BC Turf Pre-Entry Report: Champ Pegasus is My Early Fave

Well, I have my work cut out for me this year at the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. For the first time, instead of just focusing on Breeders’ Cup news, I will be covering one of the 14 races—the Emirates Airline BC Turf (gr. I) Nov. 6.
There were 11 horses pre-entered in the race, and not surprisingly, six of those contenders were bred and/or have raced primarily outside of this country: Debussy, Behkabad, Red Desire, Dangerous Midge, Plumania, and Workforce.

While the number of foreign horses in the Turf seems a little daunting at first, I’m up for the challenge!

Among the most prominent owners of the horses in this race are Bertram and Diana Firestone (Winchester)--no relation to the tire manufacturer--who were some of the original shareholders in the Secretariat syndication (imagine that!); Princess Haya of Jordan (Debussy), the wife of Sheikh Mohammed; Islamic leader and economic developer The Aga Khan (Behkabad); French brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer (Plumania), owners of the House of Chanel; and Saudi Arabian prince Khalid Abdullah (Workforce), owner of Juddmonte Farms.

Quite an intimidating group, don’t you think? Out of the connections just named (or their families), the following have won previous editions of the Turf: The Aga Khan (1984, Lashkari; 2000, Kalanisi); and Sheikh Mohammed/Godolphin Stables (1985, Pebbles; 1990, In the Wings; 1999, Daylami; 2001, Fantastic Light).

Though it will be a tall task for Champ Pegasus to best the likes of European invaders and prominent group I winners Workforce and Behkabad, I am personally a fan of the Kentucky-bred bay colt, who is trained by one of my favorites, Richard Mandella (also the trainer of the beloved retired gelding The Tin Man).

Champ Pegasus, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, looks to be on top of his game, winning his last two straight starts—the Aug. 29 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) and the Oct. 3 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes (gr. IT). One of the only things working against Champ Pegasus,  who is raced by his breeders, Gerald Ford's Diamond A. Racing and Arturo Vargas, is the fact he has only campaigned on the West Coast, so the Breeders’ Cup will be his first time on Churchill’s turf.

Champ Pegasus winning the Clement L. Hirsch, photo by Benoit

Champ Pegasus in the Del Mar Handicap, photo by Benoit

On the plus side, however, he won’t be alone. The only two Turf pre-entered horses that have been somewhat previously successful at Churchill are Paddy O’ Prado (third in this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, gr. I) and Telling (third in the 2008 River City Handicap, gr. IIIT).  I should also note that Paddy O’Prado is cross entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).

I want to know who your early favorites are for this race and why. Is anyone out there an avid fan of turf racing? I will be at Churchill Downs throughout Breeders’ Cup week, walking the backstretch in the mornings and trying to find out some more information about these horses and their connections. I’ll be sure to document all the most interesting information and photos I can obtain along the way.

10 Comments

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Vince

I think he would certainly have to go some to win it. workforce is the favourite in europe, followed by bekhabad. they both represent top class form. probably better than anything the us has to offer on turf, especially since paddy o' prado defected to the classic.

however, both the favs are 3-y-os and have been on the go from early season so there is a possibility they may bounce or may be not quite at the top of their game. I think you could be right to look for something from america. the odds, based on recent bc turf runnigs, are heavily stacked towards the euro runners. maybe a little too much now. also, I think it will be a small field, maybe 7 or 8, and some us horse will have every chance of placing. champ pegasus is currently best-priced 25s in britain, so he may be worth a punt. however, the racing post site is down now, so I can't check the form. but I agree with the basic idea tha somethingfrom the us will be in the shake up.    

27 Oct 2010 5:57 PM
pNewmarket

Workforce is a monster.  On form he is the horse to beat.

28 Oct 2010 9:11 AM
Footlick

Have to agree that Workforce and Bekhabad will be favored.  Plumania's Arc race was too bad to be believed.  I might take a flyer on her if she is entered here instead of the Filly/Mare turf.  I like Champ Pegasus also.  Neat horse who is on the improve.

28 Oct 2010 11:18 AM
Barb

Please pardon me if I'm mistaken, but I thought the Arc winner usually gets upset in the Breeders Cup?  Has the Arc winner ever won the BC Turf?

I've had a hunch for some time now that a non-Euro was going to win the turf in a huge upset.  Hunches may be silly but I'm betting it anyway.

However, I'm not excited about the US entries so I'm going to cover them all with a bet.  BUT since you're the only writer I've seen with the stones to tout an American turfer for the win, I'm going to put my biggest hunch bet on Champ Pegasus.  I sure hope you're right.

To answer your question "Is anyone out there an avid fan of turf racing?"  I used to be a dirt only fan but in the last couple years I've discovered that I love turf races.  So yes, i am now an avid turf fan (especially turf sprints).        

28 Oct 2010 1:07 PM
Laura R

A little off subject here, but has anyone visited the Breeders' Cup Official website? One would think that they'd have an accurate list of the horses and profiles. I checked out the Juvenile Colts Division and the only two profiles are of Lou Brisse and Kantharos.

It's pretty sad that they can't keep their website up to date considering the number of people world wide that probably check out the site on a daily basis.

28 Oct 2010 2:16 PM
Rachel

I absolutely love the turf races.

28 Oct 2010 3:18 PM
Arlene

Ms. Marr...I would love your "job".

Have fun over the weekend..cover ALL the candidates for a steller performance in the Turf..you never know beforehand who will step up and be that next superstar or have a superstar performance! Do you need an assistant? I would carry the cameras! Good job on the World Equestrian Games. Did I mention, I would love your "job" assignments?

Say "Hay" and Good Luck to all the contenders...Actually..I think if you polled the bloggers (polled, remember..there are voting options next week) everyone checking in here loves the game and the horses.

Have fun..give us good feedback..I will be a TV observer..and there in spirit..

28 Oct 2010 8:54 PM
John T

The same ownership had that great

champion and Arc winner Dancing Brave beaten in this race some years ago but it was a combination

of so many other things including

travel and''That One Race Too Many''that got him beat as he was far and away the best horse in the race.Indeed Juddmonte Farms have not got a good record in this race

and they will be looking to rectify that with Workforce and unlike Dancing Brave I think they have an excellent chance as this colt has been lightly raced.

Bekahbad was a good fourth in the Arc and looks the main danger.

Is any one out there an avid fan of turf racing you ask? I know I am

and I think I have lots of company.

28 Oct 2010 9:54 PM
Just Me

Laura R- Well, considering 184 horses were pre-entered, it probably takes more than two days to get all that information posted. I would be surprised if it isn't up by the draw...

29 Oct 2010 5:42 PM
tstewart

Laura, I too am disappointed with the Breeders Cup website this year.  Very disjointed and difficult to find information.  Came across an interesting site called www.horseracingnation.com that seems to be on top of the Breeders Cup races.  Hope that helps.

30 Oct 2010 4:11 PM

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