Updated on 09/16/2011 8:19AM

BC Countdown - Turf: Sulamani heads European invasion


European horsemen harbor no secrets about how much they prefer the Breeders' Cup to be run at a cool-weather site. Although there have been notable exceptions to the rule, the European horses generally have fared better at tracks such as Churchill Downs, Belmont, or Woodbine than they have in Florida or California.

So when it was announced that the 19th World Thoroughbred Championships would be held at Arlington Park, it was a no-brainer that Europe would be very well represented. The average high temperature in Chicago in late October is about 55, and with direct flights easily available from overseas, the similar climates in Chicago and Europe may lead a horse to suspect that he had not even left home.

Given that European horses specialize in turf racing, their collective presence tends to be even more conspicuous in the three BC grass races. That is an obvious premise guiding this year's running of the $2 million Turf, a 1 1/2-mile race for which Europeans horses occupy the top five rankings - and seven of 10 overall - in Daily Racing Form's initial list of Turf contenders.

Probably the most feared European runner is Sulamani, a French colt who will run as the likely favorite next weekend in the Arc de Triomphe. Although Arc winners historically have shied away from wheeling back in the BC Turf, trainer Pascal Bary has said the Turf is the main objective this year.

Another European standout is High Chaparral, the Sadler's Wells superstar who is unraced since June 30 after having been sidetracked this summer with a cough following his sweep of the Epsom and Irish derbies. Trainer Aidan O'Brien is being coy about whether High Chaparral, who is owned by Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier of Coolmore Stud, will make the Arc and/or the Turf. If the colt is unable to go, then Golan, whose career is controlled by Coolmore, would become the stable's flag-bearer in either or both races.

Other notable Europeans are Hawk Wing, who is more likely for the Mile or Classic; Nayef, a Gulch colt who will prep in the Oct. 19 Champion Stakes at Newmarket; Zindabad, who runs Sunday in the Canadian International at Woodbine; and Aquarelliste, a French filly also under consideration for the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

From North America, the leading contender is the popular gray veteran With Anticipation, who already has won three straight Grade 1 races in the East and will run Sunday as the favorite in the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont.

Denon, the Bobby Frankel-trained colt who fell a head short of beating With Anticipation in the Sword Dancer, also goes in the 1 1/2-mile Turf Classic. One other BC possibility in the Turf Classic is Timboroa, who will be making his first start of the year.

Out west, Falcon Flight is the only horse on the DRF list, and he was fifth, although after considerable trouble, at 17-1 in his last start, the Arlington Million. Falcon Flight is a prime contender for the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship Oct. 6 at Santa Anita.