Week of October 24, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

It was another quiet racing weekend as preparations for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup ramp up.

All of the graded stakes action was at Keeneland last week. German-bred Sanagas set a track record in the Sycamore, which was taken off the turf. In the Valley View Stakes Daisy Devine validated her prior good form by pulling a major upset in her first race on the turf. Several of the HRF Crew (myself included!) picked her for the Kentucky Oaks so it was nice to see her put it together. No word on what’s next for either winner.

Saturday’s feature at Keeneland, Raven’s Run Stakes, came down to a female jockey exacta in an exciting photo finish with the nod going to Great Hot and Chantal Sutherland over Groupie Doll and Greta Kuntzweiler. Keeneland officials believed that it was the first time female jockeys had run first and second in the track’s history. Great Hot is not nominated the Breeders’ Cup but the connections are considering paying the high fee to enter is a consideration.

Elsewhere, 2010 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Haynesfield made his way back to the winner’s circle in the state-bred Empire Classic at Belmont Park. It’s the time of year for state-bred showcases with New York and Illinois last weekend and California, New Mexico and Oklahoma next weekend. On the international scene, Japan is celebrating its seventh Triple Crown winner and Black Caviar brought her undefeated record to 15 in Australia. And Rapid Redux will try to tie the current North American winning streak record this Thursday in the sixth race at Laurel Park.

There were a few surprise retirements this week. Flashpoint, who won the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes, was retired with an injury. Given the time he would have needed to recover his connections opted to for retirement instead of bringing him back next year. Twirling Candy, who was pointing towards the Dirt Mile was also retired with an injury.

Over the next two weeks there will be plenty of news of horses working the Breeders’ Cup. On Friday we posted updates from the week, including who’s in, who’s out and who worked. Workers this weekend included Aikenite, Big Drama, Caleb’s Posse, Distorted Legacy, Drosselmeyer, Flat Out, Royal Delta, Shackleford, Stay Thirsty, To Honor and Serve and Uncle Mo to name a few.

The real fun begins later today when the Daily Racing Form starts it’s annual Breeders’ Cup clocker reports. You can also keep up with the Grade One Racing clockers on Twitter, who seem to be using the #WorkPatrol hashtag. The west coast workers are being followed by @MorningWorks. You can also follow along with Breeders’ Cup related tweets using the #BC11 hashtag. @DerbyMedia, the official account of the Churchill Downs Media Deptarment, is also a good place to keep tabs on leading up the the Breeders’ Cup.

If you’re wondering what you can do to get to get a jump start on your 2011 Breeders’ Cup handicapping, we have a few suggestions. If you’re a beginner, start with our How to Watch Race post. Then move on to our post on Watching Replays. You can get a quite a bit of homework done in advance by watching replays of the contenders previous races. You can find the replays of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at the Breeders’ Cup YouTube page. You can also prepare for the onslaught on workout information by reading our Primer on Workouts. And finally, to help you prepare for the Turf and Mile, we’ve done a little data mining in our Breeders’ Cup Turf Trends piece.

Keep with all the Breeders’ Cup commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

2011 Sycamore Stakes Replay
Sanagas bides his time and makes his move.

2011 Valley View Stakes Replay
Daisy Devine likes the turf!

2011 Raven’s Run Stakes Replay
Great Hot gets the nod in the first female jockey exacta at Keeneland.

Caleb’s Posse Workout
The King’s Bishop winner went six furlongs in 1:13 1/5.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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