One week away from the Breeders’ Cup, it’s time to play a game I like to call “Where’s Flavien?”
The goal is to find jockey Flavien Prat, then find out which horse he rides in each of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races on November 5-6 in Del Mar.
It’s a cinch, but maybe now is the right time to support the French import which, like the famous cheeses from its home country, only gets better with age.
For starters, 29-year-old Prat presses all the right buttons and flips all the right switches. He is fourth in the country with more than $ 20 million in earnings from his mounts this year, which would be his best result since moving full-time from France to the United States in 2015.
Prat has become so dominant in Southern California that he easily won riding titles while traveling across the country and to Canada for big days of racing.
An example of the doors that opened as a result came this week, when The Daily Racing Form announced that Prat would lead Domestic Spending in the $ 4million Breeders’ Cup Turf for East Coast coach Chad Brown on United. , which he had driven in 16 consecutive races for West Coast Hall of Fame coach Richard Mandella.
Prat obviously has live mounts in all 14 Breeders’ Cup races, including Hot Rod Charlie for coach Doug O’Neil in the $ 6 million Classic, Dr. Schivel in the Sprint and Time to Party in the Juvenile. Turf Sprint.
But he has a choice in other races. For example, will he choose the Blowout formed by Brown over the West Coast sensation Mo Forza in the Mile? In the distaff, will he go up Dunbar Road or Private Mission?
In the other races, he and agent Brad Pegram have yet to show their hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a few races on European or Japanese riders, each of which would instantly become interesting to me.
All I can say is I’ll take note of where Prat lands assuming a guy at the top of his game is in a good position to thrive when the big dance is in his backyard. This is not a blind betting situation, but definitely an upgrade for any horse that procures its services.
196 pre-registered horses
Pre-registrations for the Breeders’ Cup races were released on Wednesday, showing that 196 horses are planning to compete in the Thoroughbred World Championships. You can see the full list at breederscup.com.
Fields will not be finalized until Monday’s position draw, so for now some horses are entered in multiple races, while others whose connections hope to go through are stranded on equally eligible lists.
There have been two defections so far: Aidan O’Brien’s Order of Australia will not defend their title in the Mile after suffering “a slight setback” in training. And coach Paolo Lobo said on Thursday that the Imperador will miss the Turf after returning from a “bit of a staggered” gallop. Their departures clear the way for Ivar and Tribhuvan to embark on the respective races.
The most notable result of the pre-registrations has been the growing international participation with a record 56 from overseas: Great Britain (26), Ireland (17), Japan (8), France (2), Argentina ( 1), Peru (1) and South Africa (1).
Look for a lot more Breeders’ Cup blankets next week, including handicaps and wraps for the two days of Del Mar’s racing. For now, however, I have some numbers to chew on and horses to see. .
The racing voices fell silent
The race lost two of its most vocal spokespersons on Sunday with the deaths of longtime NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Neumeier and San Francisco Bay Area running impresario Sam Spear.
I knew ‘Neumy’, as the former was universally known, after casually crossing paths with him on several occasions while covering Triple Crown races and the Breeders’ Cup for NBCSports.com. I can confirm the multitude of reports that he was a great guy besides being a polite host and a shrewd handicapper.
I met Sam, who worked as a publicist at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows and produced and hosted television and radio shows for decades, the first time I set foot on a running track, when a College of Marin Times sports editor decided I was just the guy to write an article on horse racing.
He encouraged me that day and over the years as I continued to soak up what has become a passion. I am proud to say that he remained a friend during our last phone conversation about a month before his death. He was eccentric, wickedly funny, and an avid fan of all sports, especially those with a Bay Area connection.
I will miss both very much and, I’m sure, many others who have enjoyed their work over the years.