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2010 Breeders Cup Classic Power Rankings: Part One

It might be a little ambitious putting out a list of official Breeders Cup Classic contenders, but it's important to get the conversation started early; even if half our predictions don't wind up running.

Regardless, it's a bit of food-for-thought as we head into the business end of the English Classics season.

While some of these contenders may not wind up running, or may be pointed towards races other than the Classic, I still think that any of these selections could take the big race at Churchill Downs if the conditions are correct.

#10 – St Trinians

The five year-old Mike Mitchell-trained mare burst onto the American scene on her debut in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita. The big story here for the bay miss was when she pushed Zenyatta (Street Cry) all the way, just getting mugged near the line.

This showed her true class and I still don't think Mitchell has found the bottom of her yet. If she stays healthy she is a definite contender for the Classic, and the potential showdown with Zenyatta might be an interesting subplot. St Trinians (Piccolo) should go off at a lengthy price.

#9 - Gio Ponti

The five year-old 2009 Breeders Cup runner-up is really more of a turf and synthetic runner, so it’s up in the air whether he will actually have a proper go at the Classic again.

His performance last year imbued plenty of confidence after an incredible season that started with four straight wins and ended with two places. The loss to Zenyatta was something special- there really wasn't much Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat) could have done in that situation.

He had a so-so start to the season, a beaten favourite by a head in the ungraded Tampa Bay Breeders Cup. He then headed over to Meydan for a crack at the 2010 Dubai World Cup- only to run fourth bested by the cultured Gloria De Campeao (Impression).

His last two starts have seen him run another place when sent off at nearly even money before capturing the Grade 1 Man O'War as the 2/5 favourite. He looks to be improving and will likely be pointed at Churchill in November, it's just a matter of which race.

#8 - Trappe Shot

A classic late-developer with Kiaran Mclaughlin's classy three year-old chestnut Trappe Shot (Tapit). He is pointed towards either the Travers or the Haskell and, if he can score that elusive graded victory, connections may start thinking about the Classic.

He's got the distance and that momentum a potential classic winner will need going in, especially if he captures one of the Saratoga Grade 1's in impressive fashion.

His 105 Beyer in the Long Branch showed great acumen, and that late kick of his ensures that he will be a terror in a stretch duel. He's one of the more outside bets here for the Classic, but a big win in August will give him exactly what he needs.

# 7 - Rail Trip

The Dutrow-trained Rail Trip (Jump Start) is a specialist on the west coast synthetic, but it appears as though plans are afoot to ship the five year-old bay gelding to Churchill for a spin around the Twin Spires track for the 2010 Classic.

He's been a well-backed favourite in all three of his runs this year, and was well-beaten by a classy Awesome Gem (Awesome Again) in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. That was his last race under the tutelage of Ronald Ellis, with owner Jay Em Ess Stables sending the gelding over to Dutrow for a prep race on the dirt with an eye towards the classic.

This is a solid horse with plenty of acumen on the cushion track, but we all know that doesn't always translate to dirt. Keep an eye on Rail Trip's dirt debut and, with a first-rate victory against quality opposition, he would become a fairly strong contender.

# 6 - Workforce

This is one of the best examples of the absolutely smashing crop of colts and fillies that have been sired by King's Best (Kingmambo). The Sir Michael Stoute-trained bay colt just captured the 2010 Epsom Derby with preferred pilot Ryan Moore aboard for the trip.

He's very lightly-raced and I think this leaves him open to a shot at the Classic if he stays healthy through the rest of the English classic season. There haven't been many strong clues that the three year-old might be pointed to the World Championships, but Stoute is an ambitious sort and could fancy his chances with Workforce if we see another great performance in the upcoming King George.

His performances have been excellent despite a tough beat to Cape Blanco in their season opener in the Group 2 Dante Stakes. Another big win or two in Europe, and a switch to Lasix once he ships to the States would make him absolutely deadly in the Classic. Serious contender if he keeps his momentum.

Stay tuned for the second part of our 2010 Breeders Cup Power Rankings.

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