10/29/2017 1:42PM

Itsinthepost may be lost in BC Turf crowd

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Itsinthepost wins the John Henry Turf Championship on Oct. 1.

Itsinthepost has never won a Grade 1 stakes. He did not have his last start in a major stakes at Belmont Park or a famous European track, such as Ascot or Chantilly.

When he starts in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar, Itsinthepost will be overlooked, despite a win in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita on Oct. 1. The focus will be on runners from New York or Europe.

“He’s French,” trainer Jeff Mullins protested with a laugh Sunday morning. “He’s not local. He’s a transplant.”

Yes, the 5-year-old Itsinthepost was bred in France. Mullins is spot-on there. But Itsinthepost has developed from an allowance-race winner as a 2-year-old in France in 2014 to a multiple stakes winner in the United States this year, by far his best.

Owned by Jed and Roberta Cohen, Itsinthepost has won 3 of 8 starts and earned $533,000 this season. From that, $100,000 was dedicated to a supplemental fee that makes Itsinthepost eligible to the Breeders’ Cup program.

The investment was not taken lightly, Mullins said.

“If we thought we were running to get our money back, we wouldn’t be going.”

Itsinthepost won two Grade 2 stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita and Keeneland in the spring. In his only Grade 1 appearance, Itsinthepost was fifth behind BC Turf hopeful Bigger Picture in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park in July. Itsinthepost faced pressure from the start and was beaten 2 3/4 lengths.

In the John Henry Turf Championship, Itsinthepost closed from fourth through traffic to win by a head under jockey Tyler Baze, who has the mount on Saturday. The John Henry Turf Championship was run at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The BC Turf is run at 1 1/2 miles.

“I think the mile and a half will help more than anything,” Mullins said.

The BC Turf is led by Beach Patrol, who won the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 1; Highland Reel, who won the 2016 BC Turf at Santa Anita and was third in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot on Oct. 21; and Ulysses, who was third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Oct. 1.

Oscar Nominated, who was second in the Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 15, was not shipped from Kentucky to Del Mar for the BC Turf. Oscar Nominated was not selected to the field, and trainer Mike Maker said over the weekend that the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 11 or the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23 are under consideration.