Breeders’ Cup has it all, longshots, jockey fights and big-time controversy (“clearly she probably should not have run” – Todd Pletcher)

You could not have asked for a more memorable first day of the 27TH BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, really.

The very first race, the 1 3/4 mile MARATHON, saw Javiar Castellano make a mistake when swinging out the fancy 3yo PRINCE WILL I AM  late on the last turn and wiping out ROMP, who clipped heels and almost lost his jockey. Meanwhile, Calvin Borel, about A U Miner was also stopped cold and bumbled and lost all chance.

As ELDAAFER, the rags to riches story, was being led into the winner’s circle after winning the Marathon, Borel went after Castellano like a man possessed. With his face grimacing like Freddy Kruger, Borel tried to climb over people to get at the rider.

Certainly that left an impact in that rider’s mental state for the rest of the day. And surely one or both will be reprimanded by the Kentucky stewards in a harsh manner.

Meanwhile, ELDAAFER, a Shadwell cast-off, could have been claimed for $20,000 early in his career. He was, by Mansour Albaroudy, soon won the Brooklyn Stakes but then was beaten 24 lengths in this race last year.

from the Blood Horse:

“I loved the breeding on him,” he said. “I watched him the first time he ran. I couldn’t believe it. I claimed him. The day that I claimed him, I said, ‘I’m going to the Breeders’ Cup.’  They laughed at me.”

He ran the seldom-used 1 3/4 miles in 2:59.64, two-hundredths of a second faster than the previous track record.

In the Juvenile FILLIES TURF, Canadian based WYOMIA and NEW NORMAL were non-factors, although neither seemed to get the best of trips. The former was trapped on the rail for the stretch run in a frantic finish that was also a bit rough. The winer, MORE THAN REAL, was 13 to 1 off a big run at Woodbine in the Natalma Stakes.

Chef BOBBY FLAY is the owner of the More Than Ready filly.

DUBAI MAJESTY was 0 for 7 at 7 furlongs going into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint but won it anyway for her 4th win at Churchill.

How about the Florida bred AWESOME FEATHER? This is a gal who has never been beaten and she won the Juvenile Fillies with ease under Jeffrey Sanchez in his first ride in the Breeders’ Cup. The filly, who is hip no., 10 in next week’s Fasig Tipton sale, is by AWESOME OF COURSE (Awesome Again) out of Precious Feather, a Calder stakes winner.

The family is that of QUILL – a popular grass family with the likes of CAUCASUS in the mix.

DELIGHTFUL MARY ran well to be 3rd for trainer MARK CASSE and Americna owner John Oxley.

New owners SAGAMORE FARM (Kevin Plank) celebrated a win with SHARED ACCOUNT in the FILLY AND MARE TURF. The winner was 40 to 1 and hardly made sense but she edged a somewhat unlucky MIDDWAY, another favourite who went down the tubes.

Plank started the company UNDER ARMOUR….(from Wikipedia)… Kevin Plank was a football player with the University of Maryland who got tired of having to change out of the sweat-soaked T-shirts he wore under his jersey, so he made a T-shirt using moisture-wicking fabric for athletic performance[4] and founded the product on January 29, 1996.

The company is a supplier of a much wider range of sportswear and casual apparel.[5] Under Armour began offering footwear in 2006, and continues to expand its offerings.[6]

Actually, SAGAMORE FARM was established in 1925 (the Vanderbilt family) and the Maryland farm has traded hands a lot. Plank bought it in 2007 and is having it refurbished.

And then there was the LADIES’ CLASSIC. The ESPN coverage was second to none but it was the detailed anaylsis and reporting that eventually led to a massive mess-up.

LIFE AT TEN, at 7 to 2, one of the favourites, was not herself in the paddock, according to trainer TODD PLETCHER. She was docile and he tought she may be having a reaction to Lasix or muscle cramps. He said this before and after the race.

Meanwhile, jockey John Velasquez was being asked on TV by the hosts if the filly was “getting any better” and he said “not really”.

Incredibly, she was led into the gate.

There was all of a 3 or 4 minute window for anyone watching and listening to this ESPN feed to run and cancel their tickets – that would be a lot since she was 7 to 2.

If you were watching the drab simulcast channel, you were out of luck and had no idea. It was not a lot of time to change bets anyway.

So, Velazquez logically let the filly amble out of the gate and trail by miles and she was beaten half a mile.

Fans were left with losing tickets and never should have had to. She should have been scratched at the gate (or in the paddock for that matter).

Let’s hope this does not happen again (and again and again), the fans are getting the raw deal time and again. There should be heavy fines, etc. for trainers and jockeys who do not take into account the horse first and fans 2nd.

And hey , what about the track, its vets, steards, what are they doing?

UNRIVALED BELLE was a deserving winner of the Ladies Classic – she had a nice trip and held off a charging BLIND LUCK. Milwaukee Appeal was not a factor for the home team.


LOUISVILLE – Horse racing can’t help itself but find more trouble, even on its biggest days.

Instead of Day 1 of the Breeders’ Cup finishing with a victory by Unrivaled Belle in the $2 million Ladies Classic, it ended in a storm of controversy when Life At Ten was allowed to run despite the pleas of jockey John Velazquez.

Before the race, when being interviewed live by ESPN on the track, Velazquez stated that the 5-year-old mare wasn’t right.

“She didn’t want to run today,” Velazquez said after the race. “She wasn’t herself. I don’t know.”

Life At Ten was examined by a state veterinarian at the starting gate but allowed to race.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more_sports/2010/11/06/2010-11-06_velazquez_pleads_but_life_at_ten_runs.html?r=sports#ixzz14VhQ5RZQ


Brawling jockeys, long shots make for wild opening day at Breeders’ Cup

By Beth Harris (CP) – 10 hours ago

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Breeders’ Cup began with fists flying in the winner’s circle.

The mayhem was just starting.

Jockeys brawled and long shots dominated on a wild opening day, capped by Unrivaled Belle’s victory in the US$2-million Ladies’ Classic under the lights Friday at Churchill Downs.

Unrivaled Belle, co-owned by Montreal’s Peter Vegso, ran 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.04, winning by 1¾ lengths over 3-2 favourite Blind Luck in front of 41,614.

Jockeys Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano traded punches after the first Breeders’ Cup race, with an enraged Borel needing to be restrained. He was furious about a move in tight quarters by Castellano.

Shared Account scored the second-biggest upset in the event’s 27-year history, winning the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf at 46-1 odds on a grey and chilly day.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay earned his first Breeders’ Cup victory as owner of More Than Real in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.

American horses won all of the six races. No jockey or trainer won more than one race on a day where horses and riders got around safely.