Street Sense, Curlin battle in $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic

Oct 26, 2007 - 4:18 PM OCEANPORT, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Just call this one the War at the Shore.

In a loaded field that features Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and Preakness winner Curlin, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday likely will determine who wins Horse of the Year honors.

Despite the presence of Street Sense and Curlin, Lawyer Ron - the top older horse in country - is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in North America's richest race.

But all the attention will be centered around Street Sense and Curlin, who will meet for the third and final time this year. Street Sense, who is trying to avenge a loss to Curlin in the Preakness, will be retired to stud after the race.

Street Sense, who also won the Travers at Saratoga in August, won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He was second to Derby runner-up Hard Spun last time out in the Kentucky Cup.

"This is the greatest race we've been in," said Carl Nafzger, the trainer for Street Sense. "And we want to win."

Street Sense (3-1), who has four wins and three seconds in seven starts this year, will leave from the second post with Calvin Borel in the irons.

"He has grown up a lot since the Derby and if you are going to compete against older horses, you've got to grow up," Borel said.

Unraced until he turned 3 years old, Curlin won his first three starts before hitting the Triple Crown trail. He was then third in the Derby, captured the Preakness, then was beaten by a head in the Belmont Stakes by Rags to Riches, a fabulous filly.

Curlin continued his trek in the summer, finishing a disappointing third in the Haskell at Monmouth before beating Lawyer Ron by a head en route to winning the Jockey Gold Cup at Belmont Park on September 30.

Robby Albarado drew the ride for Curlin (3-1), who will leave from the fourth gate for trainer Steve Asmussen.

"I've never been in a race where there's so much on the line," Asmussen said of possible Horse of the Year implications. "This race is as close to putting it in your hands as you possibly can."

It may be a safe bet that if either Street Sense or Curlin win, they may be chosen Horse of the Year. The past three winners of the Classic were chosen Horse of the Year - Ghostzapper, Saint Liam and Invasor last year.

Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled just two winners in 41 career Breeders' Cup races, has two hopefuls here with Lawyer Ron and Any Given Saturday (4-1).

After struggling earlier this year, the 4-year-old Lawyer Ron, rebounded with impressive wins in the Whitney and Woodward before coming up just short in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Lawyer Ron, who will break from the rail in this 1 1/4-mile race, has 12 wins in 25 career starts. He will be ridden by John Velazquez, who has six career Breeders' Cup wins.

Pletcher also would seem to have a chance with Any Given Saturday, who after disappointing on the Triple Crown trail, won the Haskell at Monmouth over the summer.

Hard Spun (8-1), second in the Derby and third in the Preakness, is expected to be the early pacesetter for trainer Larry Jones. Mario Pino will ride Hard Spun, who will break from the eighth post.

Breaking from the far outside is Tiago (12-1), who was seventh in the Derby and third in the Belmont. He won his last starts in California, capturing the Swaps at Hollywood Park and the Goodwood at Santa Anita.

Also entered are Diamond Stripes (15-1), George Washington (20-1) and Awesome Gem (30-1).

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