Day one is in the books and it was a day of longshots – unfortunately not MY longshots! I wrapped up the day this way:
It wasn’t the result of the Marathon that was so surprising (though at 10-1 you could say that was pretty surprising) but the ensuing disqualification and winner’s circle battle royale that was the surprise. You hear about jockey’s fist-fights “back in the day” but in today’s game, you just don’t expect to see that type of confrontation. After JJ Catellano’s mount, Prince Will I Am, slid toward the outside cutting off Martin Garcia aboard Romp nearly unseating the rider and sending him careening into Calvin Borel on my choice, A.U. Miner, effectively taking him out of the race. Prince Will I Am finished 2nd while A.U. Miner could only get up for fourth. While weighing out after the race, Borel approached Castellano and was apparently lecturing to him which Castellano objected to and the fist fight ensued.
While Borel’s anger was justified, especially if he felt he had plenty of horse under him, on this kind of stage you need to be able to contain your anger and wait until the jock’s room. Quite frankly if anyone should have been throwing punches it should have been Garcia. In an amazing display of athleticism and luck, Garcia was out of the saddle and heading to a bad fall as Romp started to go down. He was able to pull the horse up and, in no small part to bumping into Borel, was able to keep from going over the right flank of Romp and onto the dirt.
There was also a race involved here and it was Gabriel’s Hill trying to go wire to wire but was denied by Eldaafer and a great ride by Velazquez with A.U. Miner benefitting from the DQ of Prince Will I Am to take third.
A.U. Miner (Choice)
Juvenile Fillies Turf
So much for Euro’s on the turf – at least in this race. Together never quite got it together and was never involved in the mix. Bobby Flay’s More Than Real under an excellent ride by Garrett Gomez pulled away from the field and put away heavily favored Winter Memories. More Than Real withstood an objection by Kent Desormeaux (who was probably at fault for any perceived interference anyway) to pick up Gomez’ 10th BC win.
The other highlight? The Starter loading the horses in the wrong chutes causing the horses to be unloaded and reloaded. It probably didn’t hurt anyone, but it made a goofy 2 for 2 for the Breeder’s Cup!
More Than Real
My choice in this one, Together, finished a lackluster 5th.
With the speedy Rightly So scratched this morning, Gabby’s Golden Girl took the early lead by default with my choice, Champagne d’Oro, finally nestled in on her outside. Champagne d’Oro was off a step slow and probably was hustled a bit too much and, while she took the lead briefly entering the stretch, she had nothing left in the tank when Dubai Majesty breezed on past her and drew away to a convincing victory.
Oddity this race? Probably that nothing odd actually happened!!
My choice, Champagne d’Oro, finished 4th.
I finally break through with a win! Awesome Feather ran a very tough race and turned away R Heat Lightening in the stretch to win in a rumble. Sanchez scores in his first Cup race and rode Awesome Feather beautifully tracking the speed nicely and then fighting through the stretch for a win. Delightful Mary hustled for third.
Awesome Feather (Choice)
R Heat Lightening
If you had Shared Account then you are my hero. I went chalk and got beat in a stirring stretch run. Doing his best imitation of Calvin Borel – the jockey, not the boxer – Edgar Prado got Shared Account through at the rail and outlasted Midday through the stretch. Unfortunately the same cover that gave Midday a breather through the race was the same cover that didn’t let her through until well into the stretch.
Shared Account (46-1!!!)
Kent Desormeaux used to confound me 20+ years ago as a bug boy in Maryland and he did it to me again, this time with Unrivaled Belle. The real news in this one was the inexcusable decision to run Life At Ten when it was obvious that she was in distress – or at least discomfort – prior to the race. The analysts knew from watching her and the jockey admitted as such to the TV crew, yet he said nothing to the vet there at the gate. Word after was that it was a tough call for Velasquez given the importance of the race and I call bullshit. If your horse is knowingly having trouble underneath you what the hell does the magnitude of the race mean if you’ve just discovered that you have no chance of winning?
On the front end, the race unfolded as predicted with Malibu Prayer taking the early lead. Desormeaux had Unrivaled Belle in great position around the race track, took command coming for home and easily put away my choice, Blind Luck, in the stretch. Havre de Grace did her usual ‘follow Blind Luck’ act and finished third. Adding insult to injury, I did NOT box Blind Luck and Unrivaled Belle in the exacta as I usually do and let a $58 payout just slip away.
Blind Luck (Choice)
Havre de Grace
See you tomorrow for Championship Saturday or what folks are already calling Zenyatta’s coronation. I’ll give you my thoughts on that tomorrow at 8 AM on Blog Talk Radio and have my picks up here shortly thereafter. Good luck.