BC Classic Preview

Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) ∙ $5,000,000 ∙ 1 1/4 miles, dirt

Race 11, Saturday, 6:45 PM

PP Horse Sire Broodmare Sire TrueNicks Odds
Quality Road Elusive Quality Strawberry Road
Paddy O'Prado El Prado Prized
Haynesfield Speightstown Tejabo
First Dude Stephen Got Even Smart Strike
Blame Arch Seeking the Gold
Fly Down Mineshaft Fly So Free
Musket Man Yonaguska Fortunate Prospect
Zenyatta Street Cry Kris S.
Pleasant Prince Indy King Pleasant Tap
Etched Forestry Unbridled's Song
Espoir City (JPN) Gold Allure Brian's Time
Lookin At Lucky Smart Strike Belong to Me

1 - Quality Road

Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO) colt Quality Road (TrueNicks,SRO) enters the 2010 Classic after refusing to load in last year's edition. He has often been brilliant in his career, and while Quality Road has yet to win at the 10-furlong distance, he is certainly bred for it. By the sire of BC Classic winner Raven's Pass and Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones (TrueNicks,SRO), Quality Road is out of a Strawberry Road full sister to BC Distaff winner Ajina, who also won the 10-furlong Coaching Club American Oaks. The cross of Elusive Quality with Nijinsky line mares yields five stakes winners from 20 starters, rating A++. While the cross average winning distance is in the sprinter/miler category, Quality Road will rely on his female family for stamina influence.

2 - Paddy O'Prado

El Prado son Paddy O'Prado holds a grade I win at the distance, though that victory came on turf in the Secretariat Stakes. He was an excellent third in the slop in this year's Kentucky Derby, and Paddy returns to the Churchill main track for the Classic. Out of a mare by BC Turf winner Prized, Paddy O'Prado is bred to run on the grass. While his immediate family includes good dirt performer Early Flyer (TrueNicks,SRO), the cross of Sadler's Wells and sons with Prized mares has seen all its stakes performance on turf. Paddy O'Prado's sire El Prado offers some versatility, being that he sired top dirt horse and sire Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO).

3 - Haynesfield

The son of BC Sprint winner Speightstown (TrueNicks,SRO) comes off a big win at 10 furlongs in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). The colt is in excellent form at the moment, which is a requirement given the strong field he faces. Out of the Tejabo mare Nothing Special, who placed in the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie (gr. II), Haynesfield rates B based on three stakes winners from 21 starters by Speightstown out of Deputy Minister line mares. While the third dam is Canadian Oaks winner Cool Mood—granddam of With Approval and Touch Gold (TrueNicks,SRO)—the low average winning distance of the cross casts further doubt that Haynesfield can run a strong 10 furlongs.

4 - First Dude

Consistent placer First Dude is by A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) son Stephen Got Even (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by Smart Strike (TrueNicks,SRO), and all three sires in the first two generations stand at Lane's End. Stephen Got Even, winner of the Donn (gr. I), has eight stakes winners from 95 starters out of Mr. Prospector line mares, including Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner I Want Revenge. Solid average winning distance on this cross explains the observed staying ability of First Dude, noted for running hard through the stretch if not ultimately getting to the wire first. A second or third in this race would earn a fairly decent pay day.

5 - Blame

Arch (TrueNicks,SRO) colt Blame comes from the well known family of Nureyev and Sadler's Wells. He is out of a mare by Seeking the Gold, who was second to Alysheba in the 1988 BC Classic at Churchill Downs. The cross of Arch with Seeking the Gold mares rates B+, with the other stakes winner the grade I-winning Pine Island. The average winning distance among 18 starters is a strong 9.23 furlongs, suggesting that Blame should handle the distance without issue.

6 - Fly Down

Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO) colt Fly Down exits a third-place effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, preceded by a narrow loss in the Travers. Out of a mare by BC Juvenile winner Fly So Free, Fly Down seems to want every bit of 10 furlongs, and will certainly be improving his position late. Mineshaft has had immediate success with Damascus line mares, also getting grade I sprinter Discreetly Mine from just five starters on the cross. Inbred 3 x 3 to Mr. Prospector, Fly Down seems to have inherited more of his sire line's stamina.

7 - Musket Man

Never out of the top three in 14 career outings, Yonaguska colt Musket Man figures to get a piece of the Classic at a good price. Out of a Fortunate Prospect mare, his pedigree has the profile of a seven-furlong horse, but his ability has made him a grade II winner at nine furlongs, and grade I-placed in the Kentucky Derby. There are four stakes winners from 54 starters by Yonaguska out of Mr. Prospector line mares, but Musket Man is clearly the class of this cross.

8 - Zenyatta

Undefeated Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Zenyatta is the star of this year's Breeders' Cup, and she is the defending BC Classic champ. Out of a Kris S. mare, Zenyatta is a half sister to grade I Thunder Gulch (TrueNicks,SRO) filly Balance. With her pedigree and running style, distance has never been an issue. The cross has seen little dirt performance apart from Zenyatta's wins at Oaklawn Park, but both sire and broodmare sire have other grade I dirt routers to their credit—Street Sense (TrueNicks,SRO) and Action This Day (TrueNicks,SRO), respectively. Zenyatta shares the cross of Street Cry and Hail to Reason line mares with grade I winner Cry and Catch Me.

9 - Pleasant Prince

Indy King (TrueNicks,SRO) three-year-old colt Pleasant Prince won the Oklahoma Derby in his last, and earlier in the year was nosed out by Ice Box in the Florida Derby (gr. I). Out of a Pleasant Tap mare, Pleasant Prince's second dam is My Marchesa, a filly who set a Laurel Park course record for 9.5 furlongs on turf when breaking her maiden, and two starts later won a stakes race at five furlongs. With A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) and Pleasant Tap in key positions, the pedigree would appear to call out more stamina. A.P. Indy and sons have crossed well with mares by Pleasant Tap, getting grade II winner Shaniko (TrueNicks,SRO), stakes winner In the Juice, stakes-placed Miner's Claim, and BC Juvenile Fillies fourth Believe in A. P. from only nine starters. A.P. Indy and Pleasant Tap ran 1-2 in the 1992 BC Classic.

10 - Etched

Forestry (TrueNicks,SRO) horse Etched is out of 2001 BC Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, by Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO), creating a cross of two successful sires at Taylor Made Stallions. Lightly raced in his career, Etched has never been farther than nine furlongs in nine career starts. Forestry has four stakes winners from 25 starters out of Fappiano line mares, including graded stakes winner Congressionalhonor (TrueNicks,SRO). It seems that Etched will need all of his class to stretch his range slightly beyond his preferred trip.

11 - Espoir City (JPN)

Japanese horse Espoir City is by Sunday Silence stallion Gold Allure out of a mare by Brian's Time, a multiple grade I winner in the U.S. who became a perennial leading sire in Japan. The mating is a Hail to Reason/Hail to Reason cross, as Halo and Roberto appear 3 x 3. The cross of Gold Allure with the Roberto line has succeeded with two stakes winners from 17 starters, and all 17 are winners on dirt. The other stakes winner on the cross is Japanese miler Oro Meister. Brian's Time, with a respectable 7.43-furlong average winning distance as a broodmare sire, should provide some stamina as Espoir City attempts his first race beyond nine furlongs.

12 - Lookin At Lucky

Another Lane's End cross is Lookin At Lucky, by Smart Strike (TrueNicks,SRO) out the Belong to Me (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Private Feeling. Winner of the grade I Preakness and Haskell this season, last year's champion two-year-old is a half brother to Jim Dandy (gr.II) winner Kensei. Although his immediate family includes Wait a While, a three-time grade I winner at 10 furlongs, the distance may be approaching Lookin At Lucky's limit at this level. The cross has produced Papa Clem (TrueNicks), a winner of the nine-furlong Arkansas Derby (gr. II); and Striking Tomisue, a stakes winner at 8.5 furlongs. Based on pedigree, Lookin At Lucky is probably a nine furlong horse, but he will be competitive given his championship form.

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