A Classic in the Making

So you're not a big fan of synthetics, you say?

Me neither. The intent was good. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out as planned. I think most of us would agree on this by now.

But here's the thing: It's Breeders' Cup time. For the second straight year, I'm tired of all the complaining. The World Championships are at Santa Anita, again. Deal with it. The races are going to be fun. Let's enjoy them.

The ironic thing is, because the Breeders' Cup is once again on synthetics, the Classic is shaping up to be one heck of a race. Think about it.

Let's start with the Euros. Already confirmed for the race are Irish 2000 Guineas winner Matsercraftsman and QEII winner Rip Van Winkle, both trained by Aidan O'Brien. Also under consideration is perhaps the best 3-year-old on the planet, Sea the Stars, who is a perfect 6-for-6 in European major races, including last week's Arc de Triomphe score.

The possible presence of all of these Euro stars is due only to the fact that the Classic is being held on a synthetic surface. None would even be considered the race if it were on natural dirt. As we saw last year, the Euros add a whole new dimension to the race. After all, it is the WORLD Championships.

Over on this side of the pond, the Classic is likely to include our best turf horse--Gio Ponti. He will be a huge x-factor in the race. And again, Christophe Clement would not have considered the race without the synthetic factor.

Speaking of older stars, we're going to get to see Einstein, who has dropped off a tad in last couple but is still a super horse with a synthetic background.

Want local stars? How about Rail Trip, a proven synthetic grade I winner who might be sitting on a huge race at a track he loves. And don't forget about Bob Baffert's Richard's Kid, who upset Rail Trip in the Pacific Classic; Colonel John; Tiago; and Chocolate Candy, all of them prepping in this weekend's Goodwood.

Then we move on to our East Coast based 3-year-olds. There is no hotter horse than Summer Bird. Don't forget, he trained over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride for four months.

And we can't leave out the Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who will face older horses for the first time in the Goodwood. Again, he is proven on synthetics.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot about Zenyatta. Personally, I think there is little to no chance that the connections try her in the Classic, but its been bandied about for so long now I had to mention her.

How's that for a potential Breeders'Cup Classic field?

Let me reiterate again: I'm not a fan of synthetics. But even the most ardent critic would have to admit their presence has helped draw a potentially excellent Classic field for the second straight year, even if by accident. Yes, we lose Rachel Alexandra. She would have added a great deal to the field, but for all of Jess Jackson's complaining, I'm not even sure he would have run her in this year's Classic even if it were on dirt. I think he would have shut her down by now anyway.

Tell me, which older horse are you upset about not seeing in the Classic because it's on a synthetic? In other words, if the race was on dirt, how would the field look?

We're exactly four weeks away from the Breeders' Cup. Let's stop all the synthetic complaing for one month and enjoy what could be one of the best Classics in a long time.

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