The Synthetic Track proved to be a great equalizer for the European contingent, but the American runners were not shamed by any means at Breeders’ Cup 25.
Raven’s Pass ran a brilliant final furlong under Frankie Dettori, passing defending champ Curlin, rallying Henrythenavigator, and synthetic specialist Go Between. The 3yo miler by Elusive Quality had spent the year battling New Approach in Europe, and carried his form well over to the opposite side of the world(and 2 extra furlongs).
As for Curlin, the Golden Warrior looked like a winner going into the final turn, but he just couldn’t sustain his drive. Whether it was the surface or simply not his day, only the horse knows. Tiago closed ferociously for 3rd, which would suggest Curlin didn’t like the track so much (the closest Tiago got to Curlin before Saturday was a 3rd in the ’07 Belmont).
The Classic results also give us a better idea of how good the ’08 3yo crop actually is. It’s not flattering, at least for the US-based horses. Colonel John was our best 3yo finisher, coming in 6th and Smooth Air followed in 7th. Casino Drive set the early pace but faded badly to last. These are horses who have been running lights out against their own generation, but were unable to threaten in open company. It is a shame that Big Brown was injured, because he would have totally changed the dynamic of the race and also had the opportunity to convince his remaining critics. Brown will most likely get the Eclipse for champion 3yo, but not without a few votes for Raven’s Pass.
And what about Raven’s Pass? I hope that Princess Haya keeps him in training. He has proven he can run 10 furlongs, which just happens to be the same distance as a little race in Dubai. He would make the ’09 handicap season more interesting here in the states as well – a triple threat on turf, poly and perhaps dirt? His sire also gave us Smarty Jones, so it’s not out of the question.
ZENYATTA kept her perfect record at 9 wins, and did it with ease. It is so much fun watching her run. She does that funny “spanish walk” when she goes to the post. She always breaks slowly, and the makes a huuge run at the end, passing everybody else like they were hitchhikers on I-40. SHe has beaten everybody, former BC distaff champ, quality speed horses, talented 3yo divas, on poly and dirt (at my home track of Oaklawn, no less). It would have been awesome if Zenyatta had the chance to face Zarkava, the filly Arc winner. If I had a vote for Eclipses, Zenyatta would be my HOTY. Hey Jerry Moss & John SHeriffs, BRING ZENYATTA BACK TO OAKLAWN!!!
Muhannak won the Marathon…I should have bet that race; I would have been set for the rest of the day…
Euros run 1-2 in the Juvy turf, with Donativum getting the better of Westphalia…should see those 2 duking it out in the Darby next year…
GOLDIKOVA, the “dainty filly” slices through a microscopic hole and accelerates like a fine motor car o win the Mile. Kip Deville, last year’s mile winner, runs 2nd. The Dutrow trainee now knows what it is like to get “beat by a girl”.
MIDNIGHT LUTE made BC history by winning the SPrint for the 2nd time in a row. Lute battled back from a nasty quarter crack and a horrible finish in his prep race to win the Sprint by a length, in a final time of 1:07.08. Lute is the only 2-time winner of the Sprint. Trainer Bob Baffert says Midnight Lute is the best he has ever trained, and that’s a strong comment from the man who trained 3 Derby winners, including Real Quiet, the horse who has come closest to winning the TC in 30 years. Real Quiet is the sire of Midnight Lute.
Conduit won the Turf…Albertus MAximus won the dirt mile…Midshipman won the Juvy…Indian Blessing got beat by a scintillating Ventura in the F/M Sprint…
BC handle was up 5% from last year…people will bet regardless of the surface of the ridiculous name of the “ladies’ classic”…NO HORSES SUFFERED LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES!!