This is no typo: Wayne Lukas, who has started 136 Breeders' Cup horses, three times more than the next guy, and has won 16 of the races, more than any two other trainers, is represented only in this race this time. Lukas has two runners, the 5-2 favorite Orientate and the longshot Day Trader. Orientate is cut from the same cloth as Gulch, Lukas' Sprint winner in 1989. In one of his best training jobs, Lukas made a sprinter out of Gulch, who had routed for his previous trainer, LeRoy Jolley. Orientate won the Indiana Derby, at 1 1/16 miles, late last year, and although he beat only one horse three weeks later in the Breeders' Cup Classic, it took a while before he was shortened up. On dirt going short since June, he has reeled off four impressive wins, the last two with jockey Jerry Bailey, who has 12 Breeders' Cup wins, the same as Pat Day. Two of Orientate's rivals, the brilliant filly Xtra Heat and the longshot Disturbingthepeace, are to be sold at auction in Kentucky on Nov. 3. Xtra Heat's owners, who buy horses to run, not breed, paid only $5,000 for the filly, who has won 24 of 31 races and earned $2.2 million. Xtra Heat, second to Squirtle Squirt in last year's Sprint, will be consigned with a reported reserve -- minimum bid -- of $2.4 million. Disturbingthepeace, winner of both of Del Mar's sprint stakes, which extended his streak to six wins, will be part of owner David Milch's dispersal. Since winning the 2000 Sprint in a record 1:07 3/5 at Churchill Downs, Kona Gold has four wins in eight starts. But he has won only one of his last five and, as an 8-year-old, will be hard-pressed to become the sixth horse with multiple Breeders' Cup wins.
*--* FILLY & MARE TURF
12 horses, 1 1/4 miles on turf
The only race to be added to the Breeders' Cup menu since the inaugural in 1984, this stake has a formful limited history. Short-priced horses have done well. Banks Hill, last year's winner, is not favored this time, however, having been beaten by Golden Apples and Voodoo Dancer in the Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita three weeks ago. Golden Apples, who won the Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 17, is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line. Voodoo Dancer was scratched. Banks Hill, ridden by Corey Nakatani in California, gets the estimable Bailey for the first time Saturday. With Soaring Softly and Perfect Sting, Bailey won the first two runnings of this stake. Kazzia, the German-bred filly who races for Sheik Mohammed of Dubai, won the Flower Bowl at Belmont Park in her U.S. debut, and while a short price her training has been compromised by a foot abscess. Michael Stoute, who has come from England to twice saddle the winners of the Breeders' Cup Turf, is running Islington here. The Irish-bred filly, whose record is perfect in two starts at this distance, was a close-up fifth against males in the Arc de Triomphe this month.
14 horses, 1 1/8 miles on dirt
Sky Mesa, the 3-1 favorite, will be challenged by trainer Bob Baffert's trio -- Vindication, Kafwain, Bull Market -- and Toccet, winner of the Champagne, and Whywhywhy, first in the Belmont Futurity. Aidan O'Brien, winner of last year's Juvenile with Johannesburg, who successfully made the switch from grass to dirt, is back Saturday in numbers, with Hold That Tiger, Tomahawk and Van Nistelrooy. The latter is named after one of Manchester United's best Premier League soccer players, who's injured and might not play in England Saturday.
8 horses, 1 1/2 miles on grass
The scratch of Blazing Fury (tendon injury) has reduced the Turf to its smallest field. High Chaparral comes by his 8-5 favoritism quite legitimately. He was third in the 'Arc de Triomphe, beaten by 1 1/4 lengths, and O'Brien confessed that he didn't have his colt sharp enough for 1 1/2 miles that day. Before the 'Arc, High Chaparral won the English and Irish Derbies, part of a six-race winning streak. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard is in here with his gray 7-year-old gelding, With Anticipation, who has assembled a consistent record since running seventh in last year's Turf, but Sheppard feels he might be running for runner-up money. "The last two years," he said, "I think the European horses have been a cut above the ones the U.S. has been running." Golan, the Michael Stoute-trained colt who has been running this marathon distance since his third career start, has won only one of his most recent four tries, but the victory deserved bold letters, under 133 pounds at Ascot. His 126-pound impost Saturday will feel like balsa. Ballingarry, under new ownership and saddled by Laura de Seroux for the first time, won the Canadian International in his finale for trainer Aidan O'Brien. There will be soft ground Saturday, the kind of course that agreed with Denon in the Turf Classic at Belmont.
12 horses, 1 1/4 miles on dirt