10/31/2011 4:47PM

Breeders' Cup: Europeans gathering

Barbara D. Livingston
Goldikova got to Churchill Downs on Saturday.

The gang's not all here. Not yet, at least. As of Monday, 18 of the 27 scheduled European Breeders' Cup starters had arrived at Churchill Downs, but only two had been released from quarantine and been permitted to train with the general horse population.  The horses who trained Monday, Questing and Meeznah, were the first to ship into the United States, bedding down at Churchill on Saturday afternoon. A larger equine shipment, 25 strong, came in later Saturday night, and that group did not clear the 42-hour quarantine soon enough to make Monday training. They can begin daily exercise Tuesday, which is when the final Europeans will show up at Churchill Downs.

That late-arriving group is made up of Aidan O'Brien-trained males who will race on Saturday's card. O'Brien prefers to ship his horses out of his Ballydoyle training center as close to their race as possible, but had he sent the fillies Tuesday rather than Saturday, they would not have cleared quarantine in time to go to the track even more morning after getting to Churchill.

As it is, the Tuesday O'Briens will have just one day, Friday, to get familiar with their new surroundings. Often, that is enough. For instance, Treasure Beach and Cape Blanco arrived midweek at Arlington Park this summer, and both washed out badly while looking out of their element during their lone training session after shipping.

Treasure Beach then went out and won the Secretariat, Cape Blanco the Arlington Million. O'Brien's Classic hopeful, So You Think, will have one easy spin over Churchill's main track before trying dirt for the first time. The thought, evidently, is that either he will handle the surface or not, and a couple days of galloping is not going to make or break his chances.

Meanwhile, somewhere behind the expanded BC quarantine area (which takes up the entire southwestern corner of the stable area this year), Goldikova is going about her business. The French mare came over with the Saturday-night arrivals and will have her first look at the local oval in a year on Tuesday morning.