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HORSE RACING : BREEDERS' CUP NOTES

Spotlight is on Sutherland

October 23, 2008|Pete Thomas and Pete Thomas Times Staff Writer | Thomas is a Times staff writer.

Chantal Sutherland is the only female jockey racing in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.

She'll ride Van Lear Rose in Friday's $2-million Juvenile Fillies, and Mine That Bird in Saturday's $2-million Juvenile.

Win or lose, she'll emerge from her first Breeders' Cup experience a star.

That's because she's one of six jockeys filming for a reality show that will air on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel beginning in February.

"I'm not allowed to tell you the name of it because I did that once and got in trouble," she said after morning workouts Wednesday.

Camera crews have been shadowing Sutherland and the other jockeys, including Sutherland's live-in boyfriend, Mike Smith.

Cameras were rolling at the couple's Sierra Madre house recently when all six jockeys started drinking a new California syrah produced by Smith and Alex Solis.

"We ended up having a push-up contest together," Sutherland said. "Because you get a bunch of jockeys together and give them some wine, crazy things happen."

Sutherland, 32, whose career highlights include five victories in one day at Woodbine in Canada, and three victories in a row aboard a filly named Sugar Bay, may not end up in the winners' circle in the Breeders' Cup.

Both of her mounts are listed at 30-1. Van Lear Rose is from Kingsview Farms and is trained by Catherine Day Phillips. Mine That Bird is from Double Eagle Farm and trained by Richard Mandella.

Sutherland likes the way both horses are responding and says her best chance is aboard Mine That Bird, because there's no dominant horse in the Juvenile.

His most recent victory was in the Grade III Grey Stakes at Woodbine.

Said Sutherland: "I wish I could say I will win, but I know that both horses are going to run really well. And with a little luck and a push from the man upstairs, you never know."

Krone is alone

Worth noting: Julie Krone is the only female jockey to have won a Breeders' Cup race. She prevailed aboard Halfbridled in the Juvenile Fillies in 2003 at Santa Anita.

Curlin or Zenyatta

If Curlin wins Saturday's $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic, he'll be voted horse of the year for the second consecutive year. If he doesn't win and Zenyatta remains unbeaten with a victory in Friday's $2-million Ladies' Classic, Zenyatta could be voted horse of the year.

Said Zenyatta trainer John Shirreffs, when asked about the possibility: "That's something I really don't want to talk about."

Perfect workout

Casino Drive, an unbeaten 3-year-old from Japan, breezed an easy five furlongs (in 1:10) on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on Wednesday, and afterward Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto, labeled the workout "perfect."

Casino Drive, one of four Classic horses listed at 10-1, is one of three foreign participants in the race. The others are Duke of Marmalade (Ireland) and Champ Elysees (Britain).

Said Curlin and Student Council trainer Steve Asmussen, of a lineup that has lured top horses fond of a synthetic surface: "The only thing we've got to concern ourselves with is what we do have control over, and that is the preparation of Curlin and Student Council to let them run their best on Saturday."

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pete.thomas@latimes.com

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