By Gene Kershner
Breeders' Cup Notes
The Breeders' Cup pre-entries for the 14 Championship races on Nov 1 and 2 will close at Noon on Monday (Oct. 21) and the pre-entries will be released for each race on Wednesday (Oct. 23).
The final entries will be determined on Monday Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. PT, and the post positions will be drawn later that afternoon. That will give horseplayers plenty of time to study past performances prior to the two big days of racing.
Post times for the races are setand instead of the majority of the filly and mare races being run on Friday, the Breeders' Cup organizers have went back to mixing up the races over the two days. For instance the Dirt Mile, which will feature the Todd Pletcher-trained Verrazano will be run on Friday instead of Saturday.
The Distaff looks like May be a rematch of sorts for two horses suffering their last losses to Princess of Sylmar. With a potential Horse of the Year title looming should Game On Dude falter in the Classic, the Princess' connections are rethinking their initial position of skipping the Breeders' Cup. The connections will make a decision this weekend following her next workout.
Two-time defending champ Royal Delta will try and avenge her loss in the Beldame while Beholder (Kentucky Oaks) will do the same trying to follow up on her win in the Grade 1 Zenyatta. If the Princess shows up this could be the best race of the weekend.
Two other fillies in the Distaff that shouldn't be ignored are Authenticity (grade 2 winner) and Close Hatches (two-time Grade 1 winner).
Fort Erie's chief financial officer released handle figures showing a 13 percent increase on an average daily handle basis for the recently concluded 41-day meeting over 2012 figures. Total handle for the 2013 meet was $24,893,884 for a daily average handle of $607,168 from all sources.
The Prince of Wales, the second jewel of the Triple Crown was run on a Tuesday night for the first time and the nine-race card resulted in handle of $1,332,764. The 2012 race was held on an 11-race card which only handled $1,158,157 on its traditional Sunday date.
While we rarely mention the harness game in this space, I was notified earlier in the week that a 2-year-old trotter filly, Market Rally, has qualified for the Breeders' Crown finals on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The Crown is harness racing's equivalent to the Breeders' Cup.
Market Rally won the NY Sire Stake Championships at Yonkers on Sept. 28 which qualified her for the Crown. She drew the No. 6 post in the $500,000 final scheduled to go off at 6:30 p.m. She is co-owned by John Yoder (Ohio) and trainer Megan Wilson and driven John Cummings, Jr., both local Western New York horsemen.
The last Western New York horse to run in the Breeders' Crown was Archangel in 2011.