Unlike the two previous “fantasy” posts, this one is going to be “quick & dirty” in the interests of getting it up before the real 2011 BC Classic runs tonight. So enjoy the photos and the stats….and wage your fantasy bet!!!
1. TWENTY GRAND (St. Germans, from the family of Swynford ex.Bonus, from the family of Persimmon). Pictured above, this great campaigner has returned to racing following a short lapse in the breeding shed. A horse who has beaten the great Equipoise twice and won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, as well as races like the Wood Memorial and the Jockey Gold Cup in 1931, can be expected to be a strong contender in this field. Twenty Grand will be ridden by Charley Kurtsinger and breaks from Post # 3.
2. SPECTACULAR BID (Bold Bidder, from the family of Bold Ruler, ex. Spectacular, from the family of Palestinian) is an entrant whose very name is sacred to all of those who loved him. Defeated only 4 times out of 30 starts — with wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness — and unplaced only once, “The Bid” starts from Post # 7 under jockey Bill Shoemaker.
3. JOHN HENRY (Old Bob Bowers, from the family of Princequillo ex. Once Double by Double Jay) needs no introduction. This gutsy gelding may have gotten off to a slow start in his racing career but few would argue that he’s already raced into legendary fame. Equally talented on grass and dirt, John Henry gets the talented Darryl McHargue as jockey and breaks from Post #9.
4. SUNDAY SILENCE (Halo ex.Wishing Well, from the family of Palestinian) returns to defend his BC Classic title, much to the excitement of us all! This Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Santa Anita Derby winner starts from Post # 10, under his regular jockey, Pat Valenzuela.
5. NOOR (Nasrullah ex. Queen of Baghdad, a daughter of Bahram, a British Triple Crown winner) is probably best known for his decisive defeats of Triple Crown winner, Citation. A veteran of some 31 starts, Noor is a stayer with an excellent turn of foot, who will enter the Classic from Post # 5 under Citation’s usual jockey, Eddie Arcaro.
6. BUCKPASSER (Tom Fool ex. Busanda by War Admiral) is a champion with a solid 25 wins in 31 starts against some good horses. We have yet to see the bottom of this War Admiral grandson, although his stamina has never been a question ….will he bring his best game today? Buckpasser starts under jockey Braulio Baeza from Post # 13.
7. STYMIE (Equestrian by Equipoise ex. Stop Watch, from the family of Colin) carries the reputation of being “the Peoples’ Horse” and rightly so. This good-looking chestnut has weathered 131 starts and has beaten both Assault and Gallorette 3 times, as well as Pavot and Devil Diver. Stymie may be one of the oldest in this field, but he still fires like a rocket. He breaks from Post # 11 under champion jockey, Ted Atkinson.
8. COUNT FLEET (Reigh Count ex. Quickly, from the family of The Tetrarch) is without question going to garner favourite status in the betting. The talented Triple Crown winner — taking the Belmont by 25 lengths — will break out of Post # 2 under his regular jockey, Johnny Longden.
9. RUFFIAN (Reviewer ex. Shenanigans by Native Dancer) is the only filly in the Classic but she is one brilliant thoroughbred. This will be her first start against the colts, but this young lady has run every race by daylight. Ruffian breaks from Post # 13 under her regular jockey, Jacinto Vasquez.
10. GALLANT MAN (Migoli ex. Majideh, a daughter of Mahmoud) is a solid colt who won the Belmont Stakes over the talented Bold Ruler, in a time that stood until Secretariat’s Belmont and has bested Round Table at the wire 3 times. If he can get into contention from the outside Post #14, no question that jockey Bill Hartack will be riding a very strong contender.
11. DR. FAGER (Rough N’ Tumble ex. Aspidistra) is trainer John Nerud’s second entry in the Classic. At age 4, this son of Blue Hen Aspidistra is a beast on the turf who still wants to take on all comers from the moment the gate flies open. A winner on any kind of surface, Dr. Fager comes to this Classic with 22 starts and 18 wins, and is coming off a 3 race winning streak. The handsome bay breaks out of the inside Post #1 and jockey Manny Ycaza will need to get into things before his colt gets squeezed onto the rail.
12. NASHUA (Nasrullah ex. Segula by Johnston) has won anywhere from 5 furlongs to 2 miles and has set 3 track records in the process. Although he can be a bit lazy at times, jockey Eric Guerin is more than able to keep this superstar on his toes today. Nashua breaks from Post # 4.
13. YOUR HOST ( Alibhai ex.Boudoir by Mahmoud) has been nicknamed “The Twister” for his odd way of running, but this colt has a heart larger than all the seats at Churchill Downs. This winner of the Santa Anita Derby will break from Post # 12, Your Host will have the services of the talented Eric Guerin in the irons.
14. WHIRLAWAY (Blenheim II ex. Dustwhirl, by Sweep) is the Classic’s second Triple Crown winner to take on this new challenge. Trainer Ben Jones has said that “Mr. Longtail” is in excellent form and ready to run a big race today. The stunning chestnut breaks from Post # 4 under the more-than-capable hands of jockey, George Woolf.