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Breeders’ Cup Day 2: Live Blogging

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 2, 2013

1) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Grade 1 – 1 1/16 Miles
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will start with a field of 10 youngsters in less than 20 minutes at Santa Anita this year. This is a pretty nice field of fillies and favoritism should be bouncing around between Artemis Agrotera and Sweet Reason. They finished 1-2 respectively in their last start in the Frizette Stakes (Gr.1) and have been dominating in their 5 combined starts. Untapable, Rosalind, Secret Compass and She’s a Tiger are four fillies in with a really good shot as well. It’s 10 minutes to post time.

Results: She’s a Tiger and jockey Gary Stevens ran a strong gate-to-wire performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, holding off a determined Rio Antonia with Rosalind closing on the inside for third to finish ahead in the event, but after a review by stewards determined that she came out and bumped Rio Antonia her number was taken down and 32-1 Rio Antonio was declared the winner. Race favorite Artemis Agrotera was away well and had a perfect stalking trip just behind She’s a Tiger, but was unable to capitalize on her strong position, fading back as the field moved around the far turn. Meanwhile Sweet Reason appeared to be on her way to winning after launching a move from far back in the field to reach third in stretch before flattening out. Ria Antonia entered off a 5th place finish in the Frizette Stakes and this marks her first graded stakes win.

2) Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Grade 1 – 1 ¼ Miles
Laughing is my pick here, she’s been on a roll lately, winning four graded stakes in-a-row, including two grade 1’s. She’ll have some really strong competition this time around so it won’t be a cakewalk or a “sure thing” by any means. I’m curious to see how Emollient fares in this spot and will be rooting for Marketing Mix to made a good run as well.

Results: Dank proved her 8/5 favoritism in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf today was well deserved. Running much closer to the lead than she typically does, Dank sat a very close second, just off the lead of Emollient with Laughing surprising far back running in 7th as the field moved by the stands for the first time. The field maintained positions down the backstretch with Marketing Mix moving up a bit closer into 4th as the field approached the far turn. Emollient still held a slight advantage as they began to travel into the turn but Dank moved up strongly on her outside to seize command as Marketing Mix, Romantica and Alterite all moved forward as one. Emollient hung on stubbornly in the stretch, never throwing in the towel, but Dank extended her lead under the line, winning by just over a length with a fast closing Romantica right in behind. Alterite and Emollient finished half a length in front of Marketing Mix to complete the top 5. Jockey Ryan Moore won his fifth Breeders’ Cup race with Dank and once again it looks like the Europeans are going to love the turf today.

3) The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Grade 1 – 7 Furlongs
Last year Groupie Doll was the undisputed queen of sprinting here in the U.S. and this year she returns to defend that title with a lot to prove and many contenders looking to take her title. After a long rest this year Groupie Doll has not quite lived up to her spectacular form of last year, but has still managed to win two of four starts and set a track record in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (Gr.2). She enters off a third to Judy the Beauty in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Gr.2). Judy the Beauty could wind up being my pick come post time, she seems to be improving at the right time and could get a really good pace to close into. Sweet Lulu, Book Review, Teddy’s Promise and Dance to Bristol are just a few of the other top class fillies looking to stake their claim to title of best female sprinter in the country. I’ll be rooting for Groupie Doll to win this again, but I’m not sure she’s as sharp as she was last year and can replicate her devastating victory.

Results: Checkout my recap on DistaffRunner at Horse Racing Nation to read all about Groupie Doll’s incredible victory!

4) The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Grade 1 – 6 ½ furlongs
The 14 horse field for the Turf Sprint has two fillies I’m extremely high on this year, as I was last year. Mizdirection and Reneesgotzip. Mizdirection is the defending Turf Spring winner and I fully expect she’ll be just as tough to beat this year as she was last. However I’m choosing Reneesgotzip to win this one, she’s probably the fastest filly in the nation, maybe even the fastest horse in the nation, and if she gets out to a solid lead and holds in the stretch I don’t think anyone’s going to pass her.

Results: Mizdirection went into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint a very solid favorite to defend her title from last year and she did just that in a thrilling finish on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita. Breaking like a bolt, Reneesgotzip shot to the lead and blazed an opening quarter in :21.47 before rushing through a half in an incredible :43.36. Mizdirection broke well and rated in 4th position for jockey Mike Smith, just a few lengths off the flying pace set by Reneesgotzip. Moving into the turn the defending champion edged up to sit in third on the outside. As the field thundered into the homestretch Reneesgotzip had powered clear by two lengths, but it was clear that Mizdirection was getting ready to roll. Halfway to the wire and Reneesgotzip was still holding the lead, desperately urged on by jockey Maldonado, but Mizdirection was flying now, eating up the ground with giant strides to win by a long neck over Reneesgotzip, just a nose in front of Tightened Touchdown. Two very classy fillies brought it to the boys once again this year, after finishing 1st and 3rd last year, Mizdirection and Reneesgotzip now finished 1st and 2nd.

5) The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Grade 1 – 1 1/16 Miles
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile looks less competitive this year than is has the last few years, mainly because Honor Code and Ride On Curlin opted not to run this year, but with Havana and Strong Mandate still in the race it’s sure to be a thriller. Strong Mandate ran a clunker in the Champagne Stakes (Gr.1) last out finishing 7th, but was the clear division leader prior to that with a dominating win in the Hopeful Stakes (Gr.1). I still like Strong Mandate and I’m going to give him another chance here in the Juvenile. It might not work out to his advantage with speed playing so well today, but Havana will surely like it. Undefeated in two starts, Havana last out captured the Champagne Stakes by a nose over Honor Code and looks to cinch up the Championship title here with a win.

Results: New Year’s Day didn’t steal any of the pre-race hype moving into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Gr.1), but when the dust settled this Bob Baffert trained colt was the last colt standing. He entered the Juvenile off a 1 ¾ win over Bond Holder to break his maiden and went off at odds of 10-1, but none of that mattered in the end. With jockey Martin Garcia aboard, New Year’s Day broke towards the back of the pack and settled into 9th position down the backside as Conquesttitan and Strong Mandate drove through brutal opening fractions of :22.66 for the quarter and :45.38 for the half. Approaching the far turn Strong Mandate took over and opened up by two lengths as the field began to navigate the turn, but Havana quickly closed up on the outside and stole the lead, rushing off to a two length lead into the stretch. New Year’s Day meanwhile was weaving his way through traffic to launch his bid at the rail, finally hitting his best stride halfway down the stretch to win going away by about 1 ½ lengths. It was a wonderful win for Bob Baffert who earlier on the card saw his filly Secret Compass euthanized after a terrible injury. Now the question is this; is New Year’s Day done for the year or will he try to pad up his resume for a chance to win an Eclipse as the nation’s leading 2-year-old colt.

6) The Breeders’ Cup Turf Grade 1 – 1 ½ Miles on Turf
Point of Entry has not run since winning the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 6th, but that wasn’t his fault. He suffered a condylar fracture in the Manhattan and trainer Shug McGaughey gave his champion plenty of time to rest up and heal. Incredibly he has made a 100% recovery and is back to try and win the Breeders’ Cup Turf after his gallant ½ length defeat by Little Mike last year. It’s always difficult for a horse to comeback from an injury and run competitively at a high level, but this presents an especially tough challenge for Point of Entry since he’ll be facing horses like European sensation The Fugue, last year’s winner Little Mike and a very strong contender in Big Blue Kitten. The consensus seems to be that The Fugue will prevail, but I’m hoping for the “fairy-tale” run by Point of Entry. This horse is all heart and always gives his very best. Big Blue Kitten could prove to be his biggest challenge today.

Results: Most of the attention was on The Fugue and Point of Entry in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but Magician came from out of the clouds to give jockey Ryan Moore his second win at the Breeders’ Cup this year. Point of Entry coming off a long layoff was placed 3rd last by jockey Joel Rosario with The Fugue running in 7th four lengths ahead as the field left the gate and came by the stands for the first time. Teaks North led the field through a reasonable opening quarter before running the opening half in :46 4/5 to speed things up just a bit. Down the backstretch the field positions remained relatively unchanged but the minute the field hit the turn Little Mike made a swift move to seize the lead with The Fugue right in behind and Point of Entry beginning to rally back in 6th. Into the homestretch Little Mike held the lead briefly until The Fugue and Vagabond Shoes edged ahead, but from the back of the pack Magician was moving best of all, rushing past Point of Entry and nailing the win by half a length over The Fugue. Point of Entry finished well but wasn’t good enough on the day.

7) The Breeders’ Cup Sprint Grade 1 – 6 Furlongs
Little Mike was the first returning Breeders’ Cup winner not to successfully defend his title just minutes ago and in about 20 minutes it will be up to Trinniberg to prove he’s still got his moves. Last year Trinniberg turned in a thrilling and determined ¾ length win in the Breeders’ Cup, but since then he has lost all four of his concurrent starts, most recently finishing 7th in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (Gr.1). He’ll have a lot to prove today. This one is all about Secret Circle for me. I love Bob Baffert training sprinters and this horse is just freakishly fast and talented. Justin Phillip could also be in for a good run, he seldom runs a poor race.

Results: Secret Circle might have had just one prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but he proved that favoritism was well deserved as he launched a strong move coming off the turn to hit the lead and stick it to his competition. The opening quarter went in a blistering :21.34 as a three horse battle ensued up front between Sum of the parts, Gentlemen’s Bet and Fast Bullet. Entering the homestretch Gentlemen’s Bet was just a half-length in front of Sum of the Parts as Secret Circle fanned seven wide and drove for the wire. Gentlemen’s Bet held on gallantly, but Secret Circle rolled by nearing the wire as a fast closing Laugh Track took second. That’s win number two for trainer Bob Baffert and Jockey Martin Garcia today. Many were saying it before the Sprint and they’ll continue saying it now; Secret Circle is the best sprinter in the country.

8) The Breeders’ Cup Mile Grade 1 – 1 Mile on Turf
What can you say about this race, other than that Wise Dan is just so intimidating that it’s really tough to pick against him? The reigning Horse of the Year was sensational all last year and won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in record setting style. This year he has been equally as impressive while racking up 5 consecutive wins, including three Grade 1’s and two Grade 2’s. This is his race to lose and I’m not going to try to beat him.

Results: Wise Dan has not lost a step. After finishing second in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (Gr.1) in his last start, the 2012 Horse of the Year had some detractors saying that he was slowing down and his age was showing, but the only thing that showed today was how good Wise Dan is. Breaking with a small stumble out of the gate, Wise Dan picked himself up without so much as a hiccup and settled in nicely behind the leaders with Obviously blowing through an opening quarter in :21.94 and a half in :44.47 with Silver Max in second. Into the turn Obviously continued to lead as Wise Dan came under a full head of speed and set his sights towards the finish line. Charging down the middle of the stretch the champion overtook a very game Za Approval as Silentio darted to the inside. The margin of victory was just ¾ of a length, with Za Approval and Silentio finishing second and third, but this was a no-doubt-about-it winner.

8) The Breeders’ Cup Classic Grade 1 – 1 ¼ Miles
It’s the biggest racing event of the year aside from the Kentucky Derby and this year boasts a stellar field of 11 colts and geldings all vying to be called the best in America. Game On Dude has run in this race twice, finishing a game second in 2011 and a dull 7th in 2012 behind Fort Larned who returns this year to defend his title. Since finishing 7th last year Game On Dude has won 6 straight races, including three Grade 1’s and is coming into this year’s Classic fit, fresh and better than ever. The way Santa Anita’s Track has been playing both days of the Championships so far you have to believe he’s got an excellent chance to get the lead and carry it all the way to the end. Personally though, I’m going with Belmont and Jim Dandy Stakes winner, Palace Malice. He finished a very solid 2nd to Ron the Greek who absolutely freaked in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in his last start after running 4th in the Travers, running what many consider the best performance of the race. He’s been going strong all year long and doesn’t look to be slowing up now. It’s a huge challenge for any 3-year-old to take on experienced elders such as Game One Dude and Mucho Macho Man, but if anyone can get it done I think it’s Palace Malice. It should be interesting to see how his fellow sophomore runners Will Take Charge and Moreno perform as well. Mucho Macho Man is a big favorite of mine and his last win was terrific, but my heart belongs with Palace Malice on this one.

Results: He’s got one of the most solid fan bases in the sport and has one of the most lovable and talented trainers on the planet and Saturday night at Santa Anita Park, Mucho Macho Man raced his way into Breeders’ Cup history. Breaking fastest of all Mucho Macho man was quickly flanked by Moreno on the inside and Game on Dude to his outside before dropping back to fourth as they navigated the first turn with Fort Larned moving up to lead. The opening quarter went in :23.39 as Moreno and Fort Larned battled it out on the front end. Declaration of War raced to the inside of Mucho Macho Man behind the leaders with Will Take Charge and Palace Malice running side by side three spots back. As the field approached the far turn Mucho Macho Man and jockey Gary Stevens swung to the outside of Game On Dude and took command with Palace Malice and Will Take Charge just in behind. Charging off the turn and into the stretch Mucho Macho Man began to pull away, leading by just over a length as Declaration of War came shooting to the outside, pushing Palace Malice and Will Take Charge out wide into the track. Halfway down the stretch and Mucho Macho Man was still in the lead but Declaration of War was all out to catch him. Will Take Charge began to pick up speed and unravel his customary late charge as Palace Malice faded. Those three flashed under the line to the thunderous roars of the crowd. Mucho Macho Man won, defeating Will Take Charge by a thread with Declaration of War in between, just a head back in third. Trainer Kathy Ritvo provided the most touching scene of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup when she ran out onto the track to greet her returning champion and Gary Stevens who gratefully shouted out, “You made an old man very happy”.


Posted in Breeders Cup Classic, Breeders Cup Juvenile, Breeders Cup Sprint, Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Breeders' Cup Mile, Breeders' Cup Turf, Dank, Groupie Doll, Magician, Mizdirection, Mucho Macho Man, New Year's Day, Reneesgotzip, Ria Antonia, Secret Circle, She's a Tiger, Wise Dan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breeders’ Cup Day 2: League Of The Forgotten

Posted by Brian Appleton on November 11, 2009

The 26th Breeders’ Cup Championships are over, the champions have been crowned and history has been made. The hottest topic in racing is now Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra for Horse of the Year award. With all the hype surrounding Zenyatta’s stunning victory against males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, most of the other Breeders’ Cup victors seem to almost be a forgotten story.

Solid “GOLD-ikova”



   In any other year Goldikova’s incredible repeat victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile would have been the banner headline. Her accomplishment here deserves much more praise and attention than the racing world has bestowed upon her. She has done what only the great Miesque in 1987-1988 was able to do. Win two Breeders’ Cup Mile’s against the best males in the world without missing a beat. Goldikova’s trainer Freddy Head just happens to be the jockey that rode Miesque to both of her Mile victories, and is now the only person ever to train, and ride winners in the Breeders’ Cup, let alone twice in both categories.

   Breaking from the far outside in post #11, Goldikova was second to last. Pacesetting Karelian ran an opening quarter of :22.98 with Cowboy Cal rating just behind. As they approached the far turn Cowboy Cal took over briefly before long-shot Courageous Cat whizzed by, opening 1 ½ lengths on the field. With a furlong remaining in the race, Goldikova began to unleash a furious rally from the back, picking horses off one by one. Angled to the center of the course by jockey Peslier, Goldikova poured it on. Only 3 lengths from the lead, then two, one and in the blink of an eye she was home free, sailing under the line under a full head of steam. There were some questions before the race as to whether or not Goldikova was as good as she was in her spectacular three year old season last year, or if she had edged off that form somewhat. Suffice it to say, there are no questions now. She will go down as one of the greatest Breeders’ Cup champions of all time.

Passionate Repeat



   A second Breeders’ Cup repeat came when favored Conduit won the Breeders’ Cup Turf over an ultra impressive Precious Passion. Breaking like a bolt of lightning from the gate, Precious Passion led the field on a merry game of “catch me if you can”, while Conduit took up position in the rear of the pack. Opening up three lengths on the field from the get go, Precious Passion extended his lead to about 12 lengths down the backstretch, looking very comfortable while doing it. As the field began rounding the final turn it looked as if Precious Passion would be a candidate for last place finish. Spanish Moon and filly Dar Re Mi were closest coming off the turn, while Conduit swung wide flying up with powerful strides. Defying what appeared to be a sure defeat, Precious Passion dug in gamely when Conduit came rushing up. They dueled through the stretch before Conduit was finally able to gain the upper hand and win by half a length over the irrepressible Precious Passion. Dar Re Mi got up for third, beaten only a length.

Tough Luck


Vale of York

   One of the most impressive efforts of the day, regardless of win or lose, was Lookin at Lucky’s runner up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Made the heavy favorite due to his undefeated 4 for 4 record and regardless of his number 13 post, Lookin at Lucky looked much the best even in defeat. Piscitelli and D’Funnybone were the first two out of the gate, with Piscitelli taking the lead. Eventual winner Vale of York, tracked in third. Into the homestretch it seemed Noble’s Promise was on his way to victory, but Lookin at Lucky and Vale of York were flying from the middle of the pack. It appeared Lookin at Lucky would prevail, but Vale of York proved a determined foe. With one final surge, Vale of York caught the wire a neck ahead of a “tough luck” Lookin at Lucky.

Quick Upset


Dancing In Silks

  The Breeders’ Cup Sprint provided one of the day’s biggest surprises, and also one of the most shocking upsets. Red-hot Zensational looked to be invincible coming into the Sprint, riding his 4 race win streak, the last 3 being grade 1’s. After one of the worst trips in memory, in which he broke from the #1 post alongside the speedy Cost Of Freedom, Zensational wound up finishing fifth behind a “blanket finish wall” of four horses at the wire. It was one of the most exciting Breeders’ Cup Sprints in history, four horses together on the line in one big photo finish. 25-1 Longshot Dancing in Silks got up to win by a nose over Crown of Thorns who finished a head in front of Cost of Freedom, with Gayego a nose back in fourth.

Flag Flying High


California Flag

   After finishing a dismal 10th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, California Flag seized the lead from the start in 2009 edition and never looked back. This was one of the most enjoyable races for me to watch aside from the Turf and Classic. I love a horse that can take a field from gate to wire and leave no doubt about their victory. After posting fractions of :21.50 for the opening quarter mile, and :43.09, California Flag shot off the final turn and kept roaring down the stretch, opening up on the field, before finishing a comfortable 1 ¾ lengths in the lead. His final time of 1:11.28 was a new stakes record.

“Dirt-my foot” Mile (had to throw that in)


Furthest Land

   Mastercraftsman was one of the heaviest favorites of the day and the almost unanimous choice to win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt (synthetic) Mile. Last year’s 2 year old Champion Male, Midshipman, was also entered. Having raced only once in 2009 when winning an allowance race, he was a question mark, but winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride synthetics in 2008 bode well for him. 21-1 longshot Furthest Land pulled the shocking upset here with fellow longshot Ready’s Echo at 24-1 getting second. Midshipman came home third after leading the field from the gate to the homestretch turn. Mastercraftsman was a non factor, finishing well behind the top three.




  This was one of the best looking horses of the entire Breeders’ Cup in my opinion. The second he stepped into the paddock before the race, I dropped all other choices and made him my solid win choice for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Bridgetown took the field through opening fractions of :23:61 while Interactif pressed the pace on the outside. Bridgetown slingshotted off the turn and extended his lead over Interactif as the field began to close in. Pounced looked to be in trouble coming into the stretch, but rider Frankie Dettori was able rouse his mount mid-stretch enough to rally a furious run. Rushing to the lead, Pounced split the frontrunners and surged ahead. It was a gritty win by the determined young colt, who seems to have a very promising future.

   The Breeder’s Cup treated me very well this year.

   On day 1 I was able to choose the winners of Ladies Classic, Juvenile Fillies


Life Is Sweet winning the Ladies Classic

and Juvenile Fillies Turf, as well as getting beat narrowly in the Marathon with Coudy’s Knight. My Filly and Mare Sprint choice Sara Louise lacked her usual kick in the stretch and ruined my top three of Sara Louise, Informed Decision, and Ventura. I got slaughtered in the Filly and Mare Turf when Rutherienne was nowhere to be found, she must have missed the memo. My second and third picks Pure Clan and Forever Together must have received the memo though, because they finished 2,3 for me.


Zenyatta winning the Classic

 In Day 2 my Pounced, Awesome Act, Interactif tri was upset when Awesome Act finished fourth. California Flag came through for my win choice, but my Curlin family addiction proved unfortunate when Square Eddie wound up nowhere. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint was just about the worst handicapping job I’ve ever done in my life! Zensational killed my win, and Fatal Bullet followed right behind. At least they finished 1-2 relative to each other, just in the wrong field positions!(: My Lookin at Lucky, D’Funnybone, Noble’s Promise tri pick went nowhere. Lookin at Lucky and Noble’s Promise came in second and third, but D’Funnybone was dead in the stretch. Precious Passion just ruined my tri of Precious Passion, Conduit, Dar Re Mi in the Turf, but it was so close. Goldikova was wonderful to me, but I didn’t even consider second place finisher Courageous Cat before the race. I was gunning for Mastercraftsman to lose the Dirt Mile with my Midshipman, Furthest Land, Bullsbay tri in this one. The Curlin family angle served me well here (: but it didn’t really matter as they all finished in the wrong order and one missed the top three anyway. I almost hit a homerun with the Classic, but just missed when Twice Over took third over Summer Bird by a nose. My tri was Zenyatta, Gio Ponti (he looked awesome in the post parade) and Summer Bird.

   Who did you pick in the Breeders’ Cup races and how did they run for you? Or who do you wish you had picked and didn’t? I hate it when I discard a horse for some reason, and then they go on to win or ruin your top three picks, that’s one of the most de-gratifying things ever.

   Overall, the Breeders’ Cup 2009 was a terrific experience, and one that will keep me in awe for many years to come.

   I will be doing a post of Rachel Alexandra vs. Zenyatta for Horse of the Year soon.

Posted in Bob Baffert, Breeders Cup Classic, Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Breeders Cup Juvenile, Breeders Cup Sprint, Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, California Flag, Careless Jewel, Conduit, Cost of Freedom, Courageous Cat, Court Vision, Cowboy Cal, Crown Of Thorns, Curlin, D'Funnybone, Dancing In Silks, Dar Re Mi, Einstein, Eskendereya, Forever Together, Freddy Head, Gayego, Gio Ponti, Goldikova, Handicapping, Horse of the Year, Indian Blessing, Informed Decision, Interactif, Lethal Heat, Life Is Sweet, Lookin at Lucky, Mastercraftsman, Midshipman, Miesque, Mine That Bird, Noble's Promise, Pounce, Pounced, Preciou Passion, Pure Clan, Rachel Alexandra, Rainbow View, Rick Dutrow, Rip Van Winkle, Rutherienne, Sara Louise, Sentient Jet Breeders Cup Sprint, Spanish Moon, Square Eddie, Summer Bird, Synthetic(s), Thorougbred Horse Racing, Twice Over, Uncategorized, Vale of York, Zensational, Zenyatta | 2 Comments »

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