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2010 Breeders Cup Classic Power Rankings: Part Two

The first turn at Curlin.

The last article showcased the bottom five top contenders for the 2010 Breeders Cup, now it’s time to take a look at the top-five.

If you didn’t catch the first article, you can find it here: 2010 Breeders Cup Classit Power Rankings: Part One.

# 5 – Cutlass Bay

The Breeders Cup Classic always has a mysterious Godolphin horse, and a more mainstream one like Regal Ransom (Distorted Humor). You've got to throw out his last race- a fifth place finish to the multiple Group 1 winner Fame and Glory (Montjeu). Sheikh Al Maktoum's classy bay colt was previously undefeated, having taken five from five with runs at Longchamp, Saint-Cloude, Fontainebleu and Argentan.

This four year-old hasn't raced since May, and is expected in another Group 1 encounter in August, although he will miss the King George. There's lots of tactical speed here, and he would go off at longer odds for the Classic, but I think that this is one of the biggest stars in the Godolphin stable, and Ahmed Ajtebi would likely take the mount again.

This will be a late decision, but it’s not a stretch to see him winning the races he will need to qualify. Outside bet, but one to keep your eye on for sure. A switch to Lasix will pay big dividends. It may be confusing to see this selection ahead of some of the others, but this is a serious contender if he's in the gate for the Classic- at a big price as well.

# 4 - Ice Box

He didn't really have a good go at the Belmont, but horses like him generally don't excel at that distance. An Ice Box/Zenyatta clash would be a fascinating one as their styles are rather similar, although Ice Box doesn't have the Big Z's outstanding personality.

He will likely have a go at the Haskell or the Travers, and with a victory there his connections may feel confident enough about him stepping up against the best. He's a plucky horse and if he stays injury-free could be an absolutely top-class older colt. He's even a possible outside bet for the 2011 Dubai World Cup if Zito & Co. are feeling especially ambitious.

# 3 - Twice Over

Last year's third place finisher started off 2010 with arguably the biggest seasonal debut a horse can have- the Dubai World Cup on a brand new surface. It was a disappointing race that day, finishing tenth from fourteen, but he bounced back well to finish second to a first-rate Byword at Ascot in the Group 1 Prince of Wales.

He then went on to capture the Group 1 Coral Eclipse after grinding out the final furlon. He showed guts and plenty of grit to capture that one. His versatility is a huge asset, and he has already checked off all the boxes you need to line up for the Breeders. Big contender here and Twice Over (Observatory) will be looking for another feather in his globetrotting cap. 

# 2 - Gloria de Campeao

The current reigning king of Meydan racecourse is a seven year-old horse that absolutely defines the word cultured. He's raced, and won, nearly everywhere, but the Dubai races remain his specialty.

Having won in Dubai this year, and finishing second last year, this talented runner by Impression (Rubiano) has fought a pitched battle with Lizard's Desire (Lizard Island) and Red Desire (Manhattan Cafe) for most of this year.

He's never run in the Classic, but after taking the Dubai score his connections may favour a run at the World Championships. Much depends on his performance in the Juddmonte International in August, which is set to be run at York racecourse.

Despite being headed in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International by Lizard's Desire, he's got the solidity and proven ability to perform that you need when racing at the absolutely highest level. The race is there for the taking if he wants it, but he's going to have to answer a very big question that begins and ends with the letter Z.

# 1 - Zenyatta

This legendary mare has raced her way into the record books and millions of hearts. America's biggest female athlete has proven herself as the horse to beat of the modern era.

You can't argue with 17 from 17, and her victory in last year's Classic at Santa Anita will go down in history as one of the greatest stretch runs of all time. Now, Zenyatta must step outside of her California comfort-zone and take on the world's best boys once again- to defend her title of World Champion and likely solidify her status as one of the greatest of all time.

If Zenyatta repeats as Breeders Cup Champion over the Churchill Dirt (the antithesis of her preferred surface) then I think the argument is completely over- no matter how biased you are against left-coast racing. Even in her last few races, she has still looked up for it, despite getting a real scare from the talented St Trinians.

I think only a bad surface will keep Zenyatta from being the ML favourite for this one. She is set to have another go at the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar, and from there will likely rest up until the Classic. There has been no confirmation from her connections that she will head for Churchill, but you know it has to be in the cards.

America, and the sport of horse racing, needs this horse. Zenyatta can do it, and there is no more of a magical way to round off her storied career. As divisive as this big mare is, it’s hard not to be a believer.

You'll notice that Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia D'Oro) has been left off the list. There are several contenders on here with less earnings and significantly lower profiles. However, her 2010 season has simply not been up to snuff. The only logical way that anybody can argue that Rachel Alexandra is worthy of the history books is if she steps up and wins the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic. I don't see her pulling that off if her connections keep opting for Grade 2 encounters against lower-quality females.

She needs to step up and take on the boys again the way that she did last year. If she can't beat Z on her home turf then I think the argument is well and truly settled. Zenyatta would have crushed her in the last Breeders Cup, and her connections don't have any more excuses with the World Championships set to run under the Twin Spires.

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