10/03/2012 3:27PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon: Calidoscopio gets settled in California

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Gus Duprat
Calidoscopio earned a fees-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Marathon with his victory in the General Belgrano in Argentina.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series spans 10 countries and includes 73 races that qualify the winner for an automatic berth into a corresponding Breeders’ Cup race. Of those 73 races, only two are designated as qualifiers for entry into the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Marathon – the Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing and the General Belgrano, a Grade 2 race contested over 1 9/16 miles in Argentina.

Greenwood Cup winner Redeemed was the early favorite for this year’s Marathon before an injury forced his retirement last month. That leaves Calidoscopio, winner of the General Belgrano, as the lone Marathon contender to earn an automatic berth into the field. And Calidoscopio is not only a major Marathon player, he sports a r é sum é that makes him one of the most intriguing horses slated to run in any Breeders’ Cup race this year.

A 9-year-old horse by the Forty Niner stallion Luhunk and trained by Guillermo Frenkel, Calidoscopio will be making his 40th lifetime start in the Marathon. After making his debut in a one-mile race in April 2007, Calidoscopio won his second lifetime start over about 1 1/4 miles against maidens and from there has competed exclusively in stakes company, with every one of those races coming at a distance of 1 1/4 miles or longer. He is a seven-time graded stakes winner, has won a race going as long as 1 7/8 miles, and in true throwback fashion has carried more than 130 pounds in 28 of his 39 lifetime starts to date. All told, Calidoscopio has won nine races in his career, including the Grade 1 Republica Argentina in 2009, and has made more than $533,000 through five seasons of racing.

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Being a distance specialist on dirt may give Calidoscopio an edge over some of his American competition when it comes to navigating the 1 3/4-mile distance of the Marathon, and he shows no signs of slowing down as a 9-year-old. He has won two of his three starts so far in 2012, including the General Belgrano on June 23. Calidoscopio has already shipped to California to begin preparing for the Breeders’ Cup and is currently stabled in the barn of trainer Mike Puype, who is helping the connections in acclimating the horse to his new surroundings. He posted his first timed workout Sept. 25, going a half-mile in 49.20 seconds over the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.

◗ One race to watch this weekend is the Hawthorne Gold Cup, a Grade 2 race run over 1 1/4 miles at Hawthorne Park. Last year’s Gold Cup produced a pair of Marathon contenders as both Giant Oak and Cease went on to Churchill Downs and finished third and fifth, respectively.