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Nov 12, 2010

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            The Breeders’ Cup 2010 is over and what a Breeders’ Cup it was. There were 14 races over two days and we will look at three most compelling races.

            The first race that we will look is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, run over 1 and 1/16th miles and it carries a purse of $2 million dollars. There was a field of 10 that went postward with UNCLE MO going off as the 7-5 favorite. As the gates opened longshot, RIVETING REASON came out of the gate running and set the pace with UNCLE MO sitting just off his flank in second with J.B.’S THUNDER and BOYS AT TOSCONOVA racing in third and fourth. As they moved down the backstretch the fractions of 23:2, 47:1, 1:11:4 were decent splits. Moving toward the top of the lane the undefeated UNCLE MO took over the lead and began to draw away leading by more than four lengths at the wire in a dominating performance over the second choice BOYS AT TOSCONOVA who was six lengths clear of the show horse ROGUE ROMANCE. The final splits of the race, the mile in 1:36:1 was very good and the 1:42:3 final time was also a solid effort. UNCLE MO ran his record to 3 for 3 for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Repole Stable. He has cemented himself as the favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby and should win the Eclipse for Two Year old champion. The plan is to give UNCLE MO probably just two preps leading up to the Derby but that can change depending on how the winter goes. It should be a very exciting year for three year olds in 2011 with UNCLE MO leading the way.      

            In the Breeders’ Cup Mile we had the pleasure of watching history unfold right before our very eyes. GOLDIKOVA, the five year old mare who has won the two previous running’s of the Breeders’ Cup Mile both at Santa Anita was going for three wins in this race which would be a Breeders’ Cup record. After breaking from the gate and settling in seventh early on behind moderate splits for this class of horses. As they moved on the turn the pace began heating up and GOLDIKOVA was moving into contention. She moved right by the leaders with consummate ease and held safe to the wire over last year’s turf champion GIO PONTI. It was announced after the race by her trainer Freddie Head, that if all goes well she will try for a fourth Breeders’ Cup Mile next year. After this year’s performance I wouldn’t doubt it.

            Finally the last race that we will look at is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This year’s Classic was much anticipated for many reasons. The first was that ZENYATTA was going for two in a row and trying to run her record to 20 for 20. The second reason was this was the best Classic in terms of quality that we have seen in a while. What a race it turned out to be. There was a field of 12 that went postward with ZENYATTA going off as the even money choice with LOOKIN AT LUCKY the second choice at 4.90-1 and BLAME and QUALITY ROAD at 5-1 and 6-1 respectively. As the gates opened FIRST DUDE came out running with QUALITY ROAD, HAYNESFIELD and ESPOIR CITY pressing the pace. As they entered the far turn and into the lane the leaders started to tire and BLAME took over with ETCHED pressing while LOOKIN AT LUCKY looming in third. Through the lane BLAME put away LOOKIN AT LUCKY but ZENYATTA who was so far back early got to the outside and flew home just missing by a head as her perfect record came to an end. However, she ran better in defeat that she had in any of her wins and proved to her doubters that she is a great mare and has a place in history. The third place spot went to FLY DOWN with LOOKIN AT LUCKY in fourth. QUALITY ROAD who was up close early on didn’t run well at all tiring badly to finish 12th and last. BLAME has been retired and any decision on ZENYATTA is not confirmed and it would be great to see her race once again next year.

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