GC at the BC: Draw comforts
Many regulars feel the Breeders' Cup draw ceremony is an essential and dramatic part of the build-up in which the chance of certain horses can be greatly increased or decreased.
- Related Content
And as the BC media pack ages together visibly a few cruel observers liken it to old folks bingo day down at the Darby & Joan Club.
My sympathies tend largely towards the latter view nowadays, though the cynicism probably stems back to the first ever BC draw I attended at Santa Anita back in 2003.
Local "experts" assured me stall 13 of 13 was a hammer blow to the chances of Six Perfections winning the Mile and I bought into the wisdom by laying the star filly for a fair sum at 6-1.
The wisdom looked less than inspired after Jerry Bailey smuggled Pascal Bary's filly home to leave me sulking and the folly of writing a horse down in the Mile was rammed home again here in 2009 when Goldikova prevailed from stall 11 of 11.
So forgive me if I keep my thoughts on the way the draw has treated Europe's stars fairly brief.
Sky Lantern's prospects in the Juvenile Fillies' Turf haven't been hindered by stall 3, while box 4 looks perfect for The Fugue in a Filly & Mare Turf where tactical pace and track position could be significant.
Messrs Lemaire and Hughes will need to be on their toes to offset 10 and 11 aboard Ridasiyna and I'm A Dreamer in the latter contest, while Roger Charlton's owlish visage surely broke into a satisfied smile to hear that his much fancied Champagne Stakes runner-up Dundonnell has drawn stall 6 in the Juvenile Turf.
The draw is surely neither here nor there in the Turf, while Coolmore will be more than happy with 6 for Excelebration in the Mile.
Whether Freddie Head will be chuffed with stall 9 on the outside for Moonlight Cloud is another matter, but never fear mon amis.
The trailblazing Obviously habitually goes through six furlongs in under 69 seconds and will thin this field out from a very early stage.
Plenty of things might stop Moonlight Cloud from doing what her trainer did twice on Miesque and three times with Goldikova.
But, as Goldikova and the wretched Six Perfections showed, it's highly unlikely to be that wide draw.
Everything's comin' up Rosie as Bobby limbers up for Juvenile date
The female rider representation at the 2012 Breeders' Cup has taken a battering in the build-up to the big show.
Glamorous Canadian star Chantal Sutherland has retired to pursue other projects after losing the cherished ride aboard Game On Dude in the Classic, while Hayley Turner's dreams of a first BC ride aboard I'm A Dreamer in the Filly & Mare Turf were dashed when connections opted to book Richard Hughes for David Simcock's live longshot.
However, the chances of a first BC success for a female rider since Julie Krone partnered the heavily-backed Halfbridled to victory in the 2003 Juvenile Fillies' remains high given that Rosie Napravnik continues her association with the unbeaten Shanghai Bobby in Saturday's BC Juvenile.
Napravnik became the first woman ever to land the Kentucky Oaks aboard Believe You Can in May and savoured another landmark day at Belmont three weeks ago with a Group 1 double aboard been Shanghai Bobby in the Champagne Stakes and King David in the Jamaica Handicap.
Shanghai Bobby is as short as 6-4 to make it five out of five in the Juvenile and Napravnik has few doubts that Todd Pletcher's exciting colt can put her name in lights again.
"He's really improving and maturing and the sky is the limit for him," she said.
"Of course it would be great to do what Julie did nine years ago, but I just think there isn't much validity to the sex issue. It just has to with whether you're good at riding races and being a jockey and I think most people nowadays can see that."
Amazombie has all it takes to complete the Sprint Double
Yesterday's suggestion that the list of appealing BC bets would grow longer by the day has proved well founded.
I spent a fair while sifting through Saturday's Sprint on Monday afternoon and it didn't take long to conclude that last year's winner Amazombie returns with very solid claims as he bids to emulate Midnight Lute's back to back wins from 2007 and 2008.
Amazombie has been lightly raced in 2012 but has looked as good as ever with two big Graded wins and a close fourth in the Santa Anita Sprint over this course and distance earlier this month.
It's safe to assume that Amazombie can be backed at 5-1 largely because he finished behind Coil, Capital Account and Jimmy Creed that day.
But take a look at the video of that race here.
Amazombie was giving the trio who beat him 5lb that day and did well considering he chased a fierce pace on his return from a break whereas the principals used their energy much more efficiently to past halfway.
I fancy it could be a different story this time around.
And Amazombie's ability to produce his best either pressing the lead or ridden to challenge later makes him a huge danger to all here.
Media draw brings back memories of a notable BC near miss
There can't be many better work stations for a reporter to bash out purple prose than the outdoor press box overlooking the Santa Anita winning post
The draw was made for media post positions on Monday afternoon and left me on row two in between Masato Aoki from the doubtless excellent Sports Nippon and Isobel Cunningham from the American publication Progressive Handicapping.
Now I don't know Mr Aoki yet, but I do know that Isobel Cunningham is a very colourful and slightly eccentric Scottish lady who is old enough to be my mother....and then some.
With that in mind, it came as a considerable surprise at a previous Breeders' Cup here to arrive at the hotel check-in after a long, tiring flight to be told that "your wife Isobel has already checked in and is waiting for you upstairs, Mr Cunningham."
The fact that something had been lost in translation took a little while to sink in.
About 0.1 of a second, to be exact.
The Lord dodges a bar bullet
Last but not least, a quick line on getting into a round with a certain bouffant haired Channel 4 and Racing UK presenter.
Nick Luck treated me to a small, moderately priced pale ale in a Pasadena bodega on Monday night and I returned the favour by buying us a glass of wine apiece back at the hotel as a nightcap.
The damage for said beakers of the warm south was $35 plus tip.
Now even at the best exchange rates that shakes down at over a tenner a glass.
Memo to the Lord: Only one of us is on exorbitant NBC wages in this week of all weeks, old pal.