10/29/2012 5:32PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon: Fame and Glory, Eldaafer lead eclectic cast

Barbara D. Livingston
Jaycito was one of two runners in the Marathon field to work Monday at Santa Anita, going five furlongs in 1:02.19.

ARCADIA, Calif. - In the race where post position may matter the least, a field of 14 long-winded specialists was drawn Monday for the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. A 1 3/4-mile race, the Marathon will be decided as the second race on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup program at Santa Anita.

The Marathon field lured an eclectic group that includes one previous winner, Eldaafer; two European invaders, Fame and Glory and Sense of Purpose, neither of whom has ever raced on dirt; South American-breds Almudena, Calidoscopio, and Romp; and one 3-year-old, Atigun. Almudena and Sense of Purpose are also mares facing males.

Eldaafer has competed in all three previous runnings of the Marathon, bookending his 2010 victory with two poor performances. Eldaafer finished sixth, beaten 17 1/2 lengths by Afleet Again a year ago at Churchill Downs. Now 7, Eldaafer has changed barns three times since the 2011 Marathon but is now back with trainer Diane Alvarado who sent him out to 1 3/4-length victory in the roughly run 2010 edition of the event. 

Fame and Glory is the class of the field. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, he won the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup going 2 1/2 miles in the spring of 2011 and more than $2.3 million in his career. The key question remains how he’ll take to the dirt in his U.S. debut. The same holds true for trainer Dermot Weld’s Sense of Purpose, a Group 3 winner in Ireland last summer who is a proven stayer at the distance but has made all 18 of her starts on grass.

The Peruvian-bred Almudena and Calidoscopio, an Argentinian horse, will also make their first North American appearances in the Marathon. Calidoscopio was one of two members of the field to work here Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01.29. Jaycito, a former Grade 1 winner who has never raced beyond 1 1/4 miles, also went five furlongs in 1:02.19 with Rafael Bejarano aboard.

Completing the field are Romp, an Argentinian-bred and the only other member of the field to have previously competed in the Marathon; Balladry; Commander; Grassy; Not Abroad; and Worth Repeating.


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