Welcome to Breeders' Cup Chat and the second half of the Thoroughbred racing season! While sometimes not as glamorous as the Triple Crown season, the road to the Breeders' Cup offers some of the best racing around, including turf events galore, seldom seen ‘marathon' routes, and of course, two of the best meets in the world - Saratoga and Del Mar.
There have been many changes to the Breeders' Cup during the past couple of years, most notably the addition of a second day of racing and the advent of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" series, which increased from 25 races to 57 this year.
Personally, I love the changes. Adding more races on the second day, more divisions, and additional "Win and You're In" events will make things that much more exciting. When the announcement of more races first came, Blood-Horse did interviews with many of the high-profile trainers in the industry. Somewhat surprisingly, nearly every one endorsed the change. That told me all I needed to know. The Breeders' Cup is doing a great job of selling its product and trying to generate interest. This is precisely what racing needs. Let's focus on the good in the sport and not the negative stuff. The RACING is what real fans want to see and talk about. Let's do our part in keeping that going.
One of the things I love about this season is the Breeders' Cup Fantasy Challenge. Based on my conversations with many of you, I am not the only one who enjoys this contest. Basically, it gives us an opportunity to pick the winner in every one of the Breeders' Cup Challenge races, with a chance at winning some serious prizes. If you haven't already signed up, you can do so here.
Now, I don't expect to win any of these prizes, but the contest does give us a cool way of following the races while competing against each other. What I'd like to do on this blog is handicap each race, post my picks the day before (or day of) each event, and then get your picks. Basically, we'll handicap these races together and then see who comes out ahead at the end of the Breeders' Cup Fantasy Challenge. It will be our own mini-contest. The top finisher on this blog will win a nice Blood-Horse prize pack that includes t-shirts, a credit to our photo store, and a couple books.
If you are going to play, please let me know what your Breeders' Cup Fantasy Challenge handle is. Mine is "Offhegoes." Don't worry if you missed the July 5 races, there is still time to join. Hundreds of people all earned $0 at Monmouth anyway. For the record, I earned $6.60 the first day, as I had both runner-ups. Here is the link to the leaderboard.
Also on this blog we'll do Q & A's from the top names in the industry, top 10 lists, and cover current racing news - just as we did on Triple Crown Talk. Mostly though, Breeders' Cup talk will be geared toward racing and handicapping. I look forward to blogging with everyone.
Any early thoughts on the Smile Sprint and/or Princess Rooney?