#HORSERACING: “WISE DAN” SOLIDIFIES “HORSE OF THE YEAR” TITLE WIN BREEDERS’ CUP WIN
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?
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)