Racing's biggest day set for launch

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Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Ten horses have been entered in the Breeders' Cup Classic, which will headline Saturday's 20th running of the World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita Park. Medaglia d'Oro, runner-up in last year's Classic, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/4 mile race. The four-year-old will start from post eight with Jerry Bailey in the saddle.

Owned by Edmund Gann and trained by Bobby Frankel, Medaglia d'Oro has won three of four starts for $1.190 million this year. In his last race, the colt finished second in the Pacific Classic to Candy Ride. In his career, he has won better than $3.4 million while winning half of his 14 starts.

Last year's Classic winner, Volponi, is a 15-1 longshot having yet to enter the winner's circle this year. Volponi won the 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic as a 43-1 outsider.

The second choice in this year's Classic, at 7-2, is Perfect Drift. Perfect Drift will start from the seven hole with Gary Stevens riding the gelding for the first time.

This year, Perfect Drift has captured the Stephen Foster, Kentucky Cup Classic and the Hawthorne Gold Cup on his way winning $1.5 million.

Travers Stakes winner is the 4-1 third pick in the morning line. The three-year-old comes into the Classic off a win in the Super Derby, which pushed his 2003 earnings past the $1.5 million mark.

will break from the outside post with Pat Day aboard. Earlier this year, the colt finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is 8-1 in the program. will start from post four with Julie Krone riding. The three-year-old finished third in the Belmont Stakes and the Haskell Invitational.

Hollywood Gold Cup winner Congaree is 6-1 in the morning line and will break from post nine. Congaree won four of seven starts this year and earned more than $1.1 million.

Patrick Valenzuela has the riding assignment on Congaree for trainer Bob Baffert. In his last start, the five-year-old was second to Perfect Drift in the Kentucky Cup Classic.

Completing the field for the Breeders' Cup Classic are Evening Attire, Pleasantly Perfect, Hold That Tiger and Dynever.

The Classic is missing both Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year favorite Mineshaft, both now retired.

The absence of reigning Horse of the Year Azeri leaves the Breeders' Cup Distaff wide open. Sightseek is the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the Distaff.

Sightseek will start from post five in the seven-horse field. Jerry Bailey will be in the saddle for owner Juddmonte Farm and trainer Bobby Frankel. Sightseek has won her last four starts this year and has earned more than $1.3 million.

The only horse to defeat Azeri in 2003, Got Koko, is the 2-1 second choice for the $2 million Distaff. Got Koko has won three of five starts this year and has earned $468,000. Got Koko will break from the outside post with Alex Solis aboard.

Despite being pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Azeri was withdrawn from the World Thoroughbred Championship due to a recent illness.

Azeri captured last year's Distaff on her way to Horse of the Year honors and an 11-race winning streak that ended in her last start on September 28 at Santa Anita. The five-year-old mare fell ill after that race.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile will set the stage for next year's Kentucky Derby hopefuls. Leading two-year-old Cuvee is the 8-5 favorite for the 1 1/16 mile race. A dozen juveniles have been entered in the $1.5 million event.

The $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race has attracted the maximum 14 thoroughbreds. Undefeated Halfbridled has been made the 7-5 favorite for the 1 1/16 mile race and will start from the outside post with Julie Krone aboard.

The Breeders' Cup Mile also has 14 entrants. The $1.5 million turf race features Haskell winner and 4-1 favorite Special Ring.

Thirteen of the fastest horses in the world have been entered in the $1 million Sprint. The late running Aldebaran is the 3-1 favorite in the six- furlong race. He has won five of seven starts this year for $1.1 million.

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will ride for owner Flaxman Holdings and trainer Bobby Frankel. Aldebaran will start from post position six.

The $1 million Filly & Mare Turf is topped by 3-1 favorite Islington. The European invader finished third in last year's race behind Starine and Banks Hill. Islington will break from post four in the 12-horse field. She will be ridden by Kieren Fallon in the 1 1/4 grass race.

High Chaparral is back to defend his victory in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf. The four-year-old is 7-2 in the morning line along with Arlington Million winner Sulamani. Storming Home, the disqualified first finisher in the Arlington Million, is the 5-2 favorite.

Nine grass runners have been entered in the $2 million 1 1/2 mile event. European based Falbrav is the second choice in the Turf at 3-1.

The weather forecast for today's Breeders' Cup calls for sunny skies with a post-time temperature near 95.

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