Canterbury Connections: 2012 Breeders’ Cup

Not often does Canterbury’s Daily Racing Form Abbreviation CBY show up in a horse’s past performances at the Breeders’ Cup, but the 2012 edition includes the Mystic Lake Derby runner-up and a Minnesota-owned horse who already has a second place finish to his credit in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup. Here’s a little more about Delegation and Hamazing Destiny and how they got to Santa Anita for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup.

Delegation, on the left edge of the photo with the jockey in pink silks, finished second in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury. How does that work? Why isn’t Hammers’ Terror in the dirt mile then? Because the far more experienced Hammers’ Terror caught Delegation in lifetime start number three.

This handicapper took Delegation that day, but the best obviously was yet to come for the Mark Casse-trained colt.  Since leaving Minnesota, he’s picked up two wins and a third in Canada.  That show finish came against grade two company, and one of the victories came in the grade three Durham Cup came at a mile and one eighth.

The Positive: He’s improving. Delegation is one of three three-year-olds in the field, with the other two (Fed Biz & Second City) coming off defeat in the Indiana Derby. He enters the Mile off his lifetime best speed figure in his first graded stakes win. His pedigree leans a bit more towards speed, being by BC Sprint winner Speightstown out of Del Mar Debutante winner Cindy’s Hero. However, there is plenty of dirt influence from both sides and he’s already handled the distance and beyond. Canterbury Park has only produced one recent Breeders’ Cup winner – Furthest Land in the Dirt Mile.

The Negative: While Delegation is clearly on the improve, those last two wins also came in wire-to-wire fashion on polytrack. The fractions he set in wiring those fields were crawling at best, which simply won’t happen with the field he’s drawn in against. Fed Biz, Shackleford, Emcee, Tapizar and Second City (all drawn to his outside) have early speed and will surely push if not crush Delegation should he decide to take the lead. Three of Delegations four wins have come in six horse fields and none of his competition dared show up in California.

The final verdict: Gary & Cecil Barber run a lot of horses in Southern California, and this may be them wanting a participation ribbon more than a medal.  They’ve never seen their gelding outside of a TV screen on the racetrack, and perhaps Breeders’ Cup was their only chance to pluck this Canadian away from home.

Hamazing Destiny does not have as much to prove for local owners Barry & Joni Butzow. His second in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint sent him down a rather difficult path of graded stakes. While he’s held his own against some of the best sprinters in the country, he’s only managed one win since that time in the grade three Maryland Sprint Handicap. Wayne Lukas is the king of the Breeders’ Cup, garnering the most wins of all time (many of them in the 1980s & 1990s.) He trains the six-year-old for the Butzows and brings him in as a fresh horse off a runner-up finish in the Forego. He’s been working over his favorite track Churchill Downs and just fired two half-mile bullets in preparation for the Sprint.

The Positive: His tactical speed is a huge asset over Santa Anita’s track. Winning Sprints from off the pace just doesn’t happen all that often, so Joel Rosario will need to keep him close. Rosario knows this track better than most, and should be able to get ‘Destiny in good position from his outside post.  He runs very well fresh, and thus has been rested since September. The Salt Lake horse has back class and the cutback from seven furlongs to six should help. Four out of his five lifetime wins are at ¾ of a mile.

The Negative: He is one for his last fourteen. He’s never touched the California main track, and has not traveled this far west for a race in his life. Lukas’ wins in the Breeders’ Cup are further and further in the rear view mirror, with only three since the year 2000.  This competition has seen him before and beaten him most of the time.

The final verdict: I will use him underneath in some exotic plays, but keying him on top of anything or singling him is out of the question for me.  He deserves a shot in here off the Forego, but with so many questions marks surrounding him and his trainer I’ll have to pass on him as a top pick.

I’ll be watching closely but wagering against these two. What do you think of our local connections?

If all else fails in your 2012 Breeders’ Cup Handicapping, here’s a look at how to find a hunch play!

Good luck to all this Friday & Saturday! Enjoy Breeders’ Cup 2012 at Canterbury Park!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann just completed her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.

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