11/02/2009 12:00AM

Five things that would make this Cup fun


NEW YORK - Here are some things I would like to see in this Breeders' Cup:

* The Europeans avoid acting smug if their horses enjoy great success.

It's all opinion, of course, but it doesn't seem like a stretch to say that of the 14 Cup races to be run Friday and Saturday, the Europeans have at least a decent shot of winning 12 of them: the Marathon, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile Fillies, Filly and Mare Turf, Ladies' Classic (if Rainbow View goes here instead of the Filly and Mare Turf), Juvenile Turf, Turf Sprint (if Fleeting Spirit goes here instead of the Sprint), Juvenile, Mile, Dirt Mile, Turf, and Classic.

But if the Europeans do enjoy even more success this weekend than they had in last year's Cup, when they won five races, they should remember this: Their success beyond the realm of turf racing, which they have always had in the Breeders' Cup, has as much to do with the main track races being run again on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita than it does with any superiority European horses might have over American horses. So, don't gloat.

* Proviso proves Trakus wrong.

Proviso, who in her recent U.S. debut was disqualified from first and placed second behind Mushka in Keeneland's Spinster Stakes for impeding that rival in the stretch, is a live longshot in the Ladies' Classic. And I would like to see Proviso this time officially finish ahead Mushka.

Proviso deserved to be disqualified in the Spinster, but many veteran race-watchers, this one included, believe that there was no way Mushka was going to beat Proviso even if she wasn't impeded. One week after the Spinster, Keeneland, put out a note that said according to Trakus, the electronic tracking technology Keeneland uses that determines the exact location of each horse throughout a race, Mushka was going to pass and beat Proviso by about 1 1/2 lengths had she not been impeded.

This conclusion is based on data that shows Proviso was moving 36 miles per hour before and after the bump and finished the final 333 feet with a 35.8 mph average speed, while Mushka was moving 38 mph before the bump, 34 mph after the bump, and recovered to finish the final 331 feet with a 35.3 mph average speed. This conclusion is also based on the qualifier that if there was no bump, the speeds of the two horses were constant for the remainder of the race. That's a huge assumption, and doesn't take into account the possibility that Mushka might have hung in the late stages.

One other thing the folks at Trakus didn't account for: The reason Proviso was running 2 mph slower than Mushka just before the bump is because she was running sideways. Sideways! Proviso's actual forward speed, even if it was sideways, had to be every bit as fast as Mushka's just for Proviso to get out to the outside part of the track to be in the position to impede Mushka. And if Proviso's speed as measured by Trakus was inaccurate because it didn't account for her angular path in relation to the finish line, then it blows the Trakus conclusion out of the water.

* If Eclipse Award voters would dare to deny Goldikova and/or Ventura another divisional championship if either or both repeat their 2008 Cup victories.

Despite being dominant respective winners of the Mile over males and the Filly and Mare Sprint last year, neither Goldikova nor Ventura came away with Eclipse hardware last year. Goldikova lost the female turf championship to Forever Together (I can't really argue too much with that one), and Ventura was outpolled by Indian Blessing (I do take issue with this one; Ventura drilled Indian Blessing by four lengths in last year's Filly and Mare Sprint). But if one or both repeat in their races, it would be disheartening if they didn't also clinch a championship.

* Forever Together get her act together in the Filly and Mare Turf.

It's no fun seeing a champion struggle, and after losing three of her last four starts, make no mistake, Forever Together is struggling. But she's still a fine mare, and conditions are ripe for her to put her recent troubles behind her, although I wouldn't go betting the house on it.

* Presious Passion run one of his good races in the Turf.

Presious Passion is America's best hope in a Cup race that the Europeans might carve up any way they like. And even if Presious Passion runs one of his best races, it likely won't be enough to match the likes of Conduit, Dar Re Mi, et al. But I just hope that if Presious Passion is unable to make his early lead stand up, he isn't beaten the length of the stretch, which happens to him on occasion. He's too cool a horse to suffer that indignity in this setting.