10/03/2009 12:00AM

Easterners on the scene for their Cup preps

Barbara D. Livingston
Gayego, a winner at Saratoga in his only race this year, is a likely Ancient Title starter.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The major preps for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on Saturday will be a little trickier for the locals, thanks to a few prominent shippers from the East Coast.

Gayego, a stakes winner in California in 2008 and an acquisition of Godolphin Racing's last fall, is a candidate for Sunday's $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes over six furlongs. Gayego won an optional claimer at Saratoga on Aug. 19 in his only start this year.

The Ancient Title will not include California sprint star Zensational, who is being trained up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 7, trainer Bob Baffert said. Defending champion Cost of Freedom is among the California-based contenders.

Godolphin has Cocoa Beach bound for Saturday's $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes and a rematch with reigning female champion Zenyatta. Last fall, Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach finished first and second in the BC Ladies' Classic over this track.

Zenyatta, unbeaten in 12 starts, will be a strong favorite in the Lady's Secret, which is run over 1 1/16 miles. Trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta, 5, worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

Zenyatta worked in company with stablemate Green Cat, who was timed in 1:14.20.

"She was really strong," Shirreffs said of Zenyatta. "She got her head in front and galloped out pretty strong."

There are six graded stakes on Saturday and Sunday that serve was preps to Breeders' Cup races here on Nov. 6-7. The richest of those races is the $350,000 Goodwood Stakes over 1o1/8 miles, a prep to the $5 million BC Classic. The Goodwood is led by Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, a recent arrival from New Mexico, and Richard's Kid, the winner of the Pacific Classic last month.

Cowboy Cal, who won the Grade 2 Strub Stakes here last February, is a candidate for the $150,000 Oak Tree Mile, which like the other five BC preps at Santa Anita offers an automatic berth to a BC race through the Win and You're In Program. The Oak Tree Mile winner is guaranteed a berth in the BC Mile.

Cowboy Cal, trained by Todd Pletcher, was second in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 28.

Keeping it realistic at Barretts sale

With 10 horses in Monday's California Cup yearling sale at Barretts in Pomona, Barbara Butterworth will have enough activity to gauge what is expected to be a tough market for consignors.

"It only takes two people to want the same horse," said Butterworth, who consigns through her West 12 Ranch. "I have very realistic expectations. We try to talk our clients into that, considering the way the economy is. For the industry's sake, I hope it's a good sale."

Last year's yearling sale at Barretts had an average of $16,689, a decline of 16 percent from 2007. West 12, as agent, was the second-leading consignor to that sale, selling 12 horses for an average of $22,417.

This year, she is hoping that an E Dubai-With My Blessings colt, a Swiss Yodeler-Amber Queen colt, and an El Corredor-Publicity Shy colts will be sought-after horses in her consignment.

"The El Corredor is big and growthy and really coming into his own," she said. "When he was a baby, you felt sorry for him. He was an ugly duckling and he's turned into a swan."