Bill Shoemaker and Charlie Whittingham have never won a Breeders' Cup race. There's good reason to feel that this three-year dry spell will end Saturday when the seven races worth $10 million are run at Hollywood Park.
A few weeks ago, Whittingham was saying that he had several candidates for the Breeders' Cup, "if (trainer Wayne) Lukas doesn't take up all the room with his horses."
Lukas is starting 14 horses in four Breeders' Cup races, but Whittingham will be no slouch, running 10 horses in five of the races. Between them, Whittingham and Lukas are accounting for more than 27% of Saturday's starters.
Two of Whittingham's starters--Ferdinand in the $3-million Classic and Infinidad in the $1-million Distaff--will probably go off as favorites.
Shoemaker will be riding Ferdinand for Whittingham, plus Swink, Temperate Sil and Jeanne Jones. Swink runs in the $2-million Turf Stakes, Temperate Sil goes in the $1-million Mile, which is also on grass, and Jeanne Jones starts in the $1-million Juvenile Fillies.
Shoemaker, 56, is 0 for 10 in the Breeders' Cup, his best finish being when Fran's Valentine ran a weak second to Lady's Secret in last year's Distaff at Santa Anita.
Whittingham, 74, is 0 for 7 with one second, when Palace Music just missed catching Last Tycoon in last year's Mile.
Angel Cordero, who is 1 for 19 in the Breeders' Cup, picked up two mounts Monday--Great Communicator in the Turf and Good Command in the Classic.
The mount on Great Communicator came open when Kent Desormeaux, who rode the 4-year-old gelding to a second-place finish in the Washington D.C. International, elected to remain in Maryland. Desormeaux, who has more than 350 wins, is battling Pat Day for the national races-won title. Day is about 15 wins behind and Desormeaux can ride more horses at Laurel than he would if he came to California for the Breeders' Cup.
At Keeneland Monday, Brave Raj, who won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and then had her career cut short by injury, was sold to the British Bloodstock Agency of England for $500,000. Brave Raj apparently was not bred this year.
Some of the sales toppers at Keeneland included a $1.9-million price for My Darling One, who is in foal to Nijinsky II, and $1.5-million for Dontstop Themusic, in foal to Lyphard. My Darling One was bought by Mohammed al Maktoum, and Dontstop Themusic went to the Cromwell Bloodstock Agency.
Although Frank Sanabria, jockey Jose Santos' agent, indicated that Stately Don will be running in the Hollywood Derby on Sunday instead of the Breeders' Cup Turf, LeRoy Jolley, who trains the horse, said a decision wouldn't be made until Wednesday.
If Stately Don runs in the Derby, there will be room for Blazing Bart to run in the Turf and the 3-year-old colt, who is undefeated on grass, would be ridden by Santos.
Zaizoom, the Hawthorne Derby winner who was pre-entered to run in the Turf, will run in the Derby instead. The Derby's purse is only $200,000, but Zaizoom won't have the powerful Theatrical to beat.
Gallant Archer, who had a problem ankle and returned to the races in September after being sidelined for 11 months, held off World Court and Tasso on Monday to win the $84,650 Henry B. Russell Handicap on the closing day of the Oak Tree season at Santa Anita.
Gallant Archer, ridden by Sandy Hawley, was a nose better than World Court and Tasso, the 19-10 favorite, had a wide trip all the way around and missed the place spot by a neck.
Coupled with Bello Horizonte, who finished eighth, Gallant Archer paid $11.20 to win.
Attendance and betting were off during the 32-day Oak Tree season, which included the Breeders' Cup day a year ago. Average daily attendance was 25,320, down 11.5%, and the average handle of $5.2 million dropped 5.7%.
Gary Stevens, who suffered a broken ankle in a gate accident Saturday, still won the riding title with 32 wins, one more than Eddie Delahoussaye. Charlie Whittingham, Hal King and Gary Jones finished atop the trainer standings with nine wins apiece.
Horse Racing Notes
Despite finishing last in Sunday's Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita, Short Sleeves may still run in the Breeders' Cup Mile. . . . Trempolino, winner of the Arc de Triomphe and a starter in the Turf, won't arrive at Hollywood Park until Friday from Europe. . . . Jose Santos will ride in New York this winter, after considering a move to Santa Anita.