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Breeders’ Cup Wrap-Up

Well, another Breeders’ Cup is over, but at least I’m only down $40. Here are my thoughts on each race:

Juvenile Fillies
Dreaming of Anna lived up to her pre-race hype; I’d be most interested to see her mature into a turf miler, though, rather than heading toward the Oaks next year.

Juvenile
Well, it was certainly impressive to see Street Sense’s 10-length victory; whether we’ve just seen his career-best will remain to be seen, but Circular Quay did better than I expected and Great Hunter was in the mix as well. I still think we’ll start to see next year’s real Triple Crown contenders over the next few weeks, but it was a much better showing than I anticipated.

Filly & Mare Turf
More brilliance from Ouija Board, of course, and fine efforts by Film Maker and Honey Ryder. Hitting the board in this race three times (particularly behind Ouija Board) as Film Maker has is nothing to be ashamed of. She also proved (again) she’s as game as they come. Wait a While was a bit disappointing, but I am looking forward to seeing her come back next year for another shot.

Sprint
I’d thrown out Bordonaro because I felt we’d seen his best in his last outing (which was very impressive), but didn’t expect Henny Hughes to be quite so lackluster. I like Thor’s Echo but I’d have never picked him. It’s nice to see his good second in the Golden Shaheen was no fluke. It didn’t exactly help my Pick Three, but it was a fun race to watch.

Mile
After I declared that Miesque’s Approval and Better Talk Now were fantastic but weren’t going to hit the board, they clearly had it in for me. Apart from Gorella’s poor showing, it was a great race. Top tip for ESPN: when you tell us that Miesque’s Approval’s ‘grandfather’ won this race as well, you get a pass for getting it wrong once. Repeating it is not cool. If you didn’t know Miesque is a mare, you might want to mark that one down for future reference. (In case you were wondering where she is now, she lives at Lane’s End, near her son Kingmambo).

Distaff
This was obviously a tough one to watch. On the one hand, Round Pond ran a great race (my only decent payoff of the day), and it was wonderful to see Michael Matz and Edgar Prado back together in the winner’s circle. Seeing two top horses go down was not part of the plan. Pine Island was never much to look at, but she was a classy runner. At least the news on Fleet Indian was more positive, although it really didn’t look good from the coverage. Another top tip for ESPN: let’s not keep showing the fatal breakdown — twice was too much. I think we’ve already been here with Go for Wand (I wonder if the Distaff statistically has more fatal breakdowns — it seems unlikely, but I’m curious). The rest of the coverage of the injuries was reasonably tasteful — letting the viewing public know what was going on was as far as it needed to go. Clearly the status of the horse is reflected in the injury coverage; when Funfair broke down in the Mile last year, mention of it was more of an afterthought. (We were at the race and saw it all too well; on television it was much harder to see what took place in that instance). Get well soon, Fleet Indian, and congrats to Round Pond. Note to the Baltimore Sun: Distaff implies female, last time I checked.

Turf
Another nice ride by Housewives’ Fav(u)oritetm Frankie Dettori (now also the Shoemaker Award winner) got Red Rocks into the winner’s circle; as mentioned above, Better Talk Now ran a great race to get up for second — Cacique didn’t really bring his A game to this one (rather like Hurricane Run). Nice showing by English Channel, though.

Classic
Kenny Mayne called it again! Invasor was, indeed, the best. Bernardini made a move on the turn for home that looked quite impressive — and Invasor just inhaled him. If this is what happens when Bernardini finally looks an opponent in the eyes, it wasn’t much of a response. It was hardly an embarassing defeat, but I would hope it was enough to keep Bernardini in training next year. I sincerely doubt it, but there’s no harm in hoping. Premium Tap’s solid third has been somewhat overlooked, but he and Giacomo were impressive. I’ve never been a Giacomo fan, but he ran a great race too — his fouth-place finish was not unimpressive.

Conclusions: Post one was clearly the place to be; earning over two million dollars in defeat is not a terrible fate; we need more research into track safety.

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