The Saturday Cup program got underway with the 2nd running of the Damascus Stakes, and Smart Bid rallied for the win under Jeremy Rose. Graham Motion saddled the winner.
Remember to click on the name of each Cup winner to view a replay.
The first of eight Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday went to Pounced, who did just that in the Turf Sprint. Chalk up another win for the euros. Bridgetown set the pace and held the place by a head over Interactif. Frankie Dettori booted home the John Gosden trainee.
California Flag was cooked on the pace in the ’08 Turf Sprint, but he controlled proceedings throughout in a sharp wire job this time around. Joe Talamo was the pilot. Downhill specialist Gotta Have Her rallied for the place, and Cannonball rounded out the trifecta.
Zensational was not a fast breaker, so he was in trouble after drawing the rail in the Sprint, and he was never comfortable in a disappointing but predictable 5th place finish. Four noses on the wire with CA-bred Dancing In Silks upsetting the applecart. Crown of Thorns, Cost of Freedom, and Gayego made up the rest of the top four. Joel Rosario got the win aboard the Carla Gaines trainee.
Bob Baffert did not get a break. Zensational was stuck on the rail in the Sprint, and his undefeated 2yo Lookin At Lucky was stuck in post 13 in the Juvenile. He had every right to fold after racing wide behind a tepid pace, but he rallied strongly under Gomez to just miss by a head. Overseas invader Vale of York was the stalk and pounce upset winner for Godolphin.
Goldikova won the ’08 BC Mile with a perfect trip, and some thought she was vulnerable from a bad post this time around. I thought she was impossible to beat, and she rolled from the back of the pack to prove a much the best repeat winner. Euros are on a roll!
Midshipman was my Dirt Mile top because of his pace advantage and ability to handle synthetic. He ran a fine race but was run down by my 2nd choice Furthest Land (Leparoux/Maker). Unfortunately, Ready’s Echo rallied to head my top out of the place, costing me a nice exacta.
Another overseas runner was attempting a grass repeat, and Conduit did just that in the Turf. He ran down a game Presious Passion, who opened up early as expected.
’09 was the year of the girls beating the boys, and girl power was on full display as Zenyatta stormed past eleven male rivals en route to an exciting BC Classic victory. Mike Smith had his regular seat aboard the John Shirreffs trainee. Turf specialists Gio Ponti and Twice Over took down the place and show, and Summer Bird completed the superfecta.
The 2-day Cup extravaganza was a smashing success, and the Horse of the Year debate begins. Is it 8 for 8 Rachel Alexandra, who beat grade one males three times, or is it 5 for 5 Zenyatta, who won the BC Classic for her 14th win from as many lifetime starts?