10/17/2007 11:00PM

Xchanger avoids peers in Dirt Mile

EmailIn his two forays into the really big time, Xchanger has had the misfortune of running against the very best of the 3-year-old crop. The gray colt finished eighth behind Curlin and Street Sense in the Preakness, then labored home sixth behind Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun in the Haskell Invitational.

So as Xchanger trains toward the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile next Saturday, trainer Mark Shuman is somewhat relieved that the colt probably will be the only 3-year-old in the lineup. One other 3-year-old, Forefathers, is among the 11 pre-entered for the inaugural BC Dirt Mile, but that colt's first preference is the Sprint.

"I am kind of glad that I don't have to run against any of them," Shuman said. "Everybody knows that this is a great crop of 3-year-olds this year. My horse might be a notch below the very best ones, and something like a mile and a quarter isn't his thing anyway. Hopefully, this new Breeders' Cup race will show what he can do."

Since the Haskell, Xchanger, owned by the Circle Z Stable, has run two excellent races when second in the Pennsylvania Derby and third in the Meadowlands Cup.

"He's in really good form right now," Shuman said.

Xchanger is scheduled to work Sunday at his home base, the Fair Hill training center in Maryland.

Meanwhile, BC Dirt Mile pre-entrant Gottcha Gold tuned up over the Monmouth main track when working five furlongs Thursday in 1:00.40 with regular rider Chuck Lopez up.

"He did it just the way I wanted," trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's ready to roll."

Gottcha Gold has become something of a Monmouth specialist. In his last two starts, he won the Salvator Mile, beating heavily favored Lawyer Ron, and the Iselin Handicap.

O'Brien filly to run in Ireland

On paper, All My Loving doesn't look to be the strongest horse Aidan O'Brien has ever pointed to a Breeders' Cup race. But dig a little deeper and All My Loving may be a sleeper in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf.

All My Loving, a 3-year-old daughter of Sadler's Wells, has only 1 win from 8 starts. She was good enough to finish third in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and second in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes. Her only off-the-board finish came in the Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp where she finished ninth, beaten 27 lengths. That also happened to be her third race in 24 days.

O'Brien mentioned that the Longchamp race was the first time Kieren Fallon rode the filly and it was the first time the filly raced with blinkers.

"We felt she went to sleep altogether," he said. "The race was over too quick for her."

O'Brien said All My Loving has trained well since that Oct. 6 race and that All My Loving is running Sunday in the Finale Stakes at the Curragh.

"If she did well in that and came out of that race well, we'd head on to the Filly and Mare Turf," O'Brien said. "We did the same thing with L'Ancresse."

In 2003, L'Ancresse won the Finale Stakes at the Curragh and then, at odds of 46-1, ran a bang-up second to favored Islington in the Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita. In that same race, Yesterday, also trained by O'Brien, ran third. Yesterday is a full sister to All My Loving.

Remarkable News set for BC first

Remarkable News is helping to put the "World" into the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

While this year's BC contingent falls on the light side in terms of international participation, and Remarkable News has been based in the United States his entire career, he will become the first Venezuelan-bred horse to race in the BC when he takes his spot in the gate for the Breeders' Cup Mile. That would bring to 15 the number of countries in which BC runners have been foaled.

But while Remarkable News might have obscure origins - Ever heard of his sire, Chayim? - Remarkable News has been in the mainstream of North American grass racing the last two seasons, with graded stakes wins in New York, Kentucky, and Maryland. His owner, Holly Rincon, must put up $300,000 in supplementary payments to start in the BC Mile, but this year, unlike last, trainer Angel Penna Jr. did not discourage her from so doing.

"She wanted to do it last year, and I discouraged her," Penna said. "This will be his last year racing - he's going to be a stud next year - so it's a good time."

Remarkable News, a 5-year-old, came to Penna early in his 2-year-old season, but was nowhere near ready to be a racehorse.

"He was very undeveloped," Penna said. "I sent him to the farm right away. But at 3, Remarkable News was ready to go, and he has come steadily forward in three seasons of racing. He won the Fourstardave and was second in the Shadwell Mile in the second part of 2006, and won the Dixie at Pimlico and the Firecracker at Churchill in successive starts this year.

A combination of heat exhaustion and mild colic kept Remarkable News from a repeat attempt in the Fourstardave, and when Remarkable News started in the Sept. 16 Woodbine Mile, he hadn't raced in three months. After a setting a swift pace, Remarkable News tired to fourth, but he was beaten less than three lengths by the winner, Shakespeare.

"He's a horse that runs very well fresh, but there were seven Grade 1 winners in that race, and that was a race he needed," Penna said. "We ended up on the lead, didn't want to be on the lead, but once you end up there, you're committed. The race is a lot better than what it shows."

Travel plans for Euro invaders

The 16 European-trained Breeders' Cup horses are scheduled to arrive at Newark International Airport in New Jersey on three separate flights between Sunday and Tuesday.

The eight-strong British contingent of Red Rocks (Turf), Jeremy (Mile), Passage of Time (Filly and Mare Turf), Simply Perfect (Filly and Mare Turf), Rahiyah (Filly and Mare Sprint), Strike the Deal (Juvenile Turf), Annie Skates (Juvenile Fillies), and Joffe's Run (Juvenile Fillies) will arrive 5 p.m. Sunday on a charter flight from Stanstead, England. Accompanying them will be the two non-Aidan O'Brien horses from Ireland, Timarwa (Filly and Mare Turf) and Domestic Fund (Juvenile Turf), who will get to Stanstead via a shuttle from Ireland.

The O'Brien five - Dylan Thomas (Turf), George Washington (Classic), Excellent Art (Mile), All My Loving (Filly and Mare Turf), and Achill Island (Juvenile Turf) - are due to land at Newark from Shannon, Ireland, at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The lone French runner, Juddmonte's Champs Elysees (Turf), will fly Air France from Paris to Newark, also arriving Tuesday.

If Annie Skates and Joffe's Run fail to make it into the Juvenile Fillies, they will run in Friday's Epitome Stakes, a one-mile turf contest for 2-year-old fillies. Meanwhile, Godolphin has declared Ibn Khaldun out of the Juvenile Turf. He will run instead in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Switch to dirt pays off for Jazzy

Jazzy proved she was not just a one-dimensional turf horse when she switched to the dirt to win the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap on Sept. 22. The performance earned the 5-year-old mare a starting slot in Friday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Jazzy had made her first nine starts on grass, the first seven in South Africa, before being bought privately by the partnership of Team Valor, Des Scott, and Robert Muir and transferred to trainer Mark Hennig earlier this year. A daughter of Mutakddim, Jazzy turned in a pair of sharp turf outings to begin her U.S. career before moving to the main track for the first time in the Gallant Bloom.

"She trained well on the dirt, so I wasn't surprised she ran well on it," Hennig said. "The biggest problem switching from grass to the main track is how they handle getting dirt kicked in their face, and fortunately she didn't have much of a problem because of the trip she got in the Gallant Bloom."

Jazzy rallied from well back and showed a sharp turn of foot down the stretch on turf in her first two U.S. starts. Although much closer to the pace in the Gallant Bloom, she'll likely find herself well back again during the early running of the Filly and Mare Sprint with speedballs like Dream Rush and Shaggy Mane in the lineup.

"The speed-favoring track over at Monmouth Park is a bit of a concern, although historically speed in Breeders' Cup sprints hasn't always been the best route to take," Hennig said.

- additional reporting by David Grening, Marcus Hersh, Alan Shuback, and Mike Welsch