10/23/2003 11:00PM

Welsch's Breeders' Cup analysis



With our without Azeri in the lineup, Sightseek would have been the day's best bet in her current form. Powerfully built filly has done little wrong all season and has been particularly dominating when stretched back to this distance for her last two starts. Comes in off an awesome final workout at Hollywood Park earlier this week. Got Koko defeated Sightseek while conceding three pounds earlier this season although Got Koko obviously much improved since the pair's initial encounter. Has run two extremely good races since returning from a five-month layoff and should be along late to complete a chalky exacta. Elloluv or Lady Tak will be prominent throughout although neither has won at the distance or beaten older horses.

Juvenile Fillies

Class Above has been dominant in her only two previous starts and showed she may be getting even better after turning in one of the most impressive workouts seen here this past week. Should trip out nicely behind what figures to be an extremely honest pace. Victory U. S. A. did well to finish second after setting a pressured pace when shipping cross country and stretching out to this distance for the first time in the Frizette. Back on her home grounds now. Halfbridled looks like a very special filly but may have to be after drawing the extreme outside post in a 14-horse field considering the relatively short run to the clubhouse turn. Might prove vulnerable at a short price.


Sarafan, a Grade 1-caliber horse at distances ranging from nine to 11 furlongs last year, now settling back in at a mile where his late kick could prove dangerous in a race where the pace figures to be an honest one. May be peaking again at the right time coming off his best effort of the season in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup and should offer some betting value in one of the most competitive races on the card. Special Ring surprisingly dropped well off the pace in the Oak Tree BC and is much better than that performance indicates. Zipped along in his final BC prep, an indication he will be much closer this time around although must avoid early duel with Oasis Dream and/or Peace Rules. Six Perfections has never finished worse than second in nine starts and outfinished last year's Mile winner Domedriver in her last start. The victim of several unlucky trips, she gets Bailey to help avoid that problem.


Aldebaran comes into the Sprint at the very top of his game off a scintillating performance in the Forego. Has been given ample time to recuperate from the effort and while six furlongs remains a question mark he should get enough pace to run down if able to negotiate his way through the bulky lineup without any problems. Shake You Down has been nearly invincible at this distance since the spring although inside draw may force his hand a bit more than his connections prefer. Valid Video, a 3-year-old matched Shake You Down's final time winning the Carry Back at Calder before overcoming trouble to upset the King's Bishop. Beat a field that day that included Ghostzapper, who flattered the effort with a dominating performance in the Vosburgh four weeks later.

Filly and Mare Turf

Hard to separate the U.S. runners or figure what effect the warm weather and long trip may have on a talented group of European invaders. Islington made the slightly shorter journey to chilly Arlington to finish a troubled third while arguably best in the 2002 Filly and Mare Turf and appears to be coming into this one even sharper off a third-place finish against defending Turf winner High Chaparral and the equally well regarded Falbrav in Ireland. Musical Chimes is another top European who has the advantage of a race over the course. Voodoo Dancer never runs a poor one, relishes this fast course but did miss some training time since exciting victory over Heat Haze in the Diana.


Toss out his one poor effort in Kentucky due to an eventful trip and Cuvee has certainly done little wrong. Extra distance and outside post may have made him vulnerable against a tougher lot but he just doesn't appear to be facing much stronger than he dominated in the Futurity in his last start. Minister Eric must also prove he can handle the added ground but is an improving sort who has been training well over his home track. Tiger Hunt already a proven commodity around two turns and along with Action This Day should be coming on best at the end.


Storming Home has been a win machine over the past 12 months and showed no signs of tailing off in his final prep earlier this week when he outworked stablemate and Mile choice Sarafan under a tight hold. Sulamani got the best of Storming Home via controversial stewards' decision in the Million and may be even stronger at 12 furlongs. Should give the top choice all he can handle once again. Johar not badly beaten by Storming Home in the Clement Hirsch and has also trained up to the minute since that outing. Defending champ High Chaparral may be tailing off just a bit coming off somewhat disappointing try in the Arc.


Medaglia d'Oro appears to be coming into the Classic at the top of his game and his best performance should make him too good even for this fine field. Likely bounced a bit when second best behind the magnificent Candy Ride in the Pacific Classic but otherwise perfect and obviously much better since finishing second in this race a year ago. Congaree's well-chronicled foot troubles obviously a major question but he loves this track and training like a tiger. Might not look back if allowed to relax long enough on the lead. Perfect Drift has easily handled all comers over the main track since the summer but won't be getting any weight concessions from the big boys this time around.