A pair of stars, unbeaten Eclipse Award winner Zenyatta and Kentucky Derby champion Mine That Bird, will have the thoroughbred world moving with comet-like speed today.
They head entries in 10 Breeders' Cup qualifiers across the country. Oak Tree at Santa Anita (Arcadia, Calif.) and Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.) have four qualifiers apiece; the others are at Belmont Park (Elmont, N.Y.). The Breeders' Cup is Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita.
Zenyatta has plenty at stake. A victory in the Lady's Secret (Race 8, 7 p.m.) at Santa Anita would be her 13th, matching the record of female runner Personal Ensign, who retired in 1988 as the first undefeated American champion in more than 80 years. "That's something we never imagined when we started racing," trainer John Shirreffs said. "Now we're on the brink of it."
Mine The Bird faces older horses for the first time in the Goodwood (Race 7, 6:30), also at Santa Anita. He hasn't raced since finishing third in the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1 at Mountaineer in Chester. "(Layoff) is a huge concern," trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. said. "But (he) is doing good." The Yellow Ribbon and Oak Tree Mile also are on the card.
At Keeneland, trainer Jonathan Sheppard has Eclipse Award winner Forever Together in the First Lady and Informed Decision in the Thoroughbred Club of America. Those races are joined by the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity and Shadwell Turf Mile. At Belmont Park, 2-year-olds are featured in the Champagne and Frizette.
more thoroughbreds: Rachel Alexandra, the 3-year-old filly who is 8-0, including historic wins against the boys in the Preakness Stakes, the Haskell Invitational and the Woodward Stakes against older males, will spend the rest of 2009 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., then resume training for a 4-year-old campaign. … Negligee beat heavily favored She Be Wild by a half-length in the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland on Friday to qualify for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Fatal Bullet also qualified for the Breeders' Cup with a win over Capt. Candyman Can in the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes.
GREYHOUNDS: Its top dog stumbled and the kennel has stumbled. Both stood tall on Oct. 3, when Hallo Gold Acre won the $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes for Filipelli & O'Donnell Kennel at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.
Hallo Gold Acre's third career stakes brought gratification to kennel co-owner and trainer John Filipelli, whose operation has dropped into the lower tier of the track standings. Last year, it shared the title with McAllister Kennels. When a flulike illness ran through the kennel and top dogs such as Tmc's Trail Boss left for higher paying tracks, Filipelli began to rebuild. Hallo Gold Acre's win was a boost. Involved in a first-qualifier spill, Hallo Gold Acre showed his mettle — climbing to second in points before winning for owners James "Barney" and Pauline O'Donnell. "(After the fall), I just wanted to make sure he was all right," Filipelli said. "He's a phenomenal animal."
Hallo Gold Acre, 2008 All-America team captain, is expected to leave soon for the Nov. 1 start of the Mardi Gras meet at Hallandale Beach.
Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.