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Drysdale Likes What He Sees


Scouting the opposition from afar at Santa Anita, trainer Neil Drysdale said that he hadn't seen the telecast of the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park, but was looking forward to watching a tape of the race Saturday night.

Drysdale's Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus, was withheld from the Gold Cup because of a minor foot injury, and now becomes the probable favorite for the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic after Lemon Drop Kid's surprising defeat at Belmont.

Lemon Drop Kid, who had won four in a row, finished fifth, beaten by 9 1/2 lengths, as Albert The Great, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Jorge Chavez, parlayed a front-running trip into a six-length win. Lemon Drop Kid has now lost five of seven starts at 1 1/4 miles, the same distance as the Classic, and has never run well at Churchill Downs, where the eight Breeders' Cup races will be run Nov. 4.

Instead of being in New York, saddling Fusaichi Pegasus to run against Lemon Drop Kid, Drysdale successfully prepped his only other Breeders' Cup hopeful at Santa Anita. War Chant, sidelined since he ran ninth in the Kentucky Derby five months ago and came out of the race with a shoulder injury, made his grass debut and was an impressive 1 1/4-length winner over Road To Slew in the $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile, which will set the colt up for the $1-million Breeders' Cup Mile, another grass race.

Drysdale said Fusaichi Pegasus, who galloped at Belmont on Saturday, would be flown to Kentucky on Monday and work out at Churchill Downs later this week.

More contenders will be sorted out for the Breeders' Cup Classic today at Santa Anita, where Tiznow is the 8-5 favorite and another 3-year-old, Captain Steve, is 2-1 in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap. Neither horse was nominated three years ago for the Breeders' Cup, at a cost of $500, and now their owners would have to cough up $360,000 and $290,000, respectively, to make them eligible for the Classic.

Aaron and Marie Jones, the Oregon couple who had a big day Saturday, winning the $750,000 Beldame at Belmont with Riboletta and the $543,500 Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes at Keeneland with Plenty Of Light, also have a Breeders' Cup supplementary issue to deal with. Riboletta, who has become a horse-of-the-year candidate with a seven-race winning streak on dirt, could only run in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Distaff if the Joneses paid $400,000, and the bite would be an obscene $800,000 to supplement the Brazilian mare into the Classic.

Shortly after the Beldame was run, Aaron Jones sounded like a man who would be running Plenty Of Light, who would not need to be supplemented, in the Distaff and leave Riboletta at home.

"[Running Riboletta in the Classic] would be a rather remote decision to make," Jones said. "[The fee] is quite high, but I don't think we'll make up our minds until the last minute. If she ran against the colts [in the Classic], I think she'd have better than an even chance. I think it's ridiculous to put up $800,000 to get her in that race, and half that to get her in the race with mares."

In winning the Beldame by two lengths with hardly any encouragement from jockey Chris McCarron, Riboletta easily handled Beautiful Pleasure, who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff a year ago and was voted best older filly or mare. Running on dirt six times in California and twice in New York this year, Riboletta has won all but her first start, and Eclipse Awards voters could hardly penalize the horse if the Joneses skipped both Breeders' Cup races.

In another race at Santa Anita on Saturday, Kona Gold, a 6-year-old gelding who has been third and second in other Breeders' Cup Sprints, won the $196,498 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap, carrying high weight of 124 pounds to a three-length score.


Gander finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and was followed by Vision And Verse, Agol Lack, Lemon Drop Kid, Behrens and Skimming across the line. Albert The Great, clocked in 1:59 1/5, paid $13 for $2. . . . Trainer Scotty Schulhofer said that his Lemon Drop Kid was compromised by a bumping incident with Behrens leaving the gate. "[Jerry Bailey, the rider of Behrens] made lemonade out of my horse at the gate," Schulhofer said. "It's as simple as that. [Jockey Edgar Prado] tried to take hold of my horse, but he never got into it after that. I knew it was going to be bad with Bailey just outside of us." . . . Besides the Gold Cup, trainer Nick Zito also won the $500,000 Champagne at Belmont with A P Valentine, ridden by Jorge Chavez. . . . Bailey rode Raging Fever to victory in the $500,000 Frizette, and the $250,000 Forest Hills Handicap went to Delaware Township. . . . Gary Stevens' win with War Chant was his first victory in a stake since last Nov. 7. . . . At Keeneland, Five Star Day, running in the $269,750 Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes, turned in a rousing prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint with a four-length win in 1:07 4/5, which tied the track record.

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