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Horse racing’s biggest names prep for Breeders’ Cup

We are 21 days from Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup. It will be Nov. 4 and 5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

Many Las Vegas locals will be heading there since the beautiful racetrack at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains is 250 miles from here.

Author Steve Davidowitz wrote a book titled, “Cashing Big on Racing’s Biggest Days.” No two days in the sport are bigger than the Breeders’ Cup. My suggestion is make sure you build up a large enough bankroll so you can take some shots at making a nice score.

Over the past two weeks, we have seen dozens of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls running in their final prep races. We have seen some short-priced favorites lose, such as Beholder, Flintshire, Klimt, Runhappy and Tepin.

There is a silver lining if you liked any one of those beaten star horses. First, if they did not run their best race, they have room to improve in their next start in the Breeders’ Cup. Second, using a Grade 1 race to prep for another Grade 1 race is not unheard of. It all depends on the ultimate goal.

The heavy Horse of the Year favorite is California Chrome. He is putting together one of the best older horse campaigns I have seen since the likes of Cigar or Spectacular Bid.

In fact, California Chrome could be scaring some horses out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. For example, trainer Bob Baffert has seen enough of California Chrome and will point Dortmund for the Mile instead. He could enter both races and make the Mile his first preference.

Here are some important notes to remember. The Breeders’ Cup predraw is Oct. 26 at Santa Anita. At that time, the connections of Breeders’ Cup horses can enter in up to two races, but must state a preference if they do.

The Daily Racing Form Breeders’ Cup Advance edition will be available in race books Oct. 27. It will include the lifetime past performances of all Breeders’ Cup entrants.

And my column Oct. 28 will list all of the free handicapping seminars in Las Vegas, plus ballroom parties.

Finally, there are three more Grade 1 races this weekend that could yield more Breeders’ Cup grass starters: the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland, the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor, both at Woodbine.

In the QEII, I like On Leave (5-1) to spring an upset. The speed of the race — Catch a Glimpse (2-1) — is just to her inside in Post 1. That should allow jockey Jose Ortiz to sit a perfect stalking trip while saving ground on the rail.

In the two Woodbine races, I will try for a double win for trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore on Idaho in the Canadian International and Best in the World in the E.P. Taylor. These European shippers from a top barn such as O’Brien have first-class turf pedigree and are ready to fire their best shot or they wouldn’t be shipping all this way.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You can buy his Santa Anita picks at www.racedaylasvegas.com. You can email him at rich_eng@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @richeng4propick.

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