10/17/2012 5:34PM

Breeders’ Cup Turf: Al Khali enters picture

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Al Khali was scratched from the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine last Sunday because of soft ground. Opposite conditions are expected for the BC Turf.

Casino Host will not run, while Al Khali is a likely starter in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Al Khali was scratched from the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine last Sunday because of soft ground. Opposite conditions are expected for the BC Turf.

“I’d say we’re leaning that way,” trainer Bill Mott said on Wednesday of the BC Turf. “The owners and I will make the call. There is a big entry fee.”

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Mott said that Garrett Gomez is tentatively scheduled to ride Al Khali, a 6-year-old who has won 7 of 33 starts and $969,803. Owned by Borus Stable and Wachtel Stable, Al Khali was seventh in the 2010 BC Turf at Churchill Downs. He has been second in his last two starts, the Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga in August and the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last month.

Casino Host earned a fees-paid trip to the BC Turf with his win in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August. After finishing fifth in the John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, Casino Host was vanned off because of the effects of heat exhaustion, trainer Ron Ellis said.

Ellis said that he later galloped Casino Host, and put the 4-year-old through medical tests, which showed “a little bit of decalcification.”

“We didn’t want to take a chance,” Ellis said on Wednesday. “We’ll save him for next year.”

The expected favorite is Point of Entry, who won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

The European team will be led by St Nicholas Abbey and Sea Moon, who were first and second in the 2011 BC Turf at Churchill Downs. They were 11th and eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 7. Shareta, ninth in the Arc, is a candidate for the BC Turf, with a decision expected later this week.

Other possible European runners are Treasure Beach and Chinchon. Trailblazer, a Japanese-bred who was second in the Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 6, is expected to be pre-entered for the BC Turf and BC Mile, with a preference for the BC Turf.