10/23/2014 12:45PM

Crist: Inside-the-numbers look at pre-entries

Barbara D. Livingston
At 7, Regally Ready, shown winning the 2011 Turf Sprint, is the oldest horse competing in the Breeders' Cup and also has the most victories with 15, but he is mired deep on the also eligibles for this year's Turf Sprint.

It’s time to meet the 201 pre-entrants for the 13 Breeders’ Cup races next Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita. It is, as always, a dazzling group in the aggregate, though skewing a little poorer at the top end than in most years.

One cautionary note in interpreting the statistics below in comparison to other years: This year’s Mile and Turf Sprint both attracted almost bizarrely high numbers of entrants – 25 for the Mile and 29 for the Turf Sprint, and only 14 will be permitted to start in each. That makes 26 pre-entrants who will be excluded, a group that drags down the averages in most categories.

The pre-entrants have combined to win 852 of 2,454 career starts, a 34.7 percent success rate, and earned $121,799,930. The 201 include 128 graded stakes winners and 55 Grade 1 or Group 1 winners. The Classic and Turf each drew eight Grade 1 winners, while the Filly and Mare Turf and the Mile attracted seven each.

There are 41 millionaires among them, but only one (California Chrome) with earnings of more than $3 million. Last year, there were seven (Game On Dude, Wise Dan, Royal Delta, Fort Larned, Planteur, Little Mike, and Flat Out.) This year, there are only three horses with bankrolls of $2.5 million or more – California Chrome ($3.54 million), Close Hatches ($2.70 million), and Magician ($2.54 million). The other four with earnings in excess of $2 million are Goldencents ($2.49 million), Dank ($2.30 million), Stephanie’s Kitten ($2.27 million), and Flintshire ($2.17 million).

There are 65 2-year-olds, 33 3-year-olds, 38 4-year-olds, 43 5-year-olds, 21 6-year-olds, and just one 7-year-old. That elder statesman is Regally Ready, the 2011 Turf Sprint winner who appears unlikely to start in that race this year since he is deep (probably unfairly so) down the also-eligible list.

Regally Ready tops all pre-entrants with 15 career victories, more than the eight with 11 victories apiece (Big Blue Kitten, Big John B., Bronzo, Don’t Tell Sophia, Obviously, Palace, Valiant Emilia, and Work All Week) and four others with 10. Regally Ready’s 35 career starts are only the third-highest, behind Belle Gallantey (43) and Starspangled Heat (37).

There are 159 horses bred in the United States and 42 in other countries – 18 from Ireland, 12 from Britain, six from Canada, two from Argentina, and one each from Chile, France, Japan, and Peru. Of the 159 American-breds, 131 of them are Kentucky-breds, accounting for 82 percent of the domestic group and 65 percent of all pre-entrants. The surprising second among the other U.S. states is New York, with 10 pre-entrants, followed by California and Florida with seven each and then four other states with one each – Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, and Virginia.

The trainer leaderboard looks a lot like last year’s, with Chad Brown again having the largest contingent – 12 pre-entries, 10 of them in grass races, including six in the two juvenile turf races. Next come Bob Baffert and Bill Mott with eight each, then Steve Asmussen, Aidan O’Brien, Todd Pletcher, and Wesley Ward with six pre-entries apiece. California-based Peter Miller and Leandro Mora (subbing for Doug O’Neill) are next with five each, followed by a quartet with four: Christophe Clement, D. Wayne Lukas, Dale Romans, and John Sadler.

Giant’s Causeway is the leading sire of pre-entrants with eight, five of them in dirt races, three on turf. He is followed by War Front with six, Kitten’s Joy with five, and six stallions with four apiece: City Zip, Dansili, Galileo, More Than Ready, Tapit, and Unbridled’s Song. Seven others sired three apiece: Bernardini, Candy Ride, Ghostzapper, Hard Spun, Indian Charlie, Medaglia d’Oro, and Scat Daddy.

Of the 167 pre-entrants who have raced in the United States or Canada and thus received a Beyer Speed Figure, 78 have recorded a figure of 100 or better. The career bests are the 111’s earned by Classic entrants Bayern and Majestic Harbor and Goldencents’s 110.

Now we just have to figure out who’s actually going to win the 13 races. Easy game.