10/06/2010 5:15PM

Eldaafer coming into his own

Pat Lang/Lang Photography
Eldaafer wins the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship.

Eldaafer was a 29-1 outsider in the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita one year ago, and ran accordingly. Eldaafer finished seventh of 10, beaten more than 24 lengths. This year, it is a new story.

"He's a different horse this year," trainer Diane Alvarado said. "I get on him every day, and he's really come into himself."

It shows in his recent races. A 5-year-old gelding by A.P. Indy, Eldaafer won a turf allowance in August at Laurel, followed by the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship at 1 1/2 miles. The victory, his eighth from 23 starts, was better than it looks.

"He blew his left front shoe, and probably was a little uncomfortable coming down the lane," Alvarado said. Saturday at Delaware Park, Eldaafer is scheduled for his first work since the Sept. 11 win at Turfway. Alvarado said he will train into the Marathon.

Eldaafer was produced by Habibti, 2001 winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Hollywood Starlet.

In other BC Marathon developments:

* Cloudy's Knight, runner-up in the 2009 BC Marathon, will not compete in the 2010 Breeders' Cup, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Wednesday. The 10-year-old gelding has won 14 races and more than $2.4 million from 42 starts.
* Gitano Hernando won the Group 3 Diamond Stakes on Oct. 1 at Dundalk in Ireland. Although the race is a Win and You're In, Gitano Hernando is not considered a Breeders' Cup candidate.
* Temple City, who earned an automatic berth in the Marathon by winning the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap in summer at Del Mar, finished last in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Oct. 2.