10/27/2010 5:47PM

Varied bunch in BC Marathon

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Benoit & Associates
Awesome Gem, David Flores up, wins the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Prince Will I Am, an improving 3-year-old, and Awesome Gem, a 7-year-old veteran who won the Hollywood Gold Cup in July, are the only Grade 1 winners in an eclectic field of 13 horses pre-entered for the Grade 3 Breeders' Cup Marathon to be run Friday, Nov. 5.

Betting in the 1 3/4-mile race is likely to focus on Giant Oak and Alcomo. Giant Oak recently finished second in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup but is winless in 13 starts since May 2009. Alcomo won the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap in June but has not raced since July, when he was second in the Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park.

The Marathon was added to the BC program in 2008. European shippers accounted for six of the 18 runners, and both winners, the first two years when the race was run over a synthetic surface at Santa Anita. For the 2010 Marathon on dirt, only two Europeans pre-entered: Bright Horizon and Precision Break. Neither has raced on dirt.

Bright Horizon won a two-mile grass handicap by more than five lengths last out in Ireland, while Precision Break finished 16th in his most recent start, which came in England. He previously won a handicap race at 1 3/4 miles.

The field includes three Breeders' Cup Challenge race winners - A.U. Miner won the Greenwood, Eldaafer won the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship, and Temple City won the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.

The Marathon is the second preference for Awesome Gem, whose first preference is the BC Dirt Mile. Other pre-entrants include Atoned, Gabriel's Hill, Romp, and the filly Million Seller.