Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

2010 Breeders’ Cup Results: Part 1

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 7, 2010

Breeders’ Cup Mile:

Two mares came into the 2010 Breeders’ Cup world championships each with the opportunity to make history by becoming the first two horses ever to win three consecutive Breeders’ Cup races. One succeeded. On Saturday November 6th, Goldikova climbed the insurmountable pinnacle of greatness and rightfully declared herself the greatest thoroughbred on the planet by right of proof, after performing flawlessly on the world’s biggest stage.

All eyes were fixed securely to the great European champion as Goldikova lined up against one of the deepest fields in history to contest the Breeders’ Cup Mile for an unprecedented third year in a row. After explosive victories in the 2008 and 2009 editions where she proved herself the worlds’ best miler, Goldikova went to a whole new level in 2010.

Breaking from the outside in post position 10, Goldikova was slow to start but quickly placed herself mid-pack with guidance from jockey Olivier Peslier. Floated about 5 wide into the first turn, Goldikova moved to sixth position down the backstretch while up front Sidneys’ Candy flew through fractions of :24.02 for the opening quarter, :47.49 for the half and 1:11.33 for the three quarters. Entering the final turn Goldikova began to slowly move forward while from the rear of the field Gio Ponti and Paco Boy both came to life with a vengeance. Sidney’s Candy roared into the stretch, lengthening his lead to two lengths as the Usual Q. T. moved to his outside from second and began to make up ground quickly. For a few seconds it appeared as if Goldikova would not make it this time and that her Breeders’ Cup 3-peat would crumble to the ground, but with a vigorous shake of the reins from jockey Peslier the titan was unleashed and Goldikova burst forward like a wall of water battering through a dam. Surging past The Usual Q. T. Goldikova kept coming faster with every stride, sweeping past Sidneys’ Candy and powering to a 1 ½ length lead as Gio Ponti and Paco Boy rushed to the fore. It was a no-doubt-about-it win, Goldikova, in a vigorous hand ride, made some of the worlds’ best milers look like children chasing an Olympic runner down the stretch and under the wire.

With the win Goldikova not only becomes the best horse in the world, but undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, and perhaps the greatest miler of all time bar none. She has become the ruler by which all following generations must be measured.

Breeders’ Cup Classic:

“Things happen for a reason.” That has got to be one of my least favorite sayings, and to the more than 114,000 fans in attendance at Churchill Downs on Saturday night it offered little consolation as they watched their hero and undefeated idol, Zenyatta, go down in defeat after a heartbreaking stretch drive that came up a mere head short.

The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic will go down as the most anticipated Classic to ever be run in history and all because of one great mare and the field of talented males that helped cement her legacy.

In the weeks leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic I was a firm and enthusiastic supporter of Lookin At Lucky. The 2009 Champion Juvenile Male, Preakness, Haskell and Indiana Derby winner and half brother to Curlin was a favorite of mine since his second race in California as a two-year-old. Anyone who would listen got an earful from me about why I liked Lookin At Lucky better than Zenyatta, and while I readily admitted that I loved Zenyatta and knew she had the best chance to win the Classic, I was very confident that Lookin At Lucky could give her a race for her money.

For some inexplicable reason I found myself unable to cheer against Zenyatta as the Classic drew near. The moment I saw her prancing and dancing her way to the paddock amidst the cheers of thousands of fans my heart melted and I began to root for her with all my strength. She seems to have that effect on many people, it is literally almost impossible not to love her and hope that she wins.

As the field broke from the gates, Zenyatta dropped back more than a dozen lengths behind the field the first time past the wire. From there things just got worse for the undefeated super-star as she eventually dropped 15 lengths off the field before moving up on the backstretch. On the front end First Dude led a tightly bunched pack of 4 that included Quality Road, Espoir City and Haynesfield. Entering the backstretch it was more than 5 lengths back to Etched and Lookin At Lucky who led the second half of the field with Zenyatta trailing badly.

Entering the far turn Zenyatta began to move up with Mike Smith angling her to the inside as Blame surged to within 4 lengths of the lead. Into the stretch Blame split horses and seized the lead with Lookin At Lucky right behind, far back Zenyatta found her every move blocked by a wall of horses as she threaded her way through to the outside. Once in the clear the crowd went wild as Zenyatta furiously turned on her patented late run, desperately gunning for Blame who was now 1 ½ lengths clear of Lookin At Lucky. Blowing past Lookin At Lucky Zenyatta continued to close the gap with gigantic strides, Blame running strongly to the wire. Zenyatta frantically closed to within a neck of Blame the 4-year-old colt visibly began to fight back and for about five strides the two powerful athletes were neck and neck, but Blame refused to budge, handing Zenyatta the first, heartbreaking defeat of her career by a head.

There were a million “what if’s” that immediately popped into my head as the gallant daughter of Street Cry galloped out past the wire behind Blame. What if Mike Smith hadn’t had her so far back? What if he hadn’t put her on the inside and blocked by traffic on the final turn? Unfortunately Zenyatta did receive a poor ride from Mike Smith, but in defeat Zenyatta seems to have lost none of her illustrious reputation that preceded her historic journey. In fact, her defeat seems to have done just the opposite and endeared her to the hearts of millions of fans around the world even more. She is still the same great mare she was before and has proved once and for all that she ranks up there with the greats of all time.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile:

Every once in a blue moon things in horse racing happen exactly as they are supposed to, or at least exactly we think they are supposed to, and few things offer a better illustration of those race scenarios as this years’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile did.

It was billed as a two horse race between the speedy undefeated Uncle Mo and talented Hopeful Stakes winner Boys At Tosconova and that is exactly what it turned into, though only one of the youngsters really looked like he had to make a race of it.

Breaking from the gate with speed to spare, Unlce Mo raced in second behind Riveting Reason through the first turn, down the backstretch and into the final turn. Racing a couple lengths back, Boys At Tosconova secured a good spot for himself, relaxing nicely while off the pace in his first two-turn race.

As the field entered the final turn Boys At Tosconova moved up quickly into contention, right off the flank of Uncle Mo. It looked like a two horse race as they sped into the stretch but the scene changed in an instant.

Jockey John Velasquez on Uncle Mo came to life as they hit the stretch with a narrow lead, energetically pushing Uncle Mo to take control of the race. And take control he did, effortlessly putting Boys At Tosconova away within a few strides, the handsome bay colt came striding down the homestretch, opening up by more than four lengths as Boys At Tosconova chased him futilely, 6 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Under the wire in a hand ride, Uncle Mo won by 4 ¼ lengths and instantly became the early favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

While his talent is absolutely undeniable, there are some questions as to whether or not Uncle Mo will be able to get a classic distance race as a son of Indian Charlie. Indian Charlie offspring tend to run their best races at shorter distances where their natural speed is most effective. I am a huge Uncle Mo fan since his first race and aside from hoping with all my heart that he will handle longer distances I truly believe that he will. He obviously loved running the two turns at Churchill Downs and won by more than 4 lengths in a hand ride, indicating that the margin could have been much more and that he could have kept going had he been required to. He didn’t even look tired after the race, bouncing and prancing his way down the back stretch to the winners circle.

This years’ Breeders’ Cup was pretty good to me. Friday was a complete toss as my picks finished second three times but none won. Saturday was much better, with five of my eight choices winning and two finishing second, one by a nose and the other by a head. The overall economy of the Breeders’ Cup was also encouraging this year as we saw a significant increase in both handle, on track and off, as well as a significant increase in on track attendance.

I will cover more of the Breeders’ Cup results in the next few days so stay tuned and let me know how your Breeders’ Cup experience turned out this year.

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2 Responses to “2010 Breeders’ Cup Results: Part 1”

  1. GOLDIKOVA outdid LURE’s two BC Mile wins. She’s definitely the best miler (on turf) in the world. What about her for Horse of the Year?

    As for the Classic, what a thrilling finish! BLAME was all heart to dig down and hold off the big mare. ZENYATTA was ultra-classy to overcome that first 1/4 mile. Don’t be so hard on Mike Smith…he and Z got shut off at the start, stopping Z to a virtual walk. Then she hated the kickback, which forced her farther back. To close from that far back was truly a Herculean effort.

    UNCLE MO was so impressive…to rate kindly and then kick away from BOYS so emphatically, the effort stamped him as the decisive Derby favorite. As for his future at a Classic distance or beyond, I did hear on Steve Byk’s show that Satish Sanan (Padua Stable) was all set to buy the colt but his advisor recommended against it. The reasoning was that he wouldn’t go on due to his short neck. Winning at 1 1/16 miles as a juvenile is one thing, but at 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May is a completely different ballgame.

    Will he be as brilliantly fast as SEATTLE SLEW was? Or, is he just an early developer who will struggle as a 3y.o. a la WAR PASS? On Thorograph sheets, UNCLE MO ran his third consecutive “zero”. To put it into perspective, CURLIN ran a “1/2” in his debut sprinting as a 3y.o. in early Feb., then followed up with three routes: “1/2” in the Rebel, “-1/2” in the Arkansas Derby, then a “zero” while finishing 3rd in the Derby. STREET SENSE earned a “-2” in his BC Juvenile win and prior to that ran “5 1/2”, “6 1/2”, “5 1/2” as well as a 7 3/4 in his debut. SMARTY JONES ran a “5 1/2” and a “zero” in two juvy starts.

    Time will tell.

  2. Goldikova was spectacular and what an amazing treat to hear that she will continue to run next year! She beat Miesque’s Breeders’ Cup Mile wins as well as Lure’s.

    The Classic was thrilling, I agree. It would have been much better if she had won, but still an awesome stretch run. I still believe Mike Smith blew the race for her by letting her stay so far off the pace for the majority of the race.

    I am loving Uncle Mo more and more, he ran a very special race in the Juvenile. It’s interesting to hear Sanan turned him down.
    The speed figures are very impressive for Uncle Mo and I understand the skepticism this early on in the game. He has a sprinter pedigree and is miles ahead of his crop so perhaps he is just a lightning fast, early-maturing sprinter. I’d like to think that’s not the case after watching him rate so well in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

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