Welcome to the first Hooves Blog Breeder’s Cup Roundup!
Might as well get the bad news out of the way first. In the Juvenile Fillies race, Bob Baffert’s Secret Compass was euthanized after suffering a lateral condylar fracture and a dislocation. Her jockey John Velazquez took a hard fall and was taken to the hospital. A number of hours in, the doctors detected internal bleeding and just before the last cup race of the day, he was in surgery to have his spleen removed.
This first race wasn’t shown on TV as coverage hadn’t started yet, so I missed the race. I was able to catch a replay on livestream, but didn’t see the injury or fall take place. Just as well. We can argue all day long about racing two year olds, but I’m having a harder and harder time remembering a ‘big televised racing event’ happening WITHOUT a tragic end. I imagine what keeps people coming back year after year is that despite the tragedy the end of this race was thrilling. After leading the whole way, She’s A Tiger, hung on by a nose to win only then to be placed second behind Rio Antonia for a very minor bump in deep stretch.
The Filly and Mare Turf race went to the English horse, Dank. Who charged from the back in the stretch and then held off other hard charging horses. The time of the race was a new race record. I noticed after the race that Dank was bleeding from her mouth. I’m guessing she bit her tongue. She really fought her jockey through much of the race.
Groupie Doll and Wise Dan were both repeat winners in their respective races; Filly and Mare Sprint and The Mile on the Turf.
The post-race interview that irked me the most came from the owner of MizDirection, who was also a repeat winner in her race, The Turf Sprint. After a long layoff last year and after a long layoff this year, she came into both Breeder’s Cup races to dominate. She was to get on an airplane shortly after her race yesterday to be entered in a sale, presumably to begin a career as a broodmare. The owner was asked in the winner’s circle how he felt about the whole situation. To paraphrase; he said he was going to miss her, but it’s business. I admit, I yelled some obscenities at the TV screen.
The 1 3/4 mile Marathon was won by the UK horse London Bridge. Funnily enough, London Bridge is a New York bred. It was the first time the three year old colt had raced on Lasix. The days leading up to the race saw him struggle with the race surface, so his shoes were changed. The day before the race he was put in the starting gate and allowed to break. He came from way back and though he looked like he was flying at the end and an easy winner, I assure you, the rest of the horses were staggering badly for most of the stretch run. I could have out run them. London Bridge is apparently on his way to Australia next for a race. The Argentine horse, Ever Rider, was pulled up in this race by his jockey Gary Stevens. This horse was touted as the best conditioned horse prior to the race by all the race announcers. Pfft! The horse walked off on his own and it was later reported that Gary pulled him up because he tired badly. No injury reported.
One of the best looking horses on the day was the Goldolphin two year old colt, Outstrip. He came from way behind to win the Juvenile Turf race. Bobby’s Kitten was the heavy favorite in this race and his jockey put him out front in blistering fractions. He battled hard with Giovanni Boldini in the stretch, but Outstrip ran them both down. All the talk for the rest of the day and next was how upset the trainer was of Bobby’s Kitten’s jockey, Javier Castellano, who he felt blundered by setting fractions of 22.27, 45.70 and 1:09.53. Javier said the two year old broke well, felt good, but then ran off a bit and wouldn’t settle. Duh! It happens, especially when you’re racing immature horses. Maybe put a bit more training on them and wait for them to mature? At least he didn’t run sideways the entire race like Bob Baffert’s Tap It Rich.
Which brings me to the second most annoying interview of the event. When Bob Baffert was asked (in reference to his talented two year old colt, Tap It Rich) if he’d prefer having a horse that shows moments of brilliance or one that’s just plain tough, Mr. Baffert announced brilliance without hesitation. And that, sir, is exactly why the American TB is in such dire straits nowadays. When prolific trainers such as yourself put importance on characteristics that last a moment, instead of the stuff that matters for a lifetime. What good is a flash of brilliance, if your horse doesn’t have the brain to run straight, or if your horse doesn’t have the substance (Secret Compass – remember her?) to stay sound? But then what should he care when he can simply pull out another horse, like New Year’s Day, and win the 1 1/16 mile Juvenile and let Tap It Rich finish fifth running sideways most of the race?
Goldencents had a phenomenal wire-to-wire win in the Dirt Mile.
And now we get to the big race, The Classic. I should have taken that bet with blondemare. She was so sure Game On Dude was going to win, and I was so sure he was not. I put my virtual bet on Mucho Macho Man. Both horses broke well and were on top with two others. My fifty year old out-of-retirement jockey, Gary Stevens, took Man back a bit and placed him fifth on the outside, while the all-time winning jockey of Breeder’s Cup races, Mike Smith, kept Dude near the front with the other two horses, three wide. Three quarters of the way around the final turn, Man stuck his nose in front on the outside and put the pedal to the metal. Dude gave it up at the top of the stretch and started to fade, while Man trucked on. Coming late and hard were Declaration Of War and Will Take Charge.
Here’s the Photo Finish: Mucho Macho Man on the inside, Declaration Of War in the middle, and Will Take Charge on the outside.
Video of the race: Race Replay
Merc took the easy bet in the Classic on MMM, get that freight train moving and nothing’s going to catch him. I hear they’re still trying to stop him! I went for it with a trifecta – straight. 2 of the 3 hit the wire together but it wasn’t going to be Dude or Mike’s day. Add another stride and WTC had the win, that is a handsome piece of horse flesh!
I didn’t hear Baffert’s comment regarding moments of brilliance over being tough, I was a bit shocked. The man choked up when questioned about losing Secret Compass, walked away from the reporter, voice cracking. I thought he’d learned a valuable life lesson with his heart attack in Dubai, about the importance of life. Meh, I think he did to a point but he’s hired by the richest and most notorious of TB owners wanting their face smeared all over tv. Men where only power, money, ego and notoriety matter with the horse as the tool to stroke them. But hey, Tap It Rich looked fantabulous running 5 or 6 wide with his nose pulled to the proximity of the ongoing race, which he appeared to not be in!
Segway into my own comments (x-hole, x-head and the like) to the tv when the owner of MizDirection barely acknowledged his horse’s win and already counting the dollars he’d get for her as a broodmare prospect. No concern for her at ALL, sending her to the wolf with the highest bid as if he was selling an old shoe. Gives me a new appreciation for the care and concern shown by the Moss’s for the great Zenyatta. At least they know she’s a living thing and her happiness is a requirement of retirement. Think of the price tag they could’ve gotten for her in a sale.
The easy bet?! Up yours. Game On Dude was the favorite, sentimental and on the board. If you weren’t all ga-ga over Mike Smith… 🙂
Yes, I saw Baffert choke up and walk away from the reporter. Didn’t he then walk over to his winning horse New Year’s Day and get all happy real quick?
You bet I was rooting for Mike Smith, he can hang his silks at my place anytime!
Baffert went up to New Year’s Day, did the congratulatory niceties but I honestly think he was deeply bothered by losing the filly. Remember, he is a man – showing emotion isn’t rewarded in that business. If he goes soft, nobody will hire him and I think on some level he has. Mr. Purple ties must win at all costs and they have the $$ to buy the wins.
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a good thing that the public sees that to some who race these horses, there is no compassion or empathy for the animals that bring them so much money. This mare will be fine as long as she can have foals. Nothing sadder than an old, used up brood mare that nobody wants.
Another race day, another publicly dead horse, let’s not count all the others destroyed or sent to kill. Racing as it is done now is barbaric, much like bear baiting and dog fighting. Add money to an undertaking and life stops mattering. Not for horses, dogs or even people. Human beings have a long way to go before they qualify as homo sapiens in more than name.
I have a draft, I have to scan pictures of some of the old time saddlebreds. Who were also shown and raced as two and three year olds by the late 19th century. Futurities and money, bad for horses.
Hey there is a photo of Secret Compass in my paper, did she have boots on?
The Melbourne Cup was run today, and the mare Varema broke her leg and was put down. I’m having a *lot* of trouble finding information about it so far though. Hush hush, or my bad google-fu? I don’t think it was a very dramatic ‘on screen’ thing so maybe it can be hidden from most of the race going public.
This is all I found but only looked for a few minutes…
Why in the world do you want to watch race video of horses injured to the point of death? I have seen horses die over the course of a lifetime with them, and if I could wipe the memories from my mind, I would. A dead horse is one of the ugliest sights in nature.
I don’t watch racing much anymore. 8 Belles was the end of my enjoying racing. That was horrific. Unfortunately I don’t think racing will end anytime soon.
I must say that I’ve pretty much reached the point in my practicing philosophy that has no room for futurity events. No room at all. Too much time spent picking up the pieces 😦