10/23/2003 11:00PM

Watchmaker's Breeders' Cup analysis



Sightseek was very impressive winning the Beldame three weeks ago off a two-month layoff, and it's likely she will now improve to the level at which she won the Go For Wand two starts back by 11 1/2 lengths for an imposing Beyer Figure of 115. It is true that Sightseek's only three career losses on dirt came early this year in her only three starts at Santa Anita. But she was second in each of them, and she is a much better filly now. Got Koko loves Santa Anita, as evidenced by her sweep of the La Canada series, and her victory most recently in the Lady's Secret; the main threat. Elloluv rated more effectively than ever when only a half-length behind Got Koko in the Lady's Secret off a near five month layoff; will improve.

Juvenile Fillies

Halfbridled couldn't have drawn worse, but if she's the filly I think she is, she will overcome it. The way she can make multiple runs, as she did when she made two moves in the Del Mar Debutante, and when she repulsed two bids in the Oak Leaf, will help, as will getting some speed to set up her late run. Tarlow is the one who made two moves at Halfbridled in the Oak Leaf, and that was commendable for a filly stretching out off just one win over maidens; can improve. Likewise, Society Selection merits respect for her going away score in the 1 1/16-mile Frizette, which came off only a five-furlong win over maidens.


Up until the Oak Tree Mile, Special Ring was the best turf miler in California. He still is, as that race is a throw out. Against his natural style, he was taken back and kept back off the pace, yet still finished willingly. He will be a major pace factor this time. Oasis Dream is established as a top class sprinter in England, but he has never won beyond six furlongs, and you have to wonder how the European horses will react to shipping into much warmer weather than they are accustomed. Six Perfections is another European, but she is an obvious contender off her victory over 2002 Mile winner Domedriver in her last. Designed for Luck capitalized on a perfect trip to win the Oak Tree Mile, but his close stalking style often results in good trips.


Shake You Down has been nearly flawless since the Scott Lake claim. He is the fastest horse at the distance in the field, and he proved in his Smile Sprint Handicap romp (121 Beyer) that he can rate early if need be in a big field. Valid Video won his last two, first the Carry Back, beating subsequent Kentucky Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat, and then the King's Bishop, beating, among others, Ghostzapper, who came back to gallop in the Vosburgh. Valid Video has the perfect kind of stalking style for this. Aldebaran had the lead six furlongs into his big win in the Forego (122 Beyer), but he needs racing luck to rally past about 10 opponents. Captain Squire is rounding to a top effort; big win over the track in January.

Filly and Mare Turf

I'm very concerned about how the heat will affect the European horses who are accustomed to much cooler weather. Nevertheless, Islington is the firm pick. She absolutely should have won this race last year, and her near miss last time out to High Chaparral and Falbrav, two of Europe's best males, says she is as good as ever. Musical Chimes finished like a rocket when second in the Yellow Ribbon, with a last quarter in approximately 22.20 seconds, which is excellent; dangerous. Heat Haze is better than she showed in the Flower Bowl, and demonstrated in winning the Beverly D. that she can also kick home with the best of them. Tates Creek got a perfect trip when she beat Musical Chimes in the Yellow Ribbon, but is admirably consistent.


This is a weak Juvenile, so it is a good spot for the sharp California-bred Race for Glory, who earned a competitive Beyer of 98 romping in a statebred stakes most recently. Notably, he did so over the track, and he should handle the stretch out to two turns. Relaxed Gesture comes from Ireland, so his ability on dirt is in question. However, he is improving, and this is a good spot to consider a "stranger." Cuvee is the most accomplished in the field, but even though he handled a one-turn mile easily last time out, he is still a big question at two turns from post 12. I can't take a horse as the favorite with that type of question out there.


Storming Home couldn't have run better winning the Clement Hirsch last time out. Despite having no pace to rally into, Storming Home scorched his final quarter-mile in approximately 22 seconds flat. That's a brilliant come home time, and strongly suggests he will handle the added distance here. Falbrav may the best horse in this race, but he is most effective at slightly shorter distances, and it doesn't help that he is shipping from cool climes to hot weather. Last year's Turf winner, High Chaparral, also has the weather to contend with, but he did edge Falbrav two starts back when Falbrav had a terrible trip.


Ten Most Wanted is the most dangerous of all commodities in the fall: a dramatically improved 3-year-old who was already good. He ran his best race at this distance winning the Travers, a point that should not be underestimated considering that a few of the other top contenders may not be at their best at this trip.

Hold That Tiger was game finishing second to Mineshaft in the Woodward, and there are no Mineshafts in here. In light of how poorly he ran in England earlier this year, it's conceivable he was short in the Woodward, and thus can improve. Perfect Drift is perfect on dirt this year, including upsets over Mineshaft and Congaree; a major player, obviously.