By Vance Hanson, TwinSpires.com
After last year we analyzed the vulnerability of five of racing’s marquee stars heading into the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, it was difficult to imagine all would fulfill defeat, but that’s what occurred as favorites wound up carrying it on the chin during the weekend.
Far from it being our goal of employing some kind of jinx, we’ll perform the exercise for next weekend’s fixture in Del Mar by standing from prone to less likely the chances of the most noteworthy of Thoroughbreds of never making it into the winner’s circle.
Six months into the year it was widely believed he would be an odds-on favorite in this race. Two summertime declines at Del Mar afterwards, it is more likely than not that North America’s all-time top money winner probably won’t even be the post-time favorite.
While trainer Bob Baffert has blamed mostly himself for Arrogate’s form reversals in the San Diego H. (G2) and Pacific Classic (G1), the sneaking suspicion is that this might not be the exact same colt as we saw 9-12 months before, the sort we would probably have to see again so as to beat a field of this depth and quality.
Gun Runner (Classic)
Has usurped Arrogate, that beat him soundly in prior meetings, in popular polls of recent months after a series of amazing efforts in the Stephen Foster H. (G1), Whitney (G1), and Woodward (G1).
While deserving of favoritism in the weekend’s most important attraction, he faces a far sterner task here and has yet to triumph over 1??1/4 kilometers in 3 attempts.
Lady Eli (Filly & Mare Turf)
Slightly farther down the list this past year, the beloved mare was run down by Queen’s Trust by a nose, a major upset in retrospect given how that re-opposing rival has subsequently failed to flatter her own kind.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eli enters this re-match with an extra two starts under her belt compared to last season, and more adorable. A distance decrease from 10 furlongs to nine is just another element in her favor.
Bolt d’Oro (Juvenile)
The strength of his success in last month’s FrontRunner (G1) characters to make him one of the most powerful favorites in this race for a while. Simultaneous regression by him and organic progress by another is certainly a possibility, but it is completely understandable while he will be a single on many bettors’ multi-race exotics plans.
Lady Aurelia (Turf Sprint)
Despite a last-out setback by a nose at the Nunthorpe (G1), her tour de force from the King’s Stand (G1) against older men at Royal Ascot is still one of the unforgettable performances of the season anywhere in the world.
Unless hindered by a highly unfavorable article, the three-year-old filly appears set to place her art on full display above a trip she absolutely adores.