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FAVORITE BC RACE #2: LIKE A ROCK – or a DOME

Domedriver turned in one of the biggest upsets in BC Mile history when he defeated Rock of Gibraltar in 2002.  Today, he lives in luxury at a stud in France.

Domedriver turned in one of the biggest upsets in BC Mile history when he defeated Rock of Gibraltar in 2002. Today, he lives in luxury at a stud in France.

There’s just something about those big Breeders’ Cup upsets!  Volponi, Arcangues, Adoration…but my 2nd favorite Breeders’ Cup race is once again a Europe vs America mile on turf.  The 2002 BC was held at Arlington Park that year, and the talk of the track was Rock of Gibraltar, the top miler in Europe, winner of 7 Group 1s in a row & undefeated in 2002.  The Breeders’ Cup Mile was to be his coronation and farewell race. 

Thirteen other top milers lined up to challenge him, including Landseer, Beat Hollow, Forbidden Apple and Aldebaran (stretching out from 7f to 8).  At the start, Boston Common set a speedy pace on the yielding turf.  The rest of the field followed close behind, with The Rock in dead last. 

Boston Common gave way after 5f and was passed by Good Journey, but The Rock was still way back.  In the final turn, Landseer tragically took a bad step and broke down, sending the field swerving to avoid the stricken horse.  Rock had to check, as well as several others. 

In the stretch, Good Journey looked to have the whole thing in the bag, but Rock of Gibraltar had regained his momentum and was barreling down the center of the track.  On the rail, Domedriver had found his stride as well, and he slid up beside Good Journey, who battled fiercely to maintain his lead.  In the final strides, Domedriver got ahead of Good Journey, but The Rock was still coming on like a freight train…and just couldn’t make it! 

Domedriver dove under the wire a length and a half in front.  The Rock was defeated! 

His jockey, Mick Kinane, took a lot of flack for waiting so long and for dropping so far back in this race, but Landseer’s breakdown happened in The Rock’s direct path to glory.  Any lesser horse would not have been able to recover from such a sharp check let alone finish second driving.  Domedriver ran a helluva race, though.  He stayed on the rail the whole time and took advantage of a tiny opening.  It was an incredible upset, and one of my favorite BC races, despite Landseer.

Domedriver paid $54.00 to win, making him one of the biggest longshots in the Mile.

Today, he resides in France, at Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard.  Judging by his conformation photo, he looks like he’s enjoying life.

The Rock is at stud in Ireland at Coolmore.  He sired Eagle Mountain, who will race in the BC Turf on Saturday.

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Filed under Breeders' Cup, favorite races, Turf racing, Underrated Racehorses

Thank You, Mr. Bush

Thank You, Sincerely, Mr. Bush

Alysheba, 1987 KY Derby Winner, 88 Breeders Cup Classic winner, will return to the US.

Alysheba, 1987 KY Derby Winner, '88 Breeders' Cup Classic winner, will return to the US.

 

I thank Mr. Bush every day, believe it or not.  Usually, it is for some dumb thing the government has done, or for the latest war fatality.  But today I learned something that I must sincerely, no joke, thank Mr. Bush for his involvement.

First, some background:

In 2000, ALYSHEBA, ’87 KY Derby and ’88 BC Classic champion , an iron horse of the 80s, was sold to Saudi Arabia to stand at stud.  While his many fans were sad to see him go, it was a quiet journey to a mysterious land.  Not many updates came out of Saudi Arabia, but fans were content that he was getting the best care. 

In 2002, news shocked the racing world that the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had been murdered in a Japanese slaughterhouse.  The horse was also a Breeders’ Cup classic winner and fan favorite.  No one had been notified that the big red son of Nijinski II (the 1970 English TC winner) had completed his sire career.  Nobody knew that he had been sold for mere pennies to the kill buyers.  His American owners were outraged that they had not been given the opportunity to bring Ferdinand back to the states for a proper retirement.

Fans immediately began checking in with their favorite classic winners standing overseas.  Most of them were doing fine, and the foreign stud farms were put ON NOTICE that any American horse had BETTER be returned to the US.

Many such champions were returned, like Gato Del Sol, or the stable full who have been retired to Old Friends.  But still no word from Alysheba.

Yesterday’s top story was that finally, ALYSHEBA is coming home!!!

And it is all due to President Bush’s state visit to the Middle East.  According to the article linked above, Bush visited King Abdullah’s stables and was shown Alysheba.  Surprisingly, Bush recognized the horse’s name and accomplishment. 

Bush presented the king with an ornate western saddle, which inspired his Highness to return the favor.  It is an awesome gift, and a tribute to all of the fans and friends of the horse. 

Oh yeah, Alysheba will live out his days at the KENTUCKY HORSE PARK, in John Henry’s old stall.

Alysheba broke old John’s earnings record with his ’88 BC Classic win, and he was ridden by Chris McCarron. 

The ’88 Classic was the 2nd one in which Alysheba competed.  He was 2nd in the 1987 Classic as a 3yo – the older horse who beat him was Ferdinand.

Thank you, Mr. Bush.

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Filed under Breeders' Cup, retirements