington Million was expected to offer clues for the Turf, but only fifth-place finisher Falcon Flight is considered probable.

Falcon Flight finished second to Ballingarry in the Canadian International and must be supplemented to the Turf for $180,000 by owner Gary Tanaka.

A 6-year-old, Falcon Flight won the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap on July 27 in his 2002 debut, and was a troubled fifth in the Million, losing by a half-length. In the Canadian International, Falcon Flight was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Ballingarry despite being in traffic with three furlongs remaining.

"I thought he ran a good race," trainer Don Burke said. "He definitely got pinched at the three-furlong pole. I think without that it would have made it more interesting."