Here’s a quick brief on what’s been making news in the racing world, here at Hastings and abroad:
- BC Cup day at Hastings was a success in terms of wagering handle and on track crowd. It was by far the best day for the track financially, with bettors wagering over a million dollars (typical handle runs anywhere between 350k to 600k). One highlight of the day was seeing Sunnyside Gal, a 2 year old filly, win the Debutante at 6 furlongs. Sunnyside Gal is owned by a local syndicate of about 55 people, managed by Glen Todd and his team. It all started with the intention of bringing out new race fans and owners, and to that end, it’s been a great experience for everyone involved (including this author). For anyone interested, Glen is starting another syndicate for 2011. The plan is to buy 2 BC breeds at the yearling sale in September. Cost will be $1100 per unit, with no quarterly fees. Check www.nathc.ca for more details.
- Next Sunday marks the annual running of the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Although no longer part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series, it will feature top mile specialists from the Pacific Northwest and California. Expect Noosa Beach, undefeated in 2011 and winner of the George Royal at Hastings, to put on a competitive bid to defend his title. It’s very likely that Crew Leader and St. Liam’s Halo will ship out from Hastings to run also. Awesome Gem, an 8 year old gelding and winner of the 2010 Hollywood Park Gold Cup, will probably give this race another shot as well.
- It looks like the Breeders’ Cup will be returning to Santa Anita Park in 2012. This means Santa Anita will have hosted the Breeders’ Cup 3 times in the last 5 years, come November 2012. While understandable from a weather perspective (remember Monmouth 2007?), giving the cold shoulder to Belmont Park is a poor and unwarranted decision. In addition to giving home court advantage to West Coast trainers again, the
new revised dirt surface at Santa Anita is unproven. Many turf writers and race fans have called for a rotating schedule between Kentucky, California, and New York tracks, with an option to have a fourth venue every so often. But this is racing, where sensible ideas seem to be lost on track officials with greater frequency as each year goes by.
- Speaking of the Breeders’ Cup, if you happen to be in Vegas, you can get down some action on the Breeders’ Cup already, courtesy of the future book at the Wynn / Encore. Coil, winner of the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, is the current favourite at 8-1. With 3 months to go still, I’d take a stab at Astrology (100-1) and Stay Thirsty (30-1).