10/03/2012 3:44PM

Breeders’ Cup Turf: Casino Host a wait-and-see case

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Benoit & Associates
Casino Host won the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August, earning a fees-paid berth to the BC Turf through the Win and You’re In program.

The participation of the longshot Casino Host in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 depends on his condition in coming weeks, trainer Ron Ellis said Wednesday.

Casino Host was vanned off after a fifth-place finish behind Slim Shadey in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita last Sunday. A subsequent nuclear scan revealed a minor strain in one of Casino Host’s shoulders, Ellis said.

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

“It’s something we have to monitor,” he said. “He won’t do anything if he’s not 100 percent.”

Owned by Gary and Mary West, Casino Host won the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August, earning a fees-paid berth to the BC Turf through the Win and You’re In program. If he does start, Casino Host will be an outsider in a field that will include Point of Entry, the winner of the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park last Saturday.

The race is expected to have European shippers, a group that will be better known as early as next week, after Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris. St Nicholas Abbey and Sea Moon, who were first and second in the 2011 BC Turf at Churchill Downs, are contenders for the Arc who could be sent to Santa Anita.

The pacesetter for the BC Turf is most likely to be Slim Shadey, who won his second Grade 2 race of the year in the John Henry Turf Championship over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

A 4-year-old gelding, Slim Shadey will be tested in the BC Turf, trainer Simon Callaghan acknowledged on Wednesday.

“I couldn’t be happier with him,” he said. “It’s perfect timing. Look, it’s going to be a much stronger race with some good European horses and the East Coast horse Point of Entry. It will be a tough race.”

Slim Shadey has never won at the BC Turf distance of 1 1/2 miles. He was beaten a head by Bourbon Bay in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes over 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita in March.

“He may have made a move that was a little premature,” Callaghan said of that race. “I think the mile and a half is fine with me.”