Breeders’ Cup Horse Bits
Horse Bits from the Breeders’ Cup
Breeders’ Cup Classic/Arrogate:
Fresh off Arrogate’s victory after a duel with California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it was looking likely that the 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song will be heading back to the track again next year.
Garrett O’Rourke, the racing manager for Juddmonte Farm, said the decision will have to be run by Prince Khalid Abdullah, “but I think the pointers are that he will definitely race next year.”
“Yes!” Arrogate’s trainer, Bob Baffert, exclaimed.
“Double yes!” jockey Mike Smith piped up.
O’Rourke quipped, “That’s the good news. The bad news is we’re going to bring him to England.”
“I’ll go to England,” Smith responded. “Just call me English Mike.”
The Hall of Fame jockey described Arrogate as “literally prancing after the race was over.”
“… Most horses hang their head and have to take a breath or two before they can even turn around and come back after going a mile and a quarter. He hasn’t run in two months and he was literally dancing,” Smith told reporters.
Baffert — who won his third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Classic — said his friend, fellow trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, told him, “You always seen to pull a rabbit out of your hat on these big days.”
“He used another word instead of that, though,” Smith joked.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff/Beholder:
Beholder had lost her last three races — once to California Chrome and twice to last year’s champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind — in the months leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but her connections didn’t lose any confidence in the three-time Eclipse Award winner as she prepared for her final race before retiring.
“She’s a bigger, stronger Beholder than she was,” her jockey, Gary Stevens, said. “People say she’s lost a step. They haven’t been on her back.”
Her trainer, Richard Mandella, added, “She looks as good as ever, trains as good as ever. I’m not going to go in thinking we’re not as good. I’m going in thinking we’re going to knock it out of the park.”
After Beholder’s victory by a nose to the previously undefeated 3-year-old filly Songbird in a thrilling stretch duel, Stevens said Beholder had “laid her heart out there on the race track and gave me absolutely everything that was running through her veins.”
The mare’s owner, B. Wayne Hughes, quipped, “Well, I was very anxious for Gary to do exactly what I told him, and he followed my directions perfectly.”
Hughes told reporters Friday that “we’re debating between a couple of different stallions” when asked if he had picked out a “partner” for Beholder.
“Say I don’t know,” Mandella told him.
“Richard’s advice is say, `I don’t know.’ … That would be a lie, but I guess I’ll do it anyway,” Hughes said.
Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm has subsequently announced that Beholder will be bred to Uncle Mo in 2017.
Breeders’ Cup Turf/Highland Reel:
Trainer Aidan O’Brien said the Japan Cup is one of the options for Turf winner Highland Reel following his victory by 1 3/4 lengths over the Chad Brown-trained Flintshire.
“So, obviously the lads will think and talk about what they want to do. Obviously the Japan Cup is only three weeks away, and Hong Kong is then obviously three weeks after that,” O’Brien said, calling the 4-year-old son of Galileo “an incredibly versatile horse that loves traveling.”
Highland Reel’s stablemate, Found, finished in third.
Derrick Smith, part of the trio that owns Highland Reel and Found, told reporters that Found “ran a super race.”
“I think just today nothing was going to beat Highland Reel, and that’s the way it was,” he said.
Breeders’ Cup Mile/Tourist:
When asked if Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tourist was going to continue his racing career, Winstar Farms’ president/chief executive officer and racing manager, Elliott Walden, said, “We’re going to talk about it as a group, but when you win a race like that against the best milers in the world, and he’s 5 years old, he’ll probably go to stud.”
Tourist’s trainer, Bill Mott, responded with a laugh, “No, he’s doing good. Wait a minute. Stud? What are you talking about? Come on. (The) horse is getting warmed up.”
It was Tourist’s third appearance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He finished 13th in 2014 and eighth last year at Keeneland.
Mott said that Tourist “got knocked to the middle of the race track” during his first trip to Santa Anita two years ago and lost all chance, and that Tourist “doesn’t really care for” the “very, very soft ground” that came up for the Breeders’ Cup last year and that he’d had a “little bit of a foot issue going into the race.”
But the son of Tiznow came into this year’s Breeders’ Cup in perfect shape, Mott said.
“We got the ground we needed and the trip that we desired, and the rest is history. Just put it in the record book,” Mott said.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Classic Empire:
Classic Empire’s trainer, Mark Casse, said he would vote for the son of Pioneerof the Nile to win the Eclipse for 2-year-old colt if he could.
“I just wanted to tell you I’m voting for him as champion 2-year-old if anybody’s wondering. Of course I don’t get a vote,” he said.”
“Hey, I’ll vote for that,” the colt’s owner, John Oxley, said.
“Me, too,” jockey Julien Leparoux added.
Eclipse Award winners are chosen by voters from the Daily Racing Form, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
On a somber note, Oxley said the Breeders’ Cup win was “what we’ve been hoping for for many years now, a horse that might replace (2001 Kentucky Derby winner) Monarchos, whom we just lost.”
Oxley said he loves the journey up to the Triple Crown races.
“Each one will be a wonderful goal and a wonderful stop, we hope, and we hope the good fortune lasts,” he said.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies/Champagne Room:
Champagne Room ran into an unexpected workmate in her last work before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies — Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Hoppertunity.
“Going into her races, her last work, she happened to break in with Hoppertunity, and that didn’t work out too well. But it still probably made her the fittest horse in the race,” her trainer, Peter Eurton, said after her win at odds of more than 33-1 — the second longest odds — in the $2 million race.
It was Champagne Room’s second victory in five starts.
Her trainer said he expects that the owners will want to send the daughter of Broken Vow to the Kentucky Oaks next year.
“We’ll just have to sit down and enjoy this one first and then chart out a plan for next year,” Eurton said.
Breeders’ Cup Cup Filly and Mare Turf/Queen’s Trust:
Queen’s Trust’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, said he decided he really wanted Queen’s Trust to have a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf after a second-place finish and two thirds in five starts this year in Great Britain, but wasn’t optimistic her connections would agree with him.
“But, fortunately, they came up with an affirmative, and thank God they did,” Stoute told reporters after the 3-year-old filly won by a nose over Lady Eli, who was making her third start this year after a battle with laminitis.
Jockey Frankie Dettori said he initially thought he would be a “good third” on Queen’s Trust and then “she started to motor.”
“She got into top gear and we flashed past the line. I was pretty much sure that we won,” he said.
Chris Richardson, the managing partner of Cheveley Park Stud, described the daughter of Dansili as having “a huge amount of potential” and said “she certainly will be staying in training next year.”
Breeders’ Cup Sprint/Drefong:
Bob Baffert — who had his first win of this years Breeders’ Cup with Sprint victor Drefong — said watching the 3-year-old son of Gio Ponti duel with the bettors’ favorite, Masochistic, was “almost like watching Beholder and Songbird” in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“It’s one of those things that I’m just lucky that I happened to be on the better end of it,” he said.
Martin Garcia — who is riding for Baffert again after a break that the trainer said was spurred by a need for “some separation” — was aboard Drefong after jockey Mike Smith opted to ride Masochistic, who wound up 1 1/4 lengths behind in second.
The colt is owned by Charlie Chu, but his wife, Susan, is the one who first approached Baffert about training horses for her after a trip to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby four or five years ago. She said she was repeatedly unsuccessful in trying to reach the trainer who she said has “so many people (who) blocked me” from reaching him. She said she wound up buying an airline ticket and flying to California in an attempt to convince Baffert to train for her.
“So, he asked me, `Are you sure you want to do horse racing?’ I said, `Yes.’ And so, he said, `O.K., I’ll help you,” Susan Chu said.
“I was trying to talk her out of it,” Baffert retorted.
Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint/Finest City:
Jockey Mike Smith — who won three Breeders’ Cup races over the weekend — said it never gets old being at the Breeders’ Cup.
“We’re getting toward the end of my career so every one of these means a whole lot to me,” the 51-year-old jockey told reporters. “I’ve got to get that Breeders’ Cup record as high as I can because these young guys behind me, man, they’ll catch me so quick, so (I’m) trying to get it as high as I can.”
Finest City — who provided trainer Ian Kruljac with his first stakes winner in the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos in April — also got him his second graded stakes win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
The 4-year-old City Zip filly came in three-quarters of a length ahead of defending champ Wavell Avenue at odds of nearly 9-1.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint/Obviously:
The 8-year-old Irish-bred gelding Obviously was twice as old as some of his competitors in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but managed a win by a nose in his fifth Breeders’ Cup appearance after leading throughout the race at his home track.
He had previously raced four times in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, with his best finish a third-place in 2012.
“You know we wanted to change it up,” Obviously’s trainer, Philip D’Amato, said. “We tried the mile a bunch of times and kind of always got caught around (the) 16th pole. He had run in the past down the hill with some success …”
One of Obviously’s owners, Tony Fanticola, said the win was “one for the old guys.”
“He doesn’t know he’s 8,” Fanticola said.
Obviously’s trainer called him “just a wonder horse in my eyes” and said he didn’t see any slowing in him in his training.
“We’ll give him a little break and maybe campaign him next year and see what happens,” D’Amato said.
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile/Tamarkuz:
“He’s been a little unlucky. But he had the potential, and he had the past performances in winning the Godolphin Mile (in 2015) so we’re just happy it all worked out today for him to win this very important race,” Tamarkuz’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, said.
“Well, now all the media knows why Frosted is running in the Classic. We thought we had one good enough to win the Mile already,” McLaughlin said.
Frosted ended up finishing a disappointing sixth in the Classic, with McLaughlin saying after that race that “it just didn’t go well at all.”
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf/Oscar Performance:
The connections of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Oscar Performance haven’t even really thought about running the Kitten’s Joy colt on the dirt, his trainer, Brian Lynch, told reporters after the race.
“He’s a Kitten’s Joy out of a Theatrical mare so his pedigree’s definitely top and bottom grass,” Lynch said.
He said he’ll talk about the next step with John and Jerry Amerman, who won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff with Adoration in 2003.
“But he definitely deserves a nice little break after today’s performance. You know that’s his fourth start as a 2-year-old. I think that’s plenty for him, and we look forward to him in the spring,” Lynch said.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf/New Money Honey:
Bob and Kristine Edwards of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds are new owners who haven’t even won a maiden race yet.
But they were victorious in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with New Money Honey, who won the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf after breaking her maiden in the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park.
“It’s a great experience,” Bob Edwards said. “We’ve only won stakes races, thanks to great horses, great talent, great bloodstock agents…”
Trainer Chad Brown said he thinks the “sky’s the limit” for the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro.
“I think this filly has an unbelievable future, and it’s the first horse in this race I’ve ever cross-entered in the dirt race because she trains well on dirt as well,” Brown said. “Thankfully we made the right call. But it’s not even out of the question that we give her a spin on the dirt before a race like the Kentucky Oaks just to be sure. I think she’s that talented.”