Doctor Dino's victory in the Man o' War Stakes did not bode well for American Breeders' Cup Turf hopefuls. Timeform rates him just the 50th best older European horse in training. There are a dozen Turf possibles from Europe that would have him over a barrel.
Strongest among them are the three Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe favorites. Epsom Derby winner Authorized prepped for the Arc by winning the Juddmonte International. Soldier of Fortune is the nine-length Irish Derby winner who took Sunday's Prix Niel over the Arc course and distance. Dylan Thomas is a four-time Group 1 winner who is 2 for 2 at the 1 1/2-mile Turf distance, winning the 2005 Irish Derby and this year's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
European trainers won't be making a decision about the Turf until after the Oct. 7 Arc, but Dylan Thomas is their biggest threat. Controlled by John Magnier, a man who likes to win Breeders' Cup races, he is more likely to be at Monmouth than his 3-year-old stablemate Soldier of Fortune.
Defending champ Red Rocks would have trouble making the Turf lineup at this stage should a full field emerge, as his lone victory this season came in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes in April.
The three Arc favorites rate a cut above the best Americans, several of whom are nominated to Belmont's Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Sept. 29. Todd Pletcher could run both of his consistent pair of United Nations winner English Channel and Man o' War runner-up Sunriver. Graham Motion said that last year's Turf runner-up Better Talk Now is "less than 50 percent" for the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic due to muscle soreness and would be trained up to either the Turf or the Canadian International. John Shirreffs is leaving all options open for Del Mar Handicap winner After Market, who will run in either Belmont's Kelso or Santa Anita's Clement Hirsch as a prep for either the BC Mile or the BC Turf.
The Turf wild card is Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca. A two-time Group 1 winner at 1 1/2 miles, he will prep for the Turf in Sha Tin's seven-furlong Group 3 National Day Cup on Oct. 1, the only viable Turf trial available to him in Hong Kong.