Kentucky Derby Runners on the Breeders' Cup Trail
The connections of this year’s leading Triple Crown runners will be focusing less on their own generation from a Breeders’ Cup perspective for this weekend’s racing, and more on the return of the best older horse in training.
Arrogate begins his Breeders’ Cup campaign in the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar on Saturday. It’s his first run for the 4-year-old since his exceptional last-to-first effort to win the Dubai World Cup (G1) at the end of March. The 1 1/16-mile trip is probably short of his best, and he gives away between eight and 11 pounds to his five rivals, but it’s not the strongest edition of the race and he should be difficult to beat.
Arrogate didn’t run in Triple Crown last year but announced his arrival by beating the best 3-year-olds in the Travers Stakes (G1) in August. He then beat California Chrome in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic before winning the Pegasus Invitational in January and the Dubai World Cup. If he arrives at this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic in the same form, the best 3-year-olds will have a tough task beating him.
Most of the leading 2017 Triple Crown contenders with Breeders’ Cup aspirations are staying in their barns this weekend. Many are preparing for next weekend, when the first important summer tests for 3-year-olds will be held: the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga July 29, likely to feature Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing among others; and the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park July 30, probably featuring Irish War Cry, and Battle of Midway as Classic Empire will focus on the Travers Stakes (G1).
However, two of the less-accomplished 2017 Kentucky Derby runners return to racing this weekend, both on turf.
Fast and Accurate, who finished 17th in the Derby, returns to the track at Parx Racing for the Crowd Pleaser Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds July 22. Fast and Accurate, who earned his Derby spot by winning the Spiral Stakes (G3) on Turfway Park’s synthetic surface, has run twice since the Derby, finishing fourth in the Arlington Classic Stakes (G3) on turf May 27, and ninth in the Ohio Derby (G3) June 24.
Fast and Accurate returns to turf for the Crowd Pleaser Stakes, and will probably be best suited to turf for the rest of the season.
The following day, Sonneteer attempts to win for the first time when he contests a maiden special weight contest at Del Mar over 1 1/16 miles. Among his rivals is five-year-old Cozmic One, the first foal produced by the great racemare Zenyatta, making his comeback after a two-year absence.
It will be his first race on turf for Sonneteer, who earned his place in the Kentucky Derby by finishing second in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1), both with strong staying runs. He finished 16th in the Derby, and then fourth in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race on dirt May 27.
Also representing the classic generation on Saturday is Belmont Stakes sixth-place finisher Twisted Tom, who contests the New York Derby for New York-breds at Finger Lakes.
Each of these big races featuring former Kentucky Derby runners can be watched online at TwinSpires for free.
Arrogate Photo by Coglianese Photos