Long-shots and Europeans winners were definitely the overall theme to the 2013 Breeders Cup at Santa Anita this past weekend.
The European horses dominated (Including two all Europe triples) and also, led by Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, several year end championship award categories were scrambled as far as I’m concerned.
As I stated in my previews, I had all the races broken down and sorted out when my power went out and I lost everything. In case you were wondering, I had four of the 14 winners correctly and a kiss your sister type day monetarily.
Just some thoughts and recaps of exactly what happened:
London Bridge, who was 9-1 with Mike Smith aboard, unleashed quite a late run while passing four horses from mid-stretch to the wire in what would prove to be the first of several upsets throughout the day. He also became the first NY Bred horse to win a BC race.
Juvenile Turf (Colts)-
Outstrip, who was near the back of the pack most of the way around the track, inhaled early leader Bobby’s Kitten down the stretch to take this race in remarkable performance. The good looking gray colt set the Juvenile record while completing the one mile distance in an eye popping 1:33.1, as outstanding time for a two year old.
I’m kind of hoping his connections (from Great Britain) will consider the Kentucky Derby for this guy.
Bobby’s Kitten set a suicidal pace (:22.1, :45.3 and 1:09.2) but I thought he held well to be third beaten less than two lengths. After the race, owner Ken Ramsey fired jockey Javier Castellano for the ride. I like Castellano…a lot actually….but I can’t blame Ramsey for that move.
Goldencents made every pole a winning one while carving out screaming fractions (:22, :44.3, 1:08.3) and although understandably tiring late, held on to win very convincingly.
Second and third place finishers Golden Ticket (7-1) and Brujo de Olleras (also 7-1) both ran good races while closing well late. (Note the Golden/Golden exacta).
The highly touted Verrazano, who looked magnificent in the paddock but a little sweaty and nervous in the post parade, was wrangled back to fifth by regular jockey John Velasquez and began to actually lose ground on the turn for home. Once he got into the stretch the gorgeous son of More Than Ready bored out a bit yet still managed to pass two horses to finish fourth in his swan song race.
Juvenile Turf (Fillies)
Chriselliam (7-1), from Ireland, absolutely exploded in deep stretch to win this one going away in stakes record time
Tessa Rossi, from France, came from out of nowhere to grab second at 10-1 in a good showing.
Colonel Joan outran her 37-1 odds by getting up for third and was beaten just three lengths for all the money.
The previously once beaten Vorda (also from France) finished a disappointing seventh as the (almost) 3-1 favorite.
Breeder Cup Distaff
Beholder used every bit of her “home field advantage” and a change in tactics to wallop perhaps the most competitive field the Breeders Cup had to offer.
The nice looking filly surprised us (or at least me) by rating back in third position early and allowing Authenticity to set the early pace.
With two time champion Delta Royal in front of her and four time Grade: 1 stakes winner Princess of Sylmar lurking behind her, Beholder swept to the lead at the quarter pole and quickly opened up 3 ½ lengths on the field before crossing the finished line a conclusive 4 ¼ lengths in front.
Second place finisher Close Hatches showed a good burst of speed leaving the half mile pole and sustained it, but no way she was catching the winner.
Delta Royal prompted the pace through out but was backing up at the quarter pole before finishing a well beaten fourth. At this writing I’m not sure what her future plans are but if you ask me, it’s a no brainer….she’s done…no more.
Princess of Sylmar was never in contention and might have been the biggest disappointment of all the 14 Breeders Cup races. (Well either her or Game On Dude, more on that later).
I’m not sure if the long (and very successful) 2013 racing campaign that took it’s took on her (Remember her owner originally wanted to put her away after the Beldame Stakes) or she didn’t like the Santa Anita surface because the chestnut filly I saw out there was not Princess of Sylmar.
To me, it looked a little of both. She didn’t look right to me in the post parade and she also appeared to be struggling with the surface.
Regardless of that, the three year old champion filly division just got a whoooole lot more interesting.
Juvenile Fillies (dirt)
32-1 shot Ria Antonia was placed first in perhaps one of the worst disqualification I’ve ever witnessed.
She’s a Tiger took the lead from the start and cut scorching fractions (:22.2, :45.2, 1:09.1). She was clearly tired in the last sixteenth of the race but dug in and held on gamely for the win. This after an ever so slight brush with Ria Antonia…watch it for yourself again (below), I was shocked they took her down.
The race was also marred by a spill. Secret Compass broke down (and had to be euthanized) and top jockey John Velazquez was thrown to the ground. Unknown at the time, he suffered a ruptured spleen which in turn had to be surgically removed later in the day.
“I just left the hospital; Johnny’s resting,” reported Darrell Haire, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild. “It’s a pretty serious operation so they cut him pretty good. It’s very painful”.
“He just looked like he needed some rest, didn’t have much color; he’ll be there for a couple of days but everything seems to be going well. Initially the medication didn’t agree with him but he’s okay, thank God.”
Yes, the BC Juvenile Dirt Filly race was not a pretty one, in more ways than one.
Filly and Mare Turf
Dank, another European, sat just off the early pace before taking the lead in mid-stretch and then held off late charges from Romantica (Great Britain) and 16-1 shot Alterite (France) in an all European triple that paid $103.00.
Dank, who broke the stakes record, was one of only a handful of betting favorites during the two day event that came thru for her backers.
The Americans were thoroughly disappointing with Marketing Mix (5th), Tiz Flirtatious (6th), and Saratoga lover Laughing (7th)
Filly and Mare Sprint
Groupie Doll successfully defended her BC F&M Sprint title with perhaps the gamest performance we saw all day.
The now 6 year old chestnut mare was seventh in the early going but made her way to the lead while running the first six furlongs in an astounding 1:08 flat.
I thought she was home free at that point but the talented and underrated Judy the Beauty and Dance Card both came with enormous late runs to try to catch her, but Groupie Doll flat out refused to lose and hung on to win by a diminishing half length.
Groupie Doll finished the seven furlongs in a hot 1:20.3
Mizdirection was the third winning favorite in a row and the third for jockey Mike Smith. Albeit, she was forced to go 5 wide on the turn for home she was able to run down Reneesgotzip in the final yards for the win.
You knew Mizdirection was going to run huge, and she did, after posting that mind-boggling 5 furlong work last week (:57.3)
Kudos to Reneesgotzip for cutting absolutely white hot early fractions (:21.2, :43.1 and an incredible 1:06.2 for six furlongs) and was still battling at the wire to dead heat with 18-1 shot Tightend Touchdown for the place spot.
Juvenile Colt (Dirt)
This race also had a couple of surprises. First off, it looks like Bob Baffert might have yet another Kentucky Derby bound horse as New Years Day, (10 1/2 -1 odds) came from 8th position early, ran “up the fence” and caught a very tough and speedy Havana for the win.
Havana surprisingly was as far back as 5th early (I thought for sure he’d be on the early lead) took the lead turning for home and opened up by 2 lengths in mid-stretch. He was yet another who I thought was home free, but, like the rest of the field, wasn’t doing any serious late running.
Strong Mandate, who I thought would come from behind, took the lead after a half mile and hung on very well to get third, beaten about 2 ½ lengths.
Yep, this race was confusing to me as will be the voting for two year old champion colt.
12.50-1 shot Magician (yet another European) came from out of nowhere (second to last down the backside) and passed seven horses down the stretch, including 3-2 favorite The Fugue, to win this race in yet another upset.
The Fugue ran her lungs out and came up just short….
Point of Entry loomed boldly at the quarter pole and had a solid stretch run; I just think he wasn’t at his best coming off an injury and, essentially, one race since February. It is unconfirmed at this writing but I believe it’s off to stud for this guy.
Nothing short of an amazing comeback completed by the winner Secret Circle.
Injured in the Arkansas Derby 18 months ago, this colt had a year off, one prep race (impressive win), then wins the BC Sprint?…you don’t see that all that often.
Laugh Track, who at 16-1 came from almost last to pull a huge upset, finished second, beaten just a neck for the whole thing in a very good performance.
Gentleman’s Bet held well for third after ripping off fast early fractions including a half mile in a supersonic :43.3 and five furlongs in an equally quick :55.4.
Shame on you if you jumped off the Wise Dan ship….I didn’t…and I thought the $3.60 win payoff was a gift. They couldn’t beat this horse even with his bad start and (3) wide trip.
Once again, the chestnut gelding assumed command of the race at the top of the lane and slowly inched away from runner up Za Approval, who incidentally ran the best race that no-one noticed.
At 31-1 and the longest shot on the board, third place finisher Silentino ran a surprisingly big race.
In my preview, I stressed Mucho Macho Man loves the Santa Anita and, for once, I wasn’t wrong. That’s three races over this track and three powerhouse performances.
“M3” rated kindly early, took over the race leaving the three eighths pole and although clearly tiring in the last 100 yards, he had enough to hold off the oncoming, and now quite possibly three year old champion, Will Take Charge’s furious stretch rally. I still don’t understand how this colt was 12-1 on the morning line and almost 7-1 post time…no way either of those numbers should have been that high.
Declaration of War ran an enormous race as well; the handsome colt was third beaten a head and a nose.
Last year’s winner Fort Larned was among the early leaders but was fading on the turn for home before coming home fourth…..
Palace Malice didn’t get a good start and was as many as 5 wide at point. It appears he was bumped in the upper stretch which I’m sure didn’t help his situation. The Belmont Stakes winner checked in sixth.
Paynter was overmatched and checked in seventh. He’s off to stud duty now.
If he stays in training, they should keep Flat Out in New York and at Belmont Park….
Game On Dude is now 0 for 3 in BCC’s. The gelding was among the early leaders and showed absolutely nothing down the stretch. The fact that he needs the lead to be effective and I’m not so sure he is enamored by 10 furlongs…he can get all 10, but I don’t think he likes the last one….very disappointing performance.
Thanks for reading…
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