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BREEDERS' CUP NOTES

Outside Might Be Most Wanted Spot

October 23, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

While trainer Richard Mandella might be fretting because his Halfbridled drew the outside post in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Wally Dollase isn't complaining about Ten Most Wanted breaking from No. 10 in the 10-horse Classic.

"Being on the outside might help," said Dollase, who trains Ten Most Wanted, one of four 3-year-olds trying to beat older horses in the $4-million race. "Sometimes my colt gets anxious in the gate. This way, he'll be the last [horse] to load, and maybe he won't have any problems."

In 19 previous runnings, only Unbridled has won the Classic from the outside post. The Kentucky Derby winner had the toughest chore of all at Belmont Park in 1990, breaking from the 14th post in a race that, because of the track configuration, started from an acute angle on the first turn. Saturday's Classic at Santa Anita, where the dirt course is a mile in circumference, starts from a chute that leads into the stretch. The horses will run more than 1,000 feet on a straightaway before they hit the clubhouse turn.

Dollase trains his horses at Hollywood Park, but it's not as if Ten Most Wanted isn't accustomed to Santa Anita. He broke his maiden there in January and ran fourth in the Sham Stakes in February.

"Besides, he was there all summer," Dollase said. "We didn't send our horses to Del Mar, and kept them at Santa Anita instead."

Dollase expects Congaree, who'll break just inside of Ten Most Wanted, to set the pace.

"We hope to be three or four lengths off Congaree early," the trainer said. "If that happens, I think we'll be in the garden spot."

Ten Most Wanted's sire is Deputy Commander, who was also trained by Dollase. Ten Most Wanted copied Deputy Commander by winning the Travers. He aped him again when he won the Super Derby in his last start. But Dollase hopes the pattern changes Saturday. Deputy Commander finished second to Skip Away in the 1997 Classic, at Hollywood Park.

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Talking about Halfbridled's outside post in the 14-horse Juvenile Fillies, Mandella said: "I guess they want to see how good she really is. It's sure not one of the posts I would have picked. I never realized how far out it looked until I got it. I think good [racing] luck is more important than post position."

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Because the 1 1/2-mile Turf starts with a six-furlong downhill run, trainer Luca Cumani feels that it might be easier for Falbrav to negotiate the distance. The Irish-bred 5-year-old has won only one of five starts at 1 1/2 miles, while winning 11 of 19 at other distances.

"I'd like to think [the downhill start] will make this an easier 1 1/2 miles," said Cumani, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile with Barathea in 1994.

Falbrav will not try to win the Japan Cup for the second consecutive year. His last race before the start of a stud career will be either Saturday's or the Hong Kong Invitational in December.

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