Updated on 09/17/2011 11:25PM

BC Turf: This weekend's world-wide results will clarify status of several contenders


Three major races this weekend in California, France, and New York will help determine the field for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, with much of the focus on Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Arc de Triomphe is expected to have an outstanding field, including Bago, the defending champion; Motivator, the winner of the Epsom Derby; Hurricane Run, the winner of the Irish Derby; and the filly Shawanda.

Recent runnings of the Arc have had a major influence on the BC Turf. High Chaparral was third in the 2002 and '03 Arc and twice won the BC Turf in his following start. In 2001, Milan finished fifth in the Arc and was second in the BC Turf at Belmont Park.

Of this year's leading Arc probables, Motivator is a strong candidate for the BC Turf. Plans for the others will become clearer next week.

The Arc will not include Azamour, who will be pointed for the BC Turf. Azamour has won two Group 1 races in England this year, including the King. Trained in Ireland by John Oxx, Azamour was fifth in the Irish Champion Stakes earlier this month.

In a sense, it is difficult to call Sunday's Arc a prep race to the BC Turf. With a purse of approximately $2.17 million, the Arc carries a purse slightly higher than the BC Turf.

The races in California and New York are truly preps. The top performers from those races are seeking to join Better Talk Now as top American-based hopes for the BC Turf. Better Talk Now won the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 10, his final start before the BC Turf.

Saturday's $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont marks the first start over 1 1/2 miles on turf for Shakespeare, the winner of the Belmont BC Handicap earlier this month. Trainer Bill Mott admits this will be an important test for the 4-year-old Shakespeare.

"Every time, he has stepped up in class and handled it pretty well," Mott said. "He's a nice horse and appears to have good acceleration at a mile and an eighth. We will see what he can do at a mile and a half."

Sunday at Santa Anita, Leprechaun Kid and Laura's Lucky Boy, the first two finishers of the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August, are the leading contenders for the $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

"Laura's Lucky Boy is coming up little by little," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He's an improving horse. I'm anxious to see how he goes here."

Silverfoot, the winner of the Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs last Saturday, will make his next start in the BC Turf, trainer Dallas Stewart said.

Asked if he had any hesitation of taking on a world-class field with a Grade 3 winner in Silverfoot, Stewart replied, "For $2 million, you will take anyone on."

Turf Contenders
3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles (turf). Purse: $2 million.

1ShakespeareW. Mott10-1
sExciting prospect makes big distance jump to 1 1/2 miles on Saturday
2PowerscourtA. O'Brien4-1
Romped in Arlington Million; could have won this last year with a good ride
3MotivatorM. Bell9-2
English Derby winner will appreciate stretching back out to 1 1/2 miles
4Hurricane RunA. Fabre5-1
Irish Derby winner still holds as favorite for Arc off his Prix Niel victory
5AzamourJ. Oxx5-1
Skipping the Arc; comes into this off a disappointing fifth in Ireland
6BagoJ. Pease8-1
Winner of last year's Arc has only managed to go 1 for 4 this year
7ScorpionA. O'Brien10-1
Close second in Irish Derby, and has since won two Group 1 events
8Better Talk NowH. G. Motion8-1
Won the Man o' War and the U. N., but was outkicked in the Arlington Million
9King's DramaR. Frankel12-1
Near miss in the Man o' War showed that he can rate and be effective
10ElectrocutionistV. Valiani15-1
Juddmonte winner could go in Can. Int'l or this, depending on footing
The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.