Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$3 Million Classic Is `It' for Racing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$3 Million Classic Is `It' for Racing

Article excerpt

So, this is the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"This is it," Ed Nahem, co-owner of favored Bertrando, said.

By that he meant: "This is it."

Today, Bertrando and his Bobby Frankel-trained stablemates, Marquetry and Missionary Ridge, will be among 14 going after the $1,560,000 first prize in the $3 million Classic over 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita Park.

The Classic is the climax to thoroughbred racing's biggest day, a seven-race, $10 million card that this year has attracted 82 of the world's best horses. E

"The Classic epitomizes all of your dreams," Nahem said. "Nothing could be higher."

Frankel's entry was a 2-1 early choice in betting, with Woodward Stakes winner Bertrando being the strongest part of the entry. Also in the field are Hollywood Gold Cup winner Best Pal, Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Miner's Mark.

"This is truly a wide open race," Miner's Mark's trainer, Shug McGaughey, said.

As two of the seven 3-year-olds in the race, Miner's Mark and Colonial Affair will carry 122 pounds each. Bertrando, Best Pal and the other older horses will carry 126.

Bertrando and Marquetry represent the speed in the field, and Frankel is not likely to allow two-thirds of his entry to burn themselves out in a speed duel.

"My feeling is just let Bertrando go and bury them leaving the gate," Frankel said. "Just let him go. If the opening half is in 46 or 48 (seconds), he's still going to finish the same way. Take advantage of his speed."

Bertrando will be ridden by Gary Stevens. Corey Black has the ride on Best Pal. Colonial Affair, ridden by the injured Julie Krone at Belmont, will be handled by Jose Santos and Chris McCarron will be aboard Miner's Mark.

As the first foal of Personal Ensign, who retired undefeated after winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1988, Miner's Mark is special to owner Ogden Phipps and to McGaughey.

"Personal Ensign gave me my first Breeders' Cup win," McGaughey said.

McGaughey might have the strongest hand of any trainer at the Breeders' Cup. He also has favored Lure in the $1 million Mile on turf; Dispute, among the favorites in the 1 1/8-mile, $1 million Distaff; and the favorite in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies over 1 1/16 miles, Heavenly Prize. …

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