Stay at Home Champs & a Quickie Preview
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
As the weekend gears up there are a few items of note from earlier in the week. Most notably it was announced that Blind Luck will not face Havre de Grace in the Oct 1 Beldame at Belmont Park, but will stay at home for the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret at Santa Anita. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said:
This way we donâ€™t have to send her on a plane cross country and go back again. We want a prep race for the (Breedersâ€™ Cup) Ladies’ Classic, and this makes the most sense.
As HRF Contributing Editor Jessica Chapel noted, farewell to any hopes of Horse of the Year for Blind Luck if she’s not going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. On the bright side, in a snippet starting at 4:00 in this (awesome!) video, Hollendorfer expresses an interest in bringing her back next year. In fact, he says he’s “counting on it”:
Northern Dancer winner Wigmore Hall (replay) will also stay home for his next race, the Champion Stakes run on the newly minted Champions Day at Ascot on Oct 15. Champions Day is the climax of a the Champions Series, launched earlier this year. 3-year-old phenom Frankel is pointed to the QE II on Champions Day as well as the Queen’s own horse, Carlton House, who is also pointing toward the Champion Stakes.
Yesterday, eyewitness accounts came out of Santa Anita that 3-year-old Banned suffered an injury during a workout. It was confirmed later that the colt had fractured his right front ankle and was fighting for his life. No other updates are currently available but the most likely source of the latest information seems to be @craigb1818, the personal Twitter account of Glen Hill Farm, owner of Banned. Best of luck to Banned for a speedy recovery.
Looking ahead to this weekend, fields are set for the PA Derby (Ten Things), Kent Stakes (Ten Things) and Kentucky Cup, Day of Champions races. The Kentucky Cup races took a brief hiatus last year due to financial difficulties but gained sponsorship this year, allowing all five races to make a return. The Kentucky Champion Series (preview and fields) is run at Turfway Park over the all-weather surface, so be sure to check out our post on All Weather Sires!