Tabasco Cat (D Wayne Lukas/Getty)

Leader of the Pack…

Street SenseStreet Sense (brisnet)Tabasco Cat’s status as the highest-priced favourite in Classic history (he finished second behind Concern at 7-2 in 1994) may not be threatened, but this year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup brings together no fewer than four horses who could lay claim to the role of the crowd’s choice. But the TDN choice is Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}). The three-year-old is a perfect two-for-two at a mile and a quarter, and he has looked sensational during his morning constitutionals around the Monmouth main track. He would be the first BC Juvenile winner to come back to capture the Classic, but he is no stranger to breaking jinxes. Jim Tafel’s homebred star was the first-ever Juvenile winner to take the Kentucky Derby, and he became the
first Eclipse-winning juvenile to wear the blanket of roses since Spectacular Bid in 1979.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch the 1979 Kentucky Derby

Jim TafelJim Tafel Trainer Carl Nafzger believes his champion is even better now. “He is a different horse than he was before the Derby,” Nafzger said. “He is a patient horse now, professional. He has grown up a lot since the Derby; if you are going to compete against older horses, you’ve got to grow up.” Street Sense was beaten by Hard Spun (Danzig) in his Classic prep, the Sept. 29 GII Kentucky Cup Classic, but he went into the 2006 Breeders’ Cup off a third place finish in the GI Breeders’ Futurity, then ran away from the field in the Juvenile. Street Sense won’t pay off at 15-1 like he did last year, but the colt could offer true value in this well-matched field.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch the 2007 Kentucky Cup Classic

The Contenders…

CurlinCurlin (media.philly)You can make a solid case for just about every one of this year’s Classic runners, but three really stand out. Curlin (Smart Strike) proved his mettle when getting the better of Street Sense in the GI Preakness S., and he was not disgraced when running second by a head behind Rags to Riches in the GI Belmont S. The chestnut was not at his best when third behind Any Given Saturday (Distorted Humor) and Hard Spun in the GI Haskell Invitational S. on the Monmouth strip, but he rebounded to beat the East Coast’s top older horse, Lawyer Ron (Langfuhr), by a determined neck in the Sept. 30 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup. Built like a power forward, he will give Street Sense all he can handle on Saturday.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch the 2007 Preakness Stakes

Lawyer RonLawyer Ron (boston)Lawyer Ron earned himself quite a rep with two stellar efforts at Saratoga. The four-year-old eclipsed the track record when taking the GI Whitney H. by 4 3/4 lengths and he romped by 8 1/4 lengths in the GI Woodward S. The only question mark was whether he could strut his stuff going 10 panels, but he proved he could with his game effort in the Gold Cup, and the racing surface at the Jersey Shore will only help his chances.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch the 2007 Whitney Handicap

Any Given SaturdayAny Given Saturday (equinephoto)Any Given Saturday completes the contender trifecta. The dark bay bids for his fourth straight graded-stakes score, and he boasts the only win over the track. A four-length winner over Nobiz Like Shobiz in the GII Dwyer S., he was a well-backed 9-5 in the Haskell and handed Hard Spun an impressive 4 1/2-length defeat. The $1.1-million KEESEP yearling came back to beat a less-thanstellar field when taking on his elders for the first time in the Sept. 22 GII Brooklyn H. It was an easier prep than those run by his co-favourites, and he has had an extra week between starts, which will keep him fresh, but will he be fit enough to run his A race over the mile and a quarter of the Classic?

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch the 2007 Haskell Invitational

(courtesy TDN 25/10/07)