Breeders Cup Preview
Even though this Saturday’s 25th Breeder’s Cup will take place on American soil at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday, the race itself will have a huge European flavor.
This two day event (October 24th and 25th) added three more races to the card for a total of 14 worth an amazing $25 million. Obviously, the “Classic” is the race most people are talking about and many handicapping experts are calling this the best European group in the history of the race. (The majority of the record 35 horses entered are non-U. S. based.)
Some of the notable foreign horses include Raven’s Pass, who was bred in Kentucky but raced at peak form in Europe, as well as Casino Drive, the unbeaten Japanese horse looking to rebound in the public’s eye after being scratched from the Belmont Stakes. Casino Drive returned to the United States this month and won an allowance field at Santa Anita. This will be the first time in recent memory that so many horses with a chance to win the “Classic” will not be well known to the casual horseracing fan.
A major first at the Breeders’ Cup is that the main races will be held on a synthetic track, using Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface. The change in track surface is going to favor the large foreign field comprised of grass specialists such as Duke of Marmalade and Henrythenavigator. Even though Curlin is expected to outclass the field and claim victory, there are many in the handicapping field calling for an upstart Euro to take home the title this weekend.
Outside of the record field, the Breeders’ Cup has another major first occurring this weekend. Many are openly calling this the first steroid free Breeders’ Cup, including Alistair Donald of the International Racing Bureau who was quoted as saying, “I think the steroid-free issue and the synthetic track have certainly been factors. I think the synthetic surface is key this year because it has encouraged a lot of people to expand the range of races that Europe would enter. And, I think that's a matter of great encouragement.”
2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds - 25th October 2008 – Santa Anita
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Posted: 10/24/08 9:00 PM ET
Chris Rocco is a professional sports handicapper and founder of Rock Box Sports. His analysis and selections for sporting events of all kinds can be found at daily at his website www.rockboxsports.com