11/03/2009 12:00AM

Mastery 9-5 for Marathon

Barbara D. Livingston
Mastery, arriving at Santa Anita on Sunday, won the Group 1 St. Leger last out. Frankie Dettori will ride Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Mastery, the first in a procession of highly regarded Breeders' Cup runners for Godolphin Racing, has been listed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the first of the 14 BC races, the $500,000 BC Marathon on Friday at Santa Anita.

Mastery was assigned post 6 in a field of 10 in the BC Marathon, a Pro-Ride race that has been lengthened to 1 3/4 miles for its second running. Last year, the inaugural Marathon was run at 1 1/2 miles.

Frankie Dettori will ride Mastery, winner of the Group 1 St. Leger in his last start, when he lines up against two other accomplished European runners: Father Time (3-1), who drew post 5 with Eddie Ahern, and Man of Iron (8-1), who got post 9 with Johnny Murtagh.

The top American contenders are Nite Light (4-1), who will have John Velazquez aboard when breaking from post 3, and Cloudy's Knight (8-1), who will be ridden by Rosemary Homeister Jr. from post 4.

From the rail, this is the entire field: Black Astor, Muhannak, Nite Light, Cloudy's Knight, Father Time, Mastery, Sir Dave, Eldaafer, Man of Iron, and Gangbuster. One pre-entered horse that did not go was On Fire.

Mastery was among the final Godolphin arrivals here Sunday. He made his first racetrack appearance early Tuesday when jogging an easy mile. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 3-year-old British-bred colt has won 3 of 8 career starts, with the Group 2 Italian Derby in May being his other notable score.

Godolphin holds an extremely strong hand going into the 26th Breeders' Cup with standouts such as Gayego, Pyro, Music Note, Seventh Street, and Midshipman. All BC races were drawn Tuesday at Santa Anita, beginning shortly after 1 p.m. Pacific. Six BC races will be run Friday and eight on Saturday.