Hot pair square off in Turf


Pit last year's European-based Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf winner against New York's finest coming off five consecutive victories, and the 2012 Turf might look like a two-horse race between St Nicholas Abbey and Point of Entry.

Several others have the credentials for an upset, though. In addition, trainer Dale Romans decided to enter TVG Pacific Classic winner Dullahan and Arlington Million winner Little Mike in the Turf instead of the Classic or Mile, respectively.

Point of Entry, trained by Shug McGaughey, drew the rail and will likely and deservedly go off as the favorite. The 4-year-old colt is coming off three consecutive Grade 1 wins in New York, two of them at the Turf's 1 1/2-mile distance. However, in the previous five Breeders' Cup Turfs at Santa Anita Park, only one New York-based horse, Manila, has won.

Contrast that with the Europeans' Santa Anita Turf record. Europeans took home the trophy in 2003, when High Chaparral dead-heated with Johar , and twice with Conduit in 2008-09.

If St Nicholas Abbey, who drew post 3, scores a similar double, he will have to do it at two different tracks. He won the race at Churchill Downs in 2012. Aiden O'Brien trains St Nicholas Abbey and previously won the Turf with High Chaparral in 2002 at Arlington Park and 2003 at Santa Anita.

The distance of the Turf may not be ideal for either of Romans' runners, but he felt that they each have their best opportunity in the 12-furlong race.

"They have totally opposite styles and complement each other," said Romans.

Dullahan drew post 9, while Little Mike drew post 7.

Slim Shadey began his career in Europe and has raced primarily in California all year. The 4-year-old gelded son of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal most recently captured the John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita. He will break from post 11.

Trailblazer, a 5-year-old son of the Sunday Silence stallion Zenno Rob Roy, competed in Japan before traveling to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup. Trailblazer prepped in the Arroyo Seco Mile, where he closed well for second behind Mile candidate Obviously. He will be on the outside.