$600,000 Grade 1 Turf Invitational Draws Top Breeders' Cup Hopefuls
Category : News
Thu 25/09/2014 - 21:11 EDT
The Grade 1 $600,000 Turf Classic Invitational September 27 at Belmont may very well be the most competitive race on a card that features five grade 1 races and a grade 2.
Although only seven runners are signed on to contest the mile and a half race on the turf, handicappers might conclude that if the Breeders’ Cup Turf is to be won by an American runner this year, it will be a horse prepping in the Turf Classic Invitational. The conversation starts with the Graham Motion-trained Main Sequence (2/1)) who has captured back to back grade 1 victories since coming to the United States from England after nearly a nine month break from racing. The five year-old gelded son of Aldebaran won the United Nations at Monmouth by a neck and the Sword Dancer at Saratoga by a head overcoming slow starts in both races to beat two of his main rivals in the Turf Classic.
Big Blue Kitten looks primed
Big Blue Kitten (5/2) looks to be the main danger in the Turf Classic despite running second as the odds-on chalk in his last race – the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at Monmouth. Still Big Blue Kitten earned an excellent 103 Beyer Speed Figure in that race and looks primed for trainer Chad Brown. Big Blue Kitten was beaten just a nose by Little Mike in the 2013 Turf Classic and has shown an affinity for the Belmont grass winning two of three career starts.
Twilight and Imagining get another crack
Twilight Eclipse (4/1) and Imagining (3/1) will once again find themselves close to the early pace as they try to turn the tables on Main Sequence. Twilight Eclipse has lost his last two starts to Main Sequence by a combined margin of less than one length.
The Grade 2 $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby features the two biggest names from the Triple Crown trail September 24 at Parx as a field of 12 gathers in one of the most intriguing betting races of the year.
The $1 million Cotillion Stakes September 24 at Parx features a true clash of the titans as the six-horse field is headlined by the undefeated, five-time grade 1 winner Songbird who figures to face the most stern challenge of her career.
In a completely wide open renewal of the Presque Isle Mile September 18 at Presque Isle Downs, 13 runners including the also-eligible will contest the eight furlong trip over synthetic footing.
Champion Songbird is set to make her much-anticipated return to the races in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Grade 2 event will be run at a mile and a sixteenth and has attracted a field of seven.