ARCADIA, Calif. -- Has Lure's luck run out?
But yesterday the story at the draw for post positions at the 10th Breeders' Cup, run Saturday at Santa Anita Park, was the 12 post the horse drew in the 13-horse Mile field.
"I wouldn't have asked for that post," a clearly disappointed McGaughey said. "But he doesn't have to be in front. With his new running style, he can run from off the pace."
But many observers think the outside post will compromise the short-priced favorite chances of repeating in the Mile, because there is a short run to the first turn and it could force McGaughey to change tactics and tell jockey Mike Smith to send Lure to the front at all costs.
In the 10 runnings of the Mile, only one horse, Royal Heroine in the first Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park in 1982, won from the extreme outside post.
Post positions also might be a factor for two other early-line favorites. In the featured $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the favored Bertrando breaks from post eight, and his stablemate Marquetry, also from the Bobby Frankel barn, drew the rail. Both horses run hard and fast early and like to go for the lead.
"I would prefer Marquetry outside of Bertrando," Frankel said. "You never like to draw the one hole."
Strategy-wise, it means that Marquetry will have to use all his early foot to keep up early with the quicker Bertrando, and probably will relinquish his chances in the race. It also might affect Bertrando if Marquetry presses his stablemate too much too soon. But clearly Bertrando is capable of outrunning him and it is unlikely Frankel would instruct the jockeys to use up two horses from his own barn in a speed duel.
McGaughey was also unlucky in the post draw for the Classic. His horse, Miner's Mark, drew the 14 post in the full 14-horse field.
Another favorite, Kotashaan, drew the 12 gate in the Breeders' Cup Turf, but at 1 1/2 miles, post position is less of a factor than in shorter races.
Frankel has started 16 runners in the Breeders' Cup, but is looking for his first winner. He is currently the nation's leading trainer. His three-horse entry in the Classic of Bertrando, Marquetry and Missionary Ridge is the 2-1 favorite. Best Pal, the leading active U.S. money earner with $4,709,445 in earnings, is second choice at 3-1 odds. Devil His Due, Miner's Mark and Colonial Affair are all 8-1.
Among the 82 horses entered in the seven races yesterday are five animals trying for a repeat Breeders' Cup win. Fraise, the 1992 Turf winner, goes again in that race. The others are: Eclipse Award-winning Paseana in the 1 1/8 -mile Distaff; Lure; Thirty Slews, last year's Sprint winner who has yet to win a race in three 1993 starts; and Gilded Time, the winner of last year's $1 million Juvenile, who is making his first start of the year against 13 others in the six-furlong Sprint.
This year's Juvenile morning-line favorite is Due Process Stable's Dehere, the shortest-priced favorite on the card at 6-5 odds. The 1 1/16th-mile Juvenile Fillies is highly competitive. Oak Leaf Stakes winner Phone Chatter is the 9-5 favorite over the Brian Mayberry-trained entry of Sardula and Rhapsodic. Undefeated East Coast filly Heavenly Prize is third choice at 5-2 odds.
Europe is represented by 19 runners on the card. French trainer Andre Fabre has five horses -- Apple Tree, Intrepidity, Dernier Empereur, Serrant and Wemyss Bight -- entered in the Turf and eight runners overall listed in the lineups.
Three jockeys, Chris McCarron, Mike Smith and Gary Stevens, are due to ride the entire card. Stevens rides two morning-line favorites -- Meafara in the Sprint and Bertrando in the Classic; McCarron rides Juvenile favorite Dehere as well as Distaff favorite Paseana; and Smith is aboard Mile favorite Lure.
FACTS AND FIGURES: BREEDERS' CUP
What: 10th running of Breeders' Cup races
Where: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Calif.
TV: NBC (channels 2, 4), 1:30 p.m.
Races: Sprint ( 3/4 mile), Juvenile Fillies (1 1/16 miles), Distaff (1 1/8 miles), Mile, Juvenile (1 1/16 miles), Turf (1 1/2 miles), Classic (1 1/4 miles)