Since the Meydan Racecourse made the transfer from a synthetic surface back to dirt two years ago, “virtually every major older horse in serious training has its eyes on the World Cup prize,” says Vance Hanson, editor of Brisnet.com. With a $10 million purse, “it's all completely understandable — money talks, of course — but also sad in its own way.”
Hanson has suggested that a date change, to five or six weeks before the World Cup, would draw some of the horses aiming for that big prize to use the Santa Anita Handicap as a prep race. Hanson says: “it's time that the date of the Santa Anita H. be adjusted to not only reflect current realities, but also ensure the best quality field possible for such an important event.
“Given how some horsemen are now preferring to prep for the World Cup in Dubai to give their contenders more time to acclimatize, a date switch might be all for naught some or most of the time,” Hanson admits.
The “fresh infusion of life” that a date change would bring to the Big 'Cap would require Santa Anita to cancel either the G2 San Pasqual or San Antonio, but after this year's winner Melatonin didn't even have a listed stakes win to his credit before taking down the Grade 1 event, perhaps letting a Grade 2 event die would be the better course of action.
Read more at twinspires.com.
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