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Breeders' Cup Thumbnails

October 25, 2002|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Here's a quick, race-by-race look at Saturday's eight Breeders' Cup races -- $13 million worth -- at Arlington Park (in the order they'll be run):

$2 million

8 horses, 1 1/8 miles on dirt

*--* DISTAFF

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Allen Paulson, who died in 2000, bred and raced Ajina and Escena, who won this race in 1997 and 1998. Paulson, now represented by his son Michael and a family trust, also bred Azeri, the 6-5 morning-line favorite based on seven wins in eight starts this year. Summer Colony, who beat Azeri by a length in the La Canada at Santa Anita in February, is also running, at 5-1. Since the La Canada, Summer Colony has run at six tracks, winning three times with two seconds and a third, which came in her last race, the Beldame on Oct. 5. Imperial Gesture beat her that day and seems well-suited for Saturday's distance. Since running sixth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Take Charge Lady has won five of seven starts, the most recent victory coming in the Spinster at Keeneland, where nine of the previous 18 Distaff winners have prepped. A forgotten horse is Farda Amiga, who has done nothing wrong away from Santa Anita, winning the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and the Alabama at Saratoga. Trainer Paulo Lobo's filly was 20-1 in the Oaks and will be double digits at post time Saturday. This will be Farda Amiga's first start in more than two months.

*--* JUVENILE FILLIES

*--*

$1 million

10 horses, 1 1/8 miles on dirt

The Breeders' Cup's 2-year-old races, usually 1 1/16 miles, are longer this year because the shorter distance at Arlington, a 1 1/8-mile dirt oval, would have forced the fields into too quick a run into the first turn. Ivanavinalot, who had won five of six exclusively at Calder, was scratched Thursday morning because of a high temperature. None of the remaining contenders has run as far as 1 1/8 miles, so handicappers will be especially mindful of stamina, but Storm Flag Flying looks unbeatable at any distance. She's won all three of her starts, in New York, and is a pedigree pick as well: Her dam, My Flag, won the same stake in the mud at Belmont Park in 1995. There's another posthumous breeding angle here: Storm Flag Flying comes from the Phipps Farm, whose owner Ogden Phipps was 93 when he died in April, and the filly is now campaigned by Dinny Phipps, the breeder's son. A win for Storm Flag Flying would be No. 8 in the Breeders' Cup for trainer Shug McGaughey, which would leave him with half as many as Wayne Lukas (providing Lukas doesn't win Saturday's Sprint). After even-money Storm Flag Flying, the early odds go to the 4-1 Santa Catarina, who was second, beaten by two lengths, when McGaughey's filly won the Frizette on Oct. 5.

*--* MILE

*--*

$1 million

14 horses, on turf

More than any other Breeders' Cup race, post positions are a factor. Half of the 18 winners broke from the four inside stalls. Forbidden Apple, Beat Hollow, Medecis and Good Journey will occupy those spots, with Beat Hollow, at a generous 6-1, given the best chance to beat Rock Of Gibraltar, who, like the insurance company's hoary symbol, is a solid presence. The Irish-based Rock Of Gibraltar, who drew No. 10, has won 10 of 12 starts and is on a seven-race run in Group I stakes. Over there, they've already ascribed the 3-year-old colt to Europe's pantheon. Beat Hollow, one of seven Breeders' Cup entrants for trainer Bobby Frankel, was beaten by Landseer, like Rock Of Gibraltar an Aidan O'Brien trainee, but Landseer drew the 13 hole, near the dreaded outside.

*--* SPRINT

*--*

$1 million

13 horses, 6 furlongs on dirt

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