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Promises Something For Everyone

The big 3-year-old races this weekend (the Super Derby and the Brooklyn, in case you have not been paying attention) almost seem like episodes of The Love Boat or Fantasy Island — some mid-level, otherwise not newsworthy regular cast members, and a very special guest star for each one. Playing the roles that might be taken on by Adrienne Barbeau or Charo in this year’s installments are Grasshopper in the Super Derby and Any Given Saturday in the Brooklyn.

Why are these talented horses taking on such overmatched fields? Just ask Todd Pletcher:

“Obviously, the Jockey Club Gold Cup is a bigger purse and a Grade 1, but we’re trying to avoid that really hard race between now and the Breeders Cup,” Pletcher said. “Not to say that this is an easy race necessarily, but on paper it’s easier.”

Indeed. The Super Derby certainly looks like a walkover for Grasshopper, but Any Given Saturday (left) will have Sightseeing to contend with in the Brooklyn. They should at least make the race interesting to watch (if you are lucky enough to go in person or have TVG).

You are probably aware that Hard Spun is following a similar path to the Breeders’ Cup:

It didn’t matter to them that because Hard Spun is a Pennsylvania bred he’s eligible to receive only $200,000 from the potential $350,000 winner’s share. Or that the race is run over the same Polytrack surface Hard Spun used preparing for a game runner-up finish to Street Sense in last spring’s Kentucky Derby. Or that he could face Street Sense again in the Kentucky Cup.

Nope. Porter said getting to the Breeders’ Cup Classic was the object — not money or graded stakes status.

Porter wouldn’t totally rule out Hard Spun taking a shot in the new $1 million B.C. Mile on Oct. 26. But he realizes to be the best, you must beat the best. “Larry and I would love to prove we have the best horse. Only way that can happen is to win the Classic,” he said.

Hey, who needs graded stakes victories anyway?

Down Under, even though a ‘purple zone’ has been created in New South Wales that would allow the breeding season to get back on track, equine influenza continues to throw curveballs — Redoute’s Choice has come down with the illness, as have a number of other top Australian stallions. Coolmore has taken all their Danehills and fled back to Ireland, so they will not be making use of the relaxed restrictions either. While the plan is that Redoute’s Choice and his stablemates will be back in action in the near future, EI can (temporarily) affect fertility, so it will be interesting to see who wants to take a chance on them — and it seems each stallion in said zone will be covering nearly 200 mares. Busy boys.

Oh, and if you’ve been following our current TBA smackdown you might want to note that British bookmakers have sided with PatrickAny Given Saturday is currently the second choice (behind Lawyer Ron) to win the Classic.

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