A thrilling stretch duel in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is what will define Horse Racing’s Championship Day(s) in 2012. The marquee $5- million Match, drew eleven Competitors out to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California today, just one of several title-deciding races held Friday and today. Racing Fans got exactly what they had hoped for – a real Battle to the Finish, watching Fort Larned win the Classic by a head over Mucho Macho Man. Race Favourite Game on Dude who finished second in the same Event last year, placed a troubled seventh this year, causing many to criticize Trainer Bob Baffert‘s decision to replace Woodbine-birthed Rider Chantal Sutherland mid-season after much success with her. “That was the worst race of his Career”, Baffert tells NBC Sports.
Even though all eyes were on the day’s big Finale, it was a stunning Victory from Wise Dan in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile which ultimately sealed the deal for the five-year-old Gelding as North America’s Horse of the Year, based on the strength of three consecutive Grade I wins this Season, including a giant Victory at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack this September in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Under just a bit of urging from John Velazquez, Wise Dan steered clear of last year’s Kentucky Derby Winner, Animal Kingdom to set a Course Record with a sizzling time of 1:31.78 for the one-mile Event. The Champ even took a minute to Re-Tweet me today (below) after his Win. Great to see he’s so versed in Social Media!
Unbeaten in five starts, two-year-old Colt Shanghai Bobby has stamped himself a deserving Favourite for next year’s Kentucky Derby. Jockey Rosie Napravnik guided him to a Win in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, solidifying his standing as the best two-year-old Colt in North America. Napravnik has the distinction of being only the second female Jockey ever to win a Breeders’ Cup Race.
Royal Delta on Friday for a second year in-a-row, won the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic under famed Jockey Mike Smith, en route to in all likelihood being voted Champion Older Filly or Mare at the forthcoming Eclipse Awards. She was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Filly last year and now has earned a remarkable $3.7 million in only 15 races. Word is that she’s United Arab Emirates-bound for the $10-million Dubai World Cup.
The Canadian Contingent fared well at the Breeders’ Cup this year with a pair of Runner-Up finishes. Delegation finished a bang-up third under Toronto-based Rider Patrick Husbands in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile; he was just at Woodbine a couple weeks back winning the Durham Cup Stakes. Meanwhile stellar Filly Marketing Mix, finished second yesterday in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Spring in the Air, a major Contender (and my personal pick) for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in Canada, finished a respectable fifth in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday under Husbands also.
Celebrity Horse Racing Fans who were named Ambassadors at this year’s Breeders’ Cup include the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Toby Keith and Bo Derek, while legendary Crooner Tony Bennett was called-upon to sing at the Post Parade for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, also presenting the winning Trophy post-Race to the Connections of Fort Larned.
Watch the Recaps of the Races over at the Official Website for the Breeders’ Cup right here. How could you not love this Sport?
Lightning struck the tree twice as Irish-bred Joshua Tree (Ire) – a hunch bet for U2 Fans – won the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International a second time today at Woodbine Racetrack, keeping Dandino (GB) and Forte Dei Marni (GB) in second and third, respectively. Known as Canada’s richest Horse Race, the mile-and-a-half Turf Race brought together some of the World’s best Jockeys and Horses together for what was a fantastic Card of Racing this afternoon at the Toronto Oval.
Joshua Tree had won the prestigious Grade I race back in 2010 and finished a game second in 2011, but improved upon that again this year with a half-length score under the guidance of charismatic Frankie Dettori. Today’s Victory pushes the Bankroll of the five-year-old Son of Montjeu (Ire) and Madeira Mist (Ire), past the $3.15-million mark for Owners Mr. K. K., Al Nabooda and Mr. K. Albahou. The Final Time was 2:30.4 (five seconds off the Course Record) on a damp course listed in “Good” condition.
Dettori, who widely is regarded as one of the greatest Jockeys of all time, played-up his Celebrity in the Walking Ring, posing for Photographers before the E.P. Taylor Stakes where he was scheduled to ride Longshot Havant (GB). Racing Fans were ecstatic, swarming him for Autographs and Photos repeatedly, sparking Security to step-it-up a notch. Above this, Top Jockeys like Mike Smith, Javier Castellano, Ryan Moore, John Velazquez, Olivier Peslier and Ramon Dominguez – the latter who won the Nearctic Stakes aboard Next Question earlier on the Card – were accessible and more than happy to meet and interact with their Fans, who rarely get a chance to see them in these parts.
The Ladies also had a chance to shine today in the $1-million E.P. Taylor Stakes with favoured Siyouma (Ire) winning by about two lengths under French-born and Hong Kong-based Jockey, Gérald Mossé. The four-year-old Filly is peaking at just the right moment for Owner Robert Jeffcock, now earning $840k in just ten races. Pagera (Fr) and Dream Peace (Ire) finished closely behind Siyouma (Ire) in that exact order, while locally-trained Kissable (Ire) mustered a respectable fourth-place finish.
Although the Races at Woodbine continue up until the end of November, this is the last high-profile Fixture of the Season. There still is however, plenty of time left to check out the Races in 2012! Check their Schedule here.
Here’s a bit of Footage I got of Joshua Tree (Ire) and Dettori following their Win: