Updated on 10/24/2012 4:49PM

Breeders' Cup's 180 pre-entries include many past winners

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Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude is among several leading Horse of the Year candidates entered in the Breeders' Cup.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Led by five Breeders’ Cup winners from last year’s event, two from 2010, yet another from 2009, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, the 2011 Preakness winner, the best miler in Europe not named Frankel, and several leading candidates for Horse of the Year, including Game On Dude and the turf stars Point of Entry and Wise Dan, a total of 180 horses have been pre-entered in the 15 races that will make up the 29th Breeders’ Cup, to be held at Santa Anita Nov. 2-3, the Breeders’ Cup announced on Wednesday.

The most prominent of the returning Breeders’ Cup race winners is the filly Royal Delta, who is expected to defend her title in the Ladies’ Classic on Nov. 2, but also was pre-entered against males in the Classic on Nov. 3. The Classic, at $5 million, is the richest race in a program that offers more than $25 million in purses.

If Royal Delta goes in the Ladies’ Classic, she will take on two other Breeders’ Cup winners, both of whom have never lost – My Miss Aurelia, who won the Juvenile Fillies in 2011, and Awesome Feather, the 2010 Juvenile Fillies winner.

If Royal Delta is sent into the Classic, she would be the fourth representative for trainer Bill Mott, who already has Flat Out, Ron the Greek, and To Honor and Serve signed up to face local hero Game On Dude.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Pre-entered fields with odds and comments]

The other 2011 Breeders’ Cup winners looking to defend their titles are Amazombie in the Sprint, Musical Romance in the Filly and Mare Sprint, and St Nicholas Abbey in the Turf.

For St Nicholas Abbey to repeat, he will have to turn back the mighty Point of Entry, who has won three straight Grade 1 races to emerge as America’s best long-distance grass runner.

Animal Kingdom, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby, is part of a sensational field in the Mile. It is headed by Wise Dan -- who this past week was ranked first on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s media poll -- and the brilliant European miler Excelebration, who has won 8 of his last 13 starts, with all five of those losses coming against the recently retired, undefeated Frankel.

The pre-entry stage is the first step of a two-step entry process. At this point, horses can be pre-entered in more than one race. In fact, 23 horses, including Royal Delta, were cross-entered, bringing the total number of pre-entries to 203. Last year, there were 194 individual horses entered, with 33 cross-entered, for a total of 227 entries.

Next Monday, horses must be entered in one race, and then posts for all 15 races are drawn. The only exception is that a horse can be entered Monday in two races if those races are run on different days, and neither field is oversubscribed.

This is very important in regards to Royal Delta, since neither the Ladies’ Classic nor the Classic has more than the maximum 14 runners. So, Royal Delta conceivably could be entered in both races, and her connections could then see how each field looks following the draw.

Dullahan, by contrast, is cross-entered in the Classic and the Turf, both of which are run on Nov. 3, so he can only enter one race next Monday.

Classic entrants Handsome Mike and Nonios also are pre-entered in the Dirt Mile, which is topped by Shackleford, last year’s Preakness winner. Both those races are Nov. 3.

[BREEDERS' CUP WORKOUTS: Full DRF coverage, Mike Welsch video reports]

Five of the 15 races – the Marathon, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile Turf, Turf Sprint, and Sprint – were oversubscribed.

In those races, the first slots were reserved for horses who won “Win and You’re In” qualifying races during the year. The next spots, to fill out the top seven, went to the horses who earned the most Breeders’ Cup points in graded stakes during the year. The final seven in the body of the field were selected by an international panel of racing officials, headed by Tom Robbins of the United States. The overflow were ranked by the panel, in order of preference, and can only draw in if there are defections from the top 14.

There up to two also-eligibles allowed at entry time in an oversubscribed race. Scratch time for both the Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 cards is 8 a.m. Pacific time Nov. 2.

This is the sixth time Santa Anita will play host to the Breeders’ Cup. The most significant change to this year’s Breeders’ Cup is that Lasix is not permitted in all five races for 2-year-olds.

[STEVEN CRIST: Here's your Breeders' Cup pre-entry cheat sheet]

There are six Breeders’ Cup races to be run on Nov. 2, and nine on Nov. 3. They will be shown on NBC Sports Network and NBC. Here now, in order of how they will be run, is a snapshot of each race:

FRIDAY, NOV. 2

Juvenile Sprint – Only 10 were pre-entered in this six-furlong race, headed by the fillies Beholder and Kauai Katie, both of whom were cross-entered in the Juvenile Fillies.

Marathon – Fifteen are in this 1 3/4-mile race, including Eldaafer, who won it in 2010. The marquee name is the European galloper Fame And Glory, but he has never raced on dirt, and he appears on the downside of what has been an acclaimed career.

Juvenile Fillies Turf – There are 18 in this one-mile race, headed by Spring Venture, Watsdachances, and the European invaders Flotilla and Sky Lantern.

Juvenile Fillies – A classic East vs. West showdown looms between Dreaming of Julia and Executiveprivilege, both of whom are unbeaten. There are nine pre-entered, five of whom are cross-entered, so the starting field for this 1 1/16-mile race could be considerably smaller.

Filly and Mare Turf – A bulky field of 13 is pre-entered in this 1 1/4-mile race, including United States-based stars Lady of Shamrock, Marketing Mix, and Zagora, and the Europeans I’m a Dreamer and Nahrain, both of whom have performed well previously in this country, as well as the once-beaten French filly Ridasiyna

Ladies’ Classic – This is the strongest field ever for this 1 1/8-mile race. In addition to Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia, and Royal Delta, the nine pre-entered include older Grade 1 winners Include Me Out and Love and Pride, and the talented 3-year-old fillies Grace Hall and Questing. Spinster winner In Lingerie is cross-entered in this race and the Filly and Mare Turf.

SATURDAY, NOV. 3

Juvenile Turf – This one-mile race drew the most pre-entries, 19, of the 15 BC races. Trainer Chad Brown sends out the tag team of Balance the Books and Noble Tune to face Joha and a half-dozen Europeans.

Filly and Mare Sprint – A full field of 14, headed by Groupie Doll and defending champ Musical Romance, is pre-entered in this seven-furlong race, along with Contested and Turbulent Descent, the last two winners of the Test Stakes.

Dirt Mile – Shackleford is the big name among the dozen entrants, which also includes popular oldtimers Jersey Town and Rail Trip and the highly regarded 3-year-old Fed Biz. Five of the runners are cross-entered, with four naming this race as their second choice, so the final field should be smaller.

Turf Sprint – California Flag, who won this 6 1/2-furlong downhill race in 2009, will try to recapture the magic in what shapes up as one of the most wide-open races of the festival. Bridgetown, Camp Victory, and Unbridled’s Note are among the top contenders of the 17 pre-entered.

Juvenile – The unbeaten Shanghai Bobby ships in from New York to take on the West’s top-ranked colt, Power Broker. There were 10 pre-entered in this 1 1/16-mile race, with two cross-entered.

Turf – Point of Entry and St Nicholas Abbey are the main attraction among 14 in this 1 1/2-mile race, which also includes Japanese invader Trailblazer. Dullahan and Little Mike are cross-entered here, with both having this named as their second choice.

Sprint – Amazombie tries for a repeat in this six-furlong race against fellow Californians Capital Account and Coil, with Emcee, Gantry, The Lumber Guy, and Trinniberg among the prominent shippers. There were 16 pre-entered.

Mile – In addition to Animal Kingdom, Excelebration, and Wise Dan, the 13 pre-entered in this sensational grass race include Arlington Million winner Little Mike, Obviously, and another top-class European in the filly Moonlight Cloud.

Classic – A full field of 14 was pre-entered to go 1 1/4 miles. Besides the aforementioned Dullahan, Flat Out, Game On Dude, Handsome Mike, Nonios, Ron the Greek, Royal Delta, and To Honor and Serve, the field includes Alpha, Brilliant Speed, Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Pool Play, and Richard’s Kid.