Part 2 Breeders' Cup Thoughts: The Check is in the Mail
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Each week, West Point Thoroughbreds President Terry Finley will share his thoughts leading up to the Breeders' Cup. This is the second installment.
The Breeders' Cup is next week. I woke up this morning and said that for the first time. It really hit me, and it sounded great.
You know that it's getting close to time when Breeders' Cup pre-entries are due. This morning, we faxed in five pre-entry forms and wired $110,000 in pre-entry fees. Writing a check like that will make a person with ice water in their veins feel the heat. However, these fees exist for a reason. The Breeders' Cup is racing's championship day, and we want deserving horses to compete. We believe that our five horses can win their respective races. Otherwise, we would not run.
There's so much that goes into preparing for an event like this. Somebody asked me how many people we'd have at Monmouth. When it's all said and done, we're probably going to have 200 people join us at the Breeders' Cup. In order for this week to be as successful as possible, we cannot let a single detail slide. The logistical planning extends far beyond tickets and the like. For example, we ordered five new sets of silks for the day. We plan to auction off each set after the races for charity. Our Partners will be able to bid on a unique piece of memorabilia while also benefiting a worthy cause.
Over the weekend, I attended the New York Breeders' Sale in Saratoga. I was amazed at how different the town was only forty-five days after the meet ended. The leaves changed, and the town transformed from a bustling summer retreat to a quiet mountain town in upstate New York.
My time away allowed me to reflect upon my expectations for the horses in the Breeders' Cup. Last week, I adamantly felt as if we needed to win a race in order to call the Breeders' Cup a success. Now, I realize how monumental an occasion it is for a single owner to have five legitimate contenders run in the Breeders' Cup. I am a competitive person by nature, and I want to win more than anyone. I imagine that my perspective on the day will probably settle somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.
Now, I have to keep myself occupied before the big day. There's plenty to do here at the office, so I rarely find myself bored. This is a good thing - especially this week. On Wednesday, I head to Keeneland for industry meetings, but I will certainly keep an eye on the pre-entry list when it is published that afternoon.
Finally, I want to update everyone on the horses. After all, they are the real stars of the show. All of the horses have put in their major preparations for their respective races, but it was still an active week.
Awesome Gem - He had an absolutely beautiful five-furlong breeze in 1:00 flat on Sunday at Hollywood Park. He went a brisk five-furlongs in company and was really locked in. He could not be doing any better. He will breeze again next weekend, and then he is set to fly to Monmouth on the Wednesday before the race.
Dream Rush - Rick worked her an easy five-furlongs in 1:01 on Sunday. She had her major work last week, so this was simply designed to stretch her legs. She will likely go a very easy half-mile on Sunday or Monday, but we have done all we need to do in her training to run.
High Finance - Rick worked him a sharp half-mile in 47.1 on Sunday. He wanted to get a little speed into him. Essentially, we're in the same position with him that we are with Dream Rush. We are ready to run and all systems are go. The thing with Hi-Fi is that he acts like he has a split personality. His races are either spectacular or lackluster - it just depends on which Hi-Fi shows up that day. What's even funnier is that he actually looks like two different horses from his left and right sides. On his right, he's got a wild, white eye; on his left, a brown, "sane" one. I've joked that his performance depends on which eye sees the field - white eye: good race, brown eye: bad race. I'm hoping for the sane, fleet-footed High Finance a week from Saturday.
Irish Smoke - She continues to do absolutely wonderfully since her last race. I will see her down in Kentucky on Wednesday. Upon further reflection of the Alcibiades, I'm glad Julien Leparoux wrapped up on her. Many of the two-year-old races were scheduled three weeks out from the Breeders' Cup, and I think it will affect their performances. That's two tough races in three week's time for young horses. My hope is that she's going to have some gas left in the tank on Breeders' Cup day.
Lear's Princess - Kiaran's team adjusted her breeze schedule last week due to anticipated bad weather. She went a beautiful half-mile in 49.1 on Thursday at Saratoga then shipped down to Belmont on Saturday morning. Kiaran wanted to bring her down to the closed barns at Belmont so that she would not begin growing in her winter coat. She will have one more work late this week, but she is ready to run.