10/20/2009 11:00PM

No BC Classic for Gitano Hernando

Benoit & Associates
Gitano Hernando will ship back to England to point toward the 2010 Dubai World Cup.

Gitano Hernando, the upset winner of the earlier this month, will bypass the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting and instead be pointed to next year's Dubai World Cup, Barry Irwin, the head of co-owner Team Valor International, announced on Tuesday.

Gitano Hernando, 3, had raced just six times prior to the Goodwood, shipped over from Great Britain for the race, and was facing Grade 1 company for the first time. Irwin said that running in the Breeders' Cup following such an ambitious schedule would "compromise his future."

"The colt just ran too hard last time and we don't feel comfortable bringing him back in a month," Irwin said. "We feel that he is a prime candidate for the World Cup in Dubai next spring and that the risk to the colt by running him back at such a high level next time is too great."

"There's nothing problematic," added Aron Wellman, Team Valor's racing manager. "We think he could be a very serious racehorse next year. We don't want to compromise his chances next year by forcing him into the Breeders' Cup Classic this year."

One of the lures of next year's World Cup is that the purse will be raised to $10 million, and it will be run on a synthetic surface for the first time; the new Meydan race course in Dubai has Tapeta for its main track. Including his win in the Goodwood, Gitano Hernando is 3 for 3 on synthetic surfaces.

"Ten million dollars at a mile and a quarter on a synthetic surface is a very attractive target," Wellman said.

Gitano Hernando has been at Santa Anita since the Goodwood. Irwin said Gitano Hernando would return to Newmarket, England, next month and again be under the care of Marco Botti, who has trained Gitano Hernando throughout his career.

"We originally planned to leave Gitano Hernando in the United States," Irwin said. "However, it would take a braver person than me to yank this colt away from this trainer after what he accomplished in the Goodwood. I am not going to break up this team."

"We have all-weather surfaces available to us in Newmarket," Botti said in a press release issued by Team Valor. "We could bring the colt to Dubai in January or February, or we could just show up for the big day itself. This is the type of horse that needs one good prep, as he showed in winning the Goodwood. Worst case scenario, we could work him at Lingfield or even stage our own afternoon trial if necessary. We have a lot of options."