By Michael Patricks
Breeders’ Cup tables at the Jockey Club are now on sale with four-seaters running $50 cash and carry. A limited group of special seats are available in the Turf Club for $15. The purchase of a Breeders’ Cup table provides your group a tremendous view of all the Breeders’ Cup races for both Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd and features table service. Call the Sonoma County Jockey Club at 707-524-6340 for all the details.
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Took an absolute beating last weekend with a dreadful selection in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity as Dream Maker was beaten a country mile as the 5/2 favorite and could not have been more listless or uninspiring if he tried (which he didn’t in this race). The chart says Dream Maker was bumped at the start and clipped heels, but regardless of any trouble he may have incurred, that performance was as bad as it gets. One-million-to-one shot Knicks Go went wire-to-wire and paid a stirring $142.00 on a $2 ticket. Not sure who had that horse, in fact, you could hear a pin drop when they hit the wire here at the simulcast parlor.
Keeneland and Woodbine offer deep fields and quality racing this weekend. I’ll take a look at a race that should offer plenty of ways to go in the value department and that’s Saturday’s Canadian International from Woodbine.
The Pattison Canadian International (Grade I)
1 & 1/2 Miles on Turf
3 Y/O & Upward
# 4 Funtastic 8/1 ML should be sent along for Chad Brown and guarantee a solid tempo in this twelve furlong event for stayers. Funtastic is part of an uncoupled entry with # 11 Focus Group who sits at 10/1 on the line. Focus Group retains the services of Jose Ortiz while taking a big step up in class from a disadvantageous outside draw. Focus Group did prevail when he shipped from New York last spring, taking down a Keeneland open allowance. Funtastic should see pace pressure from local hope # 5 Tiz a Slam 20/1 ML, trained by the legendary Roger Attfield.
Some handicappers are high on # 6 Spring Quality 4/1 ML bouncing back into form and have endorsed him off the quick two-week turnaround. I feel like you can expect him to run better as well but I’m not entirely sure I can trust him having selected him in this very article two weeks ago only to watch him virtually be distanced. He’s a factor on paper, but I’m not quite ready to forgive him entirely based on that effort as I watch him unpack his stuff and move back in while owing me back rent.
# 2 Thundering Blue is the 2/1 chalk making his North American debut. He comes in off a clear cut score in the Group 3 Stockholm Cup from Bro Park, 40 kilometers northeast of Stockholm City, in Sweden. The handsome roan gelding is wheeled back in three weeks after running overseas and there could be an adjustment period getting him acclimated. I’m also not entirely certain who he was beating in his last start and as such, 2/1 is just way too short of a price to swallow.
# 9 Johnny Bear at 8/1 is another local hope who won the Grade I Northern Dancer on this course and distance in his last start, so obviously that’s a feather in his cap. However, he was 16/1 in that spot and now takes on a tougher cast on paper. You’re also asked to take half the odds on the repeat score. Johnny Bear got there in a driving finish with everything going his way. He’s yet to earn a 100+ Beyer figure and I just wonder if he’s already had his fun. He should be involved in the plot somewhere, but I will side against him taking center stage this time around.
I’m going to go for the walk-off grand slam and will tab # 7 English Illusion 15/1 ML as the top choice in the ‘International. Obviously, the chestnut is in tough and that’s reflected in his morning line appraisal. But he’s been a new horse since being claimed three races back and notably has moved from a 6 % barn to a 20 % outfit. Two back, he beat Johnny Bear by daylight and last time out ran a strong race, only beaten a length at 34/1 in a Grade 1. Local jock Rafael Hernandez who knows this course very well should get a perfect stalking trip outside Funtastic and Tiz a Slam and be able to time his ride accordingly while hopefully staying out of trouble. He’s 15/1 and I get every feeling that they will really have to run to beat him. He’s my choice in here.
# 10 Desert Encounter 6/1 ML is an intriguing candidate for a slice of pie and note that he gets Lasix for the first time. Watch the tote board for more clues on him. # 3 Khan arrives from Germany after capturing a Group 1 at 20/1 himself. Like Desert Encounter, see how the tote plays with this guy. # 1 Markitoff and # 8 Bandua are each 20/1 on the line and feel like method actors who will not be involved in the script at the end of the film. However, we saw how last week played out with Knicks Go at 70/1 so I’m not going to disparage their chances any more than I already have after being taught such a severe lesson in humility just one week prior.
7-6-11-10 in the Canadian International.