10/10/2012 2:56PM

Breeders' Cup Mile: Gordon Lord Byron a possible supplemental entry

Email
Benoit & Associates
Obviously, winning the Arroyo Seco Mile, needs to finish fourth or better to make his $100,000 supplemental fee pay off.

The connections of Obviously are ready to gamble $100,000 that their horse can finish fourth or better in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The humans connected with Gordon Lord Byron are not so sure they want to put up that kind of stake.

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

Both horses won turf races last weekend that could lead to a BC Mile start, and since neither is an original nominee to the Breeders’ Cup, a one-time $100,000 supplementary payment is required to participate. Fourth-place money in the BC Mile is worth $120,000, but a finish any lower in what figures to be a deep field would yield a loss for a supplemented horse.

Gordon Lord Byron at least would have his regular entry fees covered and receive $20,000 in BC travel expenses, thanks to his win Saturday in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race. Obviously won the Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile at Santa Anita, a race that’s not part of the Challenge series. But while Obviously is based in Southern California with trainer Mike Mitchell, and has won twice on the Santa Anita turf course over which the Mile will be contested, Gordon Lord Byron would be traveling all the way from Ireland to race for the first time outside Europe.

The money it would cost to start in the Breeders’ Cup, trainer Tom Hogan conceded when reached by phone Wednesday, would play a significant role in deciding whether to point for the Mile or aim Gordon Lord Byron at the Hong Kong Mile in December, a race to which no such prohibitive fee is attached.

“It could be a problem,” Hogan said of the supplementary fee. “He’s just arrived back from France yesterday morning. We’ll give him some time to see how he came out of his race and make a decision about this time next week.”

Gordon Lord Byron, a 4-year-old gelding, only recently moved into group stakes competition, and he has been running in races at six and seven furlongs, the Foret having been contested at the latter distance. Hogan, however, feels confident Gordon Lord Byron can handle a two-turn, one-mile race, and said his horse won last weekend despite the heavy going at Longchamp, rather than because of it, a positive sign with regard to the fast-playing Santa Anita turf.

“His best form was on Haydock over very fast ground,” said Hogan.

Obviously, meanwhile, won his third straight race since being stretched from sprints to one-mile turf races. He set a fast pace in the Arroyo Seco and held clear the Japanese horse Trailblazer, who remains more likely for the BC Turf than the Mile.

As sharp as Obviously looked, he made little dent in the status of leading Mile contender Wise Dan, who cemented his position as the Mile favorite with a comfortable 2 1/4-length win in the Shadwell Turf Mile, Wise Dan’s third straight open-lengths win on grass. Behind him, a few Mile hopefuls, like Dominus (6th), Corporate Jungle (7th), and Silver Max (9th), performed poorly. But runner-up Willcox Inn finished well for second to put him in the Mile picture.

◗ Caspar Netscher, one of the better European milers this year, suffered a setback and won’t race again in 2012, according to the International Racing Bureau.

◗ Elusive Kate, John Gosden’s excellent filly, has joined the list of possible Mile runners.