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Nov 09, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               The Breeders’ Cup was run at Santa Anita on November 2nd and 3rd comprising 15 races on two exciting days. The coverage this year however, as most years left a lot to be desired. Other than the Breeders’ Cup Classic which was shown on NBC, most of the rest of the races were shown on NBCSN. Some of my friends that live in New York don’t even get that channel, not to mention that they missed races, once because, Delaware and Towson went into overtime. That says a lot about where the Breeders’ Cup stands in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention every time there is a horse racing broadcast they think they have to reinvent the wheel. No one watches the races the way they are shown on big days. It amazes me how you take a race and make it almost unwatchable, in fact I had to watch a few races on the computer just to get the track feed. Anyway, that’s something for another day. We will take a look at four of the Breeders’ Cup races.

               The first race we will look at is the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. There was a field of 10 horses that went postward with Groupie Doll going off as the 3-5 favorite. As the gates opened, the rail runner Teddy’s Promise was sent to the lead with second choice Dust And Diamonds in close pursuit, while Groupie Doll and jockey Rajiv Maragh was riding her to keep her close. Through solid fractions of 22:1, 44 they remained that way into the far turn. Midway through the turn Dust And Diamonds took over the lead but Groupie Doll, who leveled off was right on her flank. Into the lane Rajiv Maragh and Groupie Doll were in full gear and ran on by Dust And Diamonds going on to score by more than four lengths, Dust And Diamonds held on for a clear second while Switch closed well to finish third in a very solid final time of 1:20:3.

               The Breeders’ Cup Turf had a field of 12 that went postward with Point Of Entry going off as the 2-1 favorite. As the gates opened Turbo Compressor was sent hard by Joe Bravo with Optimizer sitting in second and Little Mike, normally on the lead racing in third. The fractions of the 1 and ½ race over the turf were very fast, 23:4, 46:3, 1:10:4, 1:35:1. As they moved around the far turn Little Mike made a move just off the rail to take over the lead. He held a clear lead into midstretch but Point Of Entry was gaining on him as was St Nicholas Abbey. Point Of Entry had to move off the rail in deep stretch and came up a half length short to Little Mike, St Nicholas Abbey finished up well for third and Trailbazer, the Japanese hopeful checked in fourth. The final time of the race was a very fast 2:22:4.

               In the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Horse of the Year Hopeful Wise Dan was sent off as the slight favorite over Excelebration, who was second choice at 2-1 with eight wins and four seconds, many of those coming against the great Frankel. AS the race unfolded, Obviously was sent to the lead while getting token pressure from Suggestive Boy through reasonable fractions of 23:1, 46 flat. As they moved to the far turn, Obviously still lead but Wise Dan was moving off the rail preparing his run into the lane. Wise Dan and jockey John Velasquez ran on by the leader and kicked home to score by 1 ½ in a very fast time of 1:31:3, for a track record time and a Breeders’ Cup record. Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner in 2011 ran huge for second while returning from a February layoff and encountering some trouble in the lane, Obviously held third over Excelebration.

               The Breeders’ Cup Classic was the final race of the day with 12 horses going postward and Game On Dude going off as the 6-5 favorite. As the gates opened Fort Larned was sent to the lead and Mucho Macho Man stalking the leader in second as Game On Dude, who is normally on the lead was forced to race in fifth after being compromised at the start just a bit. As they moved into the backstretch the leaders remained the same through fractions of 23:1, 46:2, 1:10 flat. Moving into the far turn Fort Larned opened up just a bit on the lead over Mucho Macho Man with Game On Dude making a three wide move to get into contention but never really threatening. As they entered the lane, Fort Larned still held the lead, Mucho Macho Man was gradually gaining ground and there was a big break back to Flat Out, who made a big move to get into third. As they came to the wire Fort Larned and jockey Brian Hernandez held on by just a half length over Mucho Macho Man and jockey Mike Smith, another 6 ½ lengths back in third was Flat Out and Ron The Greek checked in fourth. Game On Dude continued a disappointing weekend for his trainer Bob Baffert checking in seventh.

               It was an exciting weekend of racing, however, in my opinion there are many changes that need to be made if racing is going to prosper going forward and we can talk about those another day.



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