October 28, 2011 - 10:40 AM
By Gene Kershner
Since the pre-entries have been announced earlier this week for the 15 races to be held next weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, let's take a look at some fun facts surrounding this year's Breeders' Cup.
*A record 193 horses were pre-entered, 29 from overseas.
*$26 million in purse money is at stake.
*Uncle Mo is one of eight former Breeders' Cup champions that have pre-entered. The others are Big Drama, California Flag, Chamberlain Bridge, Eldaafer, Goldikova, Midday (GB) and Shared Account.
*Goldikova will be seeking a fourth straight BC Mile title.
*The Breeders' Cup will be televised live on ABC/ESPN and in more than 130 foreign countries.
*Havre de Grace, running in the Classic against the boys, is the daughter of 2005 Breeders' Cup Classic champion Saint Liam.
*Chantal Sutherland, the jockey for Game On Dude, will look become the first female rider to win the Classic.
*The last two winners of the Belmont Stakes, Drosselmeyer (2010) and Ruler On Ice (2011) are both pre-entered in the Classic.
*Horses looking to defend their 2010 Breeders' Cup titles, other than Goldikova, include Shared Account (BC Filly and Mare Turf), Chamberlain Bridge (BC Turf Sprint) and Big Drama (BC Sprint). 2009 BC Turf Sprint winner California Flag also is pre-entered in the Turf Sprint.
*The Breeders' Cup marketing folks have released 2011 iPad and iPhone apps.
*The BC Classic is scheduled to go off at 7 p.m. Saturday evening (Nov. 5) and the Ladies Classic at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening (Nov. 4).
Following the closing of pre-entries earlier in the week, the Breeders' Cup Committee moved the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile to the 10th race on Saturday's program, switching it with the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf, which will now be run as the eighth race.
The $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile will now be run as the ninth race on the Saturday program, and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile will now be run as the seventh race.
"Due to the heightened international interest in Goldikova's quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive TVG Breeders' Cup Mile, we believe that moving the Mile to later in Saturday's program will provide a fitting tribute to this extraordinary challenge," said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "Given the Triple Crown implications of the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile, we also believe that placing this race later in the program puts the spotlight on next year's potential stars going into their 3-year-old campaigns."
Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace