James Bond has favorite Behrens in Classic

Thursday, November 4th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HALLANDALE, Fla. (AP) -- James Bond, the horse trainer not the movie spy, broke up Bob Baffert's near stranglehold on Breeders'
Cup favorites with Behrens in the featured $4 million Classic. Baffert has three early favorites and two second choices for
Saturday's eight races worth $13 million at Gulfstream Park.

One of those second picks is General Challenge, who is listed at 4-1 in the Classic. Behrens, who lost all four of his starts last
year by large margins, was installed as the 3-1 favorite Wednesday. Like his movie counterpart, Bond has thoroughly researched his assignment for Saturday. Behrens drew the No. 2 post for the 11/4-mile race on a track where he won his first career start.

Bond points out that from 1993 through this year at Gulfstream, the No. 2 post has produced more winners than any other post in
11/4-mile races. Behrens has four wins and four seconds in eight starts this year.

"I feel like we're more in our home court," said Bond, whose horses wear "007" saddle cloths. "I would like to see him win and get the respect he deserves. Behrens has been the model of consistency. Maybe I'm building him up too much, but we'll find out Saturday."

General Challenge, who won and finished second in races against older horses in his last two starts, is one of five 3-year-olds in
the 14-horse Classic field. He'll start from the No. 10 post. "Ten's not too good a post, but it's not too disastrous, either," Baffert said. "But things could be worse. All my horses are healthy and doing great."

Two of the other 3-year-olds are Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the Belmont Stakes and Travers, and Ecton Park, winner of the Jim Dandy and Super Derby.

Three of the older horses are Behrens, Almutawakel and River Keen. Almutawakel won the Dubai World Cup and River Keen won the Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Both horses are 6-1. Baffert trains River Keen, a 7-year-old horse.

Baffert's early favorites are 3-year-old filly Silverbulletday, 5-2 in the Distaff; Chilukki`I'm a Vegas kind of guy and I got seven and seven,'' said Mike Pegram, owner of Silverbulletday and the Baffert-trained Captain
Steve, who breaks from the No. 7 post in the Juvenile.

Silverbulletday, who finished second against older fillies and mares in her last start on a sloppy track, will be looking for her
ninth win in 11 starts this year in the 11/8-mile Distaff. Two of her rivals in the nine-horse field will be 4-year-old Beautiful Pl"ZG..7geasure, who beat her in the Beldame, and Banshee Breeze, the 1998 3-year-old filly champion and runner-up in the

Baffert's other second pick is Forestry, at 4-1 in the Sprint. For the first time in the 16-year history of the Breeders' Cup there will be a 13/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares. The 7-2
favorite to win is Soaring Softly, winner of three of her last four starts. Unbeaten Chilukki, trained by Baffert, will be seeking her
seventh win in the 1 1-16-mile Juvenile Fillies, her first race at farther than one mile. The 3-1 second pick in the nine-horse field is Surfside, winner of three of four, who could give trainer D. Wayne Lukas his fourth victory in the race.
5-2 Artax in the six-furlong Sprint that will have 14 starters. In his last two starts, Artax
won at seven and at six furlongs.

Daylami, a Britain-based 5-year-old, is the 7-2 favorite in the 11/2-mile Turf. Other contenders in the 14-horse field are Royal Anthem and Val's Prince. Buck's Boy, who won the race last year, is back, but has raced only twice since.

Brave Act is the 7-2 favorite to beat 13 rivals in the Mile on the grass. A long shot is the Baffert-trained Tuzla. The Distaff and Turf each has a $2 million purse. The other five races are worth $1 million apiece.