Breeders' Cup pre-entries will be taken next week and final entries will be drawn just two weeks from now. Here's a look at the potential top 5 in some of the major races, with an educated guess at morning-line odds.
Havre de Grace and Uncle Mo gave the Classic a much-needed shot in the arm.
Havre de Grace (4-1): Might be cross-entered in Ladies Classic but Rick Porter has been clear all along that he wants Classic glory for this filly.
Uncle Mo (9-2): As sharp as he's ever been right now. But no horse has to answer distance question more than him.
Tizway (6-1): Missed JCGC but usually runs well off layoff. Major player.
Flat Out (8-1): Defeated Stay Thirsty in JCGC but he lost to both Tizway and Havre de Grace with no excuse. Has to step way up to be a factor.
So You Think (8-1): Aidan O'Brien has won five grade I races in the U. S. this year in 10 tries, so if he comes you have to respect. This horse just ran second in Champion Stakes on Oct. 15 and will be making dirt debut. Wild card for sure.
Interesting to note that the top five morning-line choices could all be 3-year-olds.
Havre de Grace (9-5): Would be huge morning-line favorite here if Porter wants to put up the $150,000 to cross-enter her.
Plum Pretty (3-1): If Havre de Grace isn't cross-entered she will be favored. Monster performance in Cotillion and she won Kentucky Oaks over this track.
Zazu (6-1): Hasn't done much wrong this year and defeated older horses last out. Might have won Kentucky Oaks if she hadn't had a bad trip.
Royal Delta (8-1): Soundly beaten by Havre de Grace after breakout performance in Alabama.
It's Tricky (10-1): No match for Plum Pretty in Cotillion but pace set up will be much different in this race. She defeated her in CCA Oaks at 1 1/8 miles, don't forget.
The last few years this has been one of the least intriguing BC races. Injuries to Paddy O'Prado, Cape Blanco, and Acclamation assure this will be the case again in 2011.
Nathaniel (7-2): Not sure what John Gosden will do after so-so effort in Champion Stakes. Three-year-old is still one of the favorites if he comes.
Sarafina (9-2): Seventh as the favorite against males in the Arc, she is being pointed to the Turf according to her trainer.
Sea Moon (5-1): Another 3-year-old European who has a big chance over here.
St. Nicholas Abbey (6-1): Group I winner in England (beat Midday) this year could be a major factor if O'Brien sends him.
Treasure Beach (8-1): Not a bad effort in Canadian International. O'Brien may send the 3-year-old too.
Winchester (10-1): I guess the yielding turf was his excuse in Turf Classic, but he won same race over soft course in 2010. Still, he's top U. S.-based threat.
Filly & Mare Turf
Like the Turf, there are some unanswered questions about which Euros are coming.
Midday (3-1): Nearly always fires. Fourth against males in Champion Stakes was only time off the board since 2008. Won this race in 2009, missed by a neck last year. She's the one to beat.
Stacelita (4-1): Two decisive grade I wins in the U. S. As sharp as can be right now.
Nahrain (6-1): Prix de l'Opera winner is on the fence.
Announce (8-1): Second in Prix de l'Opera and a group I winner prior to that. Also unsure about her status at this point.
Dubawi Heights (8-1): A good second to Stacelita in Beverly D., Won Yellow Ribbon last out. Four-for-five this year.
It's disappointing that Frankel isn't coming. Nowadays, if you've run five times in a season you've "done enough."
Goldikova (9-5): Second in her last two but three-time defending champ still absolutely the one to beat.
Gio Ponti (9-2): Just when you think he was finished he turns in a spectacular effort in Turf Mile. Always a factor.
Courageous Cat (8-1): Beaten by a neck Turallure in Woodbine Mile but he is healthy and a major contender.
Strong Suit (8-1): English-based 3-year-old is a head away from being unbeaten in his last three. Oct. 8 win at Newmarket was quite impressive.
Turallure (10-1): Won three of his last four including a stakes at Churchill.
A lot of solid horses but they really haven't separated themselves.
Big Drama (4-1): I guess he's the morning-line choice based off his win last year. Missing Vosburgh wasn't ideal but who else are you gonna pick over him?
The Factor (9-2): Was primed to inherit role as favorite until he ran a clunker in Ancient Title. He's too fast and Baffert is too good to disregard.
Euroears (6-1): Vosburgh is a complete toss after being taken out of the race early.
Amazombie (8-1): Has been at his best on natural dirt. Demands respect after breakthrough win in Ancient Title.
Smiling Tiger (8-1): Third in this race last year. Has finished ahead of Amazombie twice recently. Will be fresh.
Tough to gauge this race right now because some of the top contenders are still being considered for other races.
Twirling Candy (4-1): If they go with Dirt Mile over Classic (which they should), he will probably be favored.
Jackson Bend (6-1): Mo trounced him but he still ran well and is contender here.
Trappe Shot (6-1): Also under consideration for Sprint but one-turn mile at Churchill makes more sense for him.
Shackleford (10-1): Seems to be heading in the wrong direction but cut back and return to Churchill might be the answer.
Caleb's Posse (10-1): Connections still undecided on Breeders' Cup but his body of work this year and strong closing run makes him a contender, if he goes.
Sidney's Candy (10-1): If he makes the BC, this is logical spot. Turf Mile wasn't bad.
One of the few races where we will likely have a heavy favorite.
Union Rags (2-1): A perfect 3-for-3 and getting all the hype after Champagne romp.
Creative Cause (4-1): Norfolk win was just as impressive as Union Rags' Champagne. And it was around two turns.
Drill (5-1): Should learn something from Norfolk. Loss might have been best thing for him.
Hansen (10-1): Not guaranteed a spot, but if he gets in he will be the wild card. His two wins were scary good.
Dullahan (10-1): Breeders' Futurity winner does his training at Churchill for Romans, though he lost both starts over the track.