10/19/2006 11:00PM

Six Cal-breds Breeders' Cup bound


ARCADIA, Calif. - Reversing a decade-long decline, at least six California-breds are expected to start in the Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

As of Friday, the California-bred hopefuls were Bordonaro and Thor's Echo in the Sprint, Brother Derek and Lava Man in the Classic, Dancing Edie in the Filly and Mare Turf, and Mistical Plan in the Juvenile Fillies.

Two race for their breeders. Bordonaro was bred by owners Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella. Dancing Edie was bred by Fast Lane Farms, which is part of the partnership that owns the filly.

If they all start, it will be the second-highest number of statebred runners to compete in the history of the Breeders' Cup. The record of seven statebred runners was set in 1986 at Santa Anita and equaled a year later at Hollywood Park.

Since the Breeders' Cup began in 1984, 49 California-breds have made 58 starts in BC races. The only California-bred winner of a Breeders' Cup race is Tiznow, who won the 2000 and 2001 BC Classic.

A raiding party of six California-breds at Churchill Downs next month reflects a change from the trend over the last several years. In 1999, there were five statebred starters at Gulfstream Park. The figure declined to four starters in 2000, three in 2001, two in 2002, and one during each of the last three years.

Through the 1990's, the number of California-bred starters was as high as five in 1999 and none in 1995 and 1996.

Last year, the only statebred runner was Brother Derek, who finished fourth in the Juvenile at Belmont Park.

He has had an outstanding campaign this year, winning the Santa Anita Derby, and finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby and second to Lava Man in the Goodwood BC Handicap earlier this month.

Lava Man, unbeaten in seven starts, is one of the leading older horses in the nation. Earlier this year, he became the first horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic in the same year.

The greater number of statebred starters bound for the Breeders' Cup is a relief for California Thoroughbred Breeders Association officials.

"It's actually very exciting," said executive director Doug Burge. "We have six California-breds that have a shot in every race they're in. It's the deepest we've been in a while."

Burge said the proximity on the calendar of the Breeders' Cup and the California Cup program at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting next Saturday works for and against the California Cup.

Of course, the California Cup would benefit if one or two of those leading statebreds were on the program, giving bettors familiar names to follow.

Conversely, some of the California Cup races will have larger and more competitive fields without the likes of Mistical Plan in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies or Dancing Edie in the California Cup Distance Handicap. A California Cup Classic with Lava Man or Brother Derek would be difficult for bettors to embrace.

Mistical Plan, a Game Plan filly, was a surprise addition to the BC lineup. Owned by Paul Reddam and trained by Doug O'Neill, Mistical Plan won the Cover Gal Stakes for statebreds over seven furlongs here on Oct. 8. She raced near the front throughout and won by 7 1/4 lengths.

In her previous start, she was eighth in the Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 4, but was found to have mucus in her lungs after the race.