$1-million Juvenile--The field includes the 1-2-3 finishers in last month's Champagne at Belmont Park--Polish Navy, Demon's Begone and Bet Twice--and the 1-2 finishers in the Norfolk at Santa Anita on Oct. 11--Capote and Gulch. While the stars from the East don't have the advantage of a race over the track, their times in the Champagne were as good as the clockings were poor in the Norfolk. Gulch is seeking redemption; he had been considered the best 2-year-old colt in the East before his five-race undefeated streak ended in the Norfolk.
$1-million Juvenile Fillies--There are two undefeated 2-year-olds running in Tappiano and Prankstress, and another starter, Brave Raj, has won her last four races, albeit against suspect opposition. Sacahuista almost beat the winner, Qualify, and other colts in the Del Mar Futurity and won the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita last month. Personal Ensign, a good New York filly, is missing in this race because of a career-threatening leg injury the day before she was to be flown to California.
$1-million Sprint--Groovy, a good-looking 3-year-old chestnut bred in Texas, made his first appearance at Santa Anita two weeks ago and ran off with the Ancient Title Handicap in a sensational time of 1:08 1/5 for six furlongs. He only has to run six furlongs again today, and there doesn't appear to be any horse among the eight opponents who can catch him. The best upset possibility is Pine Tree Lane, a 4-year-old filly who lacks Groovy's stakes experience but will be battling him for the early lead.
$1-million Mile--Sonic Lady, a 3-year-old filly, has won seven of eight lifetime starts and five in a row and appears to have shipped from England with no problems. Al Mamoon is also formidable, having recovered from a throat problem that contributed to an eighth-place finish in the Budweiser-Arlington Million. Al Mamoon led this race for about seven furlongs last year at Aqueduct, finishing third. Palace Music, who's also running today, was second a year ago, then disqualified to ninth.
$1-million Distaff--Lady's Secret doesn't always win as impressively going today's distance, 1 miles. The Europeans, who could have a big day, are counting on Park Express here. Lady's Secret started the year winning stakes at Santa Anita, then was moved to New York. A win today lifts her career earnings to $2.9 million.
$2-million Turf--There's always a question about how a European horse like Dancing Brave will handle the sharper turns on an American track. But considering his wondrous run in the Arc de Triomphe, he looks like the kind of horse who, as they say, could run over glass. He was on the outside at the start in a 15-horse field in Paris, then had most of the field in front of him heading into the stretch. He's outside again today, although there are only nine horses in the field. The race is fraught with potential upsetters, including Estrapade, Manila and Dahar.
$3-million Classic--The track's morning line has Turkoman the favorite and Precisionist the second choice, but even Gary Jones, the trainer of Turkoman, thinks that Precisionist will go off the favorite. Tom Tatham, one of the owners of Skywalker, has several horses to beat, and one of the rivals who has impressed him in the mornings is Alphabatim. With Herat likely to duel Precisionist early, the race may set up for a closer, and Nostalgia's Star, who usually runs well at Santa Anita, qualifies.