Breeders' Cup Becomes Bettor-Friendly
by Greg Melikov - 10/26/2009
The Breeders Cup is becoming more bettor-friendly. There will be a Pick 6 on both afternoons of the 26th renewal at Santa Anita Park.
To make this possible, the $500,000 Marathon was shifted to Friday, Nov. 6, to lead off five consecutive contests for females while the Pick 6 ends with the $2 million Ladies' Classic.
The Pick 6 on Saturday, Nov. 7, starts with the third of eight BC races, the $1 million Dirt Mile, and ends with the $5 million Classic.
"We believe that the schedule of six championships races on Friday and eight on Saturday will provide better balance to the program and greater betting opportunities for the fans," said Kenneth Kirchner, president of FalKirk International and BC wagering consultant.
Earlier in the year, two fan friendly decisions were made:
The hard-to-read purple saddlecloths were pulled in favor of the more sensible variety of colors used at North American tracks. Naturally, the purple saddlecloth with the traditional No. 10 remains.
Tickets for the second consecutive World Thoroughbred Championships at San Anita during the Oak Tree meeting were made available online for the first time.
The switches were made, BC officials pointed out, after consulting with a fan advisory council and bettors across the U.S. and Canada.
Two possible firsts involving female runners may come to pass.
"I'm going to run Lethal Heat in the Ladies' Classic on Friday and down the hill on Saturday," Barry Abrams told BloodHorse.com. "They do it in other countries."
But no horse has attempted two races since the BC expanded to two days in 2006. Lethal Heat did race twice within seven days in early October, finishing second both times in routes at Santa Anita.
On Oct. 3, she ran against the boys in the $200,000 California Cup Classic, beaten 1-½ lengths by Bold Chieftain at 1 1/8 miles. On Oct. 10, she was 1-¼ lengths behind undefeated Zenyatta in the $300,000 Lady's Secret at 1 1/16 miles.
The four-year-old California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, has a record of 6-2-5 in 16 starts, but hasn't won on the grass in four outings since July in 2008. She was third against the girls back in January at Santa Anita at the same distance as the $1 million Turf Sprint, about 6 ½ furlongs, against males on Nov. 7.
Abrams is counting on Zenyatta going in the Classic against the boys on that Saturday, giving Lethal Heat a better chance of winning the Ladies Classic 24 hours earlier.
But the Zenyatta camp is keeping every one guessing about whether the 5-year-old will defend her Ladies Classic title or opt for the Classic on Nov. 7. The daughter of Street Cry would make history if she triumphed in the big one. She'd become the first to take two different BC races.
Asked if Zenyatta could compete with males in the richest BC race after taking the Lady's Secret, trainer John Shirreffs said, "I don't think there's any indication that she couldn't. But there's absolutely no reason to rush into that decision now."
The decision will be made by Shirreffs along with Jerry and Ann Moss, who own Zenyatta, and Shirreffs' wife, Dottie, racing manager for the Mosses. She likely will be pre-entered in both contests. Final entries are due on Nov. 3.
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