Two out of the three of the world's best three-year-olds were in action this weekend. The one out of the arena was the best North American female, Rachel Alexandra. The best North American male, Summer Bird, and the best European male, Sea The Stars, both went to the track and both of them further stamped their greatness.
First, we'll look at Summer Bird in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He has now won the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes and the Gold Cup in the same season. The last to do that was New York's great Easy Goer twenty years ago. Summer Bird has clearly established himself as the dominant three-year-old male in this country. He has now defeated Quality Road soundly on back-to-back occasions and I don't even think you can use the sloppy tracks they both encountered at Saratoga and Belmont as a factor. I simply think that Summer Bird is a better horse than Quality Road. Barring a sweep by Mine That Bird of the Goodwood and Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, I feel that Summer Bird will be the Champion Three-Year-Old Male come Eclipse Award time.
Next, we can take up the cause of Sea The Stars in the Group 1 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. This guy is simply a beast. If you were able to see the Arc, (and if you weren't, here is the link, www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLQ60F_DzeE&feature=related), you should be able to realize what a magnificent performance that was. Sea The Stars did not get the best of trips in the Arc and still overcame that and won with relative ease. It was a handride to glory and he has now won six Group 1 races in Europe as a three-year-old, which is just about unheard of. The racing world can merely hope he is part of the European Invasion which will strike Santa Anita in about four weeks at the Breeders' Cup World Championships. If you thought the Euros were dominant last year at the Cup (and they were), just wait until this year.
The Breeders' Cup Classic will likely feature one of its best fields in years with the likes of Macho Again, Mine That Bird, Summer Bird and Awesome Gem all almost definite and the likes of Einstein, Sea The Stars, and Zenyatta all possibilities. That does not include Quality Road, Rail Trip, Gio Ponti and Regal Ransom who could all also run. This should be one of those years where the Classic is certainly going to be a Classic.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!