Sports

Class Included leaning toward Breeders' Cup's Ladies Classic

Class Included scores an easy victory in the Boeing Handicap on July 8. - Courtesy photo/Reed Palmer, Emerald Downs
Class Included scores an easy victory in the Boeing Handicap on July 8.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Reed Palmer, Emerald Downs

As expected, Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting Class Included has been nominated to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, to be run Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.

Owner Mike Feuerborn said Wednesday that he might swing for the fences and run his sensational 4-year-old filly in the Ladies Classic.

"I was 50-50 yesterday, and I'm still processing it everyday, but I'm leaning slightly toward the (Ladies) Classic. I'm thinking about it morning, noon and night."

Factors, according to Feuerborn, are that only nine horses are pre-nominated to the Ladies Classic while 14 runners are nominated to the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Also, Class Included has a better record at 1 1/8 miles than at seven furlongs, and the Ladies Classic offers twice the purse as the Filly & Mare Sprint. A fifth-place finish in the Ladies Classic would be worth $60,000 while a fifth in the Filly & Mare Sprint would earn $30,000, just enough to earn back the nomination and starting fees.

Naturally, Feuerborn would like to do better than that, and considering Class Included has never finished worse than second in 16 career starts, why not dream a little?

"A top-three finish would be a win," Feuerborn said.

Not to mention a big payday: third in the Ladies Classic pays $200,000 and third in the Filly & Mare Sprint $100,000.

Feuerborn is among the shrewdest horsemen in Emerald Downs' 17-year history, ranking second all-time with 22 stakes wins while compiling a superior 26.0 win percentage (79-for-303). In other words, he won't mismatch his horses, and while the Ladies Classic is formidable – i.e. undefeated Awesome Feather, undefeated My Miss Aurelia and defending champion Royal Delta – Feuerborn doesn't make many mistakes.

The Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic is the ninth and final race on Nov. 2, with post time 4:30 p.m. (Pacific). The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint goes as race five Saturday, Nov. 3, with post time 12:35 p.m. Entries will be drawn Monday.

Baze has mount in Breeders' Cup

Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze – who has won two hundred-granders aboard Class Included – will ride the filly in the Breeders' Cup regardless of the race, Feuerborn said. Most recently, Baze guided Class Included to a 1½-length victory in the Ballerina (Grade 3, Canada) at Hastings Racecourse.

Baze worked Class Included five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 Monday at Santa Anita for trainers Jim Penney and Kay Cooper, and while it wasn't a brilliant drill, Class Included is plenty fit and doesn't need too much preparation to have her on edge for the Breeders' Cup. She also will be fitted with new shoes before her work next week.

Chu and I, Emerald Downs' Top Juvenile Male of 2011, and Include the Baby, a three-time winner at Emerald Downs in 2012, also worked Monday at Santa Anita for the Feuerborn/Penney combination. Both are expected to race Breeders' Cup week at Santa Anita.

Other local Breeders' Cup connections

Frank Gaunt has had some top horses at Emerald Downs over the last decade, Random Memo and Charming Colleen both were stakes winners here. But the Eatonville resident will have his first Breeders' Cup entrant when Stormy Lucy runs in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 3:48 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2.

A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Stormy Atlantic, Stormy Lucy has blossomed on the turf for Gaunt and trainer Frank Lucarelli. She is graded stakes-placed three times this year, finishing second in the Del Mar Oaks (Grade 1) and third in both the Rodeo Drive (Grade 1) and Honeymoon Handicap (Grade 2).

She won the Golden Poppy Handicap in her first turf start last May at Golden Gate, and since then has repeatedly outperformed her odds vs. the best turf fillies & mares in Southern California. In her only start at Emerald Downs, Stormy Lucy finished fourth in a maiden special weight won by Lady Hokulea on Sept. 11, 2011.

For Lucarelli, leading trainer the last two years at Emerald Downs, Stormy Lucy marks his second trip top the Breeders' Cup. Gallant Son finished seventh in the 2008 Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Although no longer in the west, Jersey Town – runner-up to Noosa Beach in the 2010 Longacres Mile – is expected to make a second straight start in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (1:14 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3). The 6-year-old son of Speightstown comes off a 3½-length victory in the one-mile Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park, earning a 110 Beyer Speed Figure.

Bourbon Bay, owned by Dave and Jill Heerensperger, has won seven graded stakes in an illustrious 27-race career for trainer Neil Drysdale, but the 6-year-old gelding has never raced in a Breeders' Cup. Bourbon Bay could get his chance in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf at 3:18 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3.

The $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile is one of the most anticipated races this year, featuring Wise Dan, Animal Kingdom, Little Mike, Excelebration and others, including Willcox Inn, a 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday colt owned partly by Emerald Downs' Vice President Jack Hodge. Third-place finisher in the 2010 Juvenile Turf, Willcox Inn comes off one of his best efforts while finishing second to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Post time for the Breeders' Cup Mile is 4:40 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3.

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