10/25/2012 5:11PM

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic: Class Included ready to take the plunge

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Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs
Class Included, here winning the Emerald Distaff in August, has been pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic and the Filly and Mare Sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Class Included carved a comfortable niche in the Pacific Northwest, where she might have continued her quiet reign while avoiding the bright lights of the Breeders’ Cup.

Or, the 4-year-old filly could dive into the deep end.

Apparently, it is time for a swim.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Race-by-race coverage, video, early odds]

Class Included, 10 for 16 at Emerald Downs and Hastings Park, was pre-entered in two Breeders’ Cup races. First preference is the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint, but owner Michael Feuerborn is leaning toward the $2 million Ladies’ Classic.

Is he crazy? No, he is not.

“I know we’re going to be a longshot,” Feuerborn admitted. “We’re not fooling ourselves.”

Neither is trainer Jim Penney nor assistant Kay Cooper. “She’ll be 50-1,” Cooper said. “It’s black and white, we know that.”

Class Included would make it eight starters in the Ladies’ Classic, regarded as the strongest race of Breeders’ Cup 2012, led by Royal Delta, unbeaten Awesome Feather, and bicoastal Grade 1 winner Love and Pride. Feuerborn scouted the competition.

“Those three, I am not sure I can beat,” Feuerborn said. “The rest of them, I like my chances on a good day. I’m thinking I can split that field, at least.”

Class Included had plenty of good days racing exclusively at Emerald and Hastings. The daughter of Include, bred by Feuerborn, finished one-two in every start, won eight stakes and $384,526, and in her most recent start won the Grade 3 Ballerina Stakes at Hastings with a career-high 89 Beyer Figure.

As her win streak extended to four, Feuerborn began to seriously consider the Breeders’ Cup.

“Since we’ve been going two turns with her, she’s getting and better every year,” he said

Class Included arrived Oct. 17 at Santa Anita and steadily has improved.

Nicknamed “Blondie” for her distinctive blond tail, Class Included struggled with the surface in her first local work Oct. 22. But shipping early had its rewards, and her energetic gallop Thursday was “the best she has been” according to exercise rider Donnie Smith.

A final decision regarding which race Class Included enters will be made after she works Sunday. Russell Baze will ride her in either race.

According to assistant trainer Cooper, both races work – seven furlongs or 1 1/8 miles.

“Someone asked, ‘What is her best distance?’” Cooper said. “I said, ‘What is her worst?’” Cooper added that “the farther she goes, the better she goes.”

[BREEDERS' CUP PPs: Visit DRF's official BC Handicapping Center]

Feuerborn, who owns a homebuilding company in Washington, also owns the dam of Class Included, A Classic Life. She happens to be in foal with a full sibling to Class Included and is entered in the Keeneland November breeding sale.

“After the Breeders’ Cup, I will have to decide whether to keep [the mare] or not,” Feuerborn said.

As for Class Included, he said, “We’re going to find out a lot about her, and I know she’s going to get the distance.”

Steve More than 1 year ago
She'd have a better chance against males in the dirt mile. Tough spot here
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
It'd be terrific if Russell Baze could get a BC win as well. He's a great rep. for racing and a hard working Jock.
John More than 1 year ago
Handicapping yesterday I come across Class Included and said "wow, lets look deeper at her " For a horse that runs this consistantly, sometimes you dont know where they will level off. This will be a nice story if she can get some black type for her connections. Good Luck, like the others say, anything can happen in racing, lets just get around there safe !
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
Jim Penney and his family certainly deserve the opportunity to have the experience of the bright lights of a classic race environment. Good luck, enjoy the moment.
Ange More than 1 year ago
Well, as a Hastings owner & fan, I wish them the best. Do I think they're a bit nuts, well, yes! But at the same time, I also say Why the heck not? Give it a whirl and see what she's truly made of. Stranger things have happened in horse racing and as I like to say "There's no such thing as a sure thing!" So, good luck to them and safe trips to all. I just hope that my 5 1/2 month old filly I have on the ground is half as good as Class Included has been in the Pacific NW.