The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which has been held at Louisville’s Churchill Downs the past two years, may have left the Derby City, but the Derby City was sure to follow it to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Kentucky connections had a banner day at Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup, winning in seven of the nine races.
In the fifth race on the card, the day’s second Breeders’ Cup race, Groupie Doll won the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint for Churchill Downs trainer Fred “Buff” Bradley which kicked off a series of wins for Kentucky connections.
Next on the card was the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in which Dale Romans’ Shackleford looked poised to give the Louisville trainer another victory. However, it was Churchill Downs trainer and Louisville resident Steve Asmussen that would take home the win when his longshot Tapizar took down the field.
After the seventh race proved uneventful for Kentucky connections, the eighth race, the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, produced a winner for Louisville’s Jack Wolf, Ed Glasscock, and their Starlight Racing Partnership when Shanghai Bobby held on to victory by a head over He’s Had Enough. The Kentucky Derby winning connections that brought us I’ll Have Another teamed to produce second-place finisher He’s Had Enough.
The ninth race on the card was the $3,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf which gave Dale Romans his third Breeders’ Cup victory, having won the Mile last year with Court Vision and the 2009 Juvenile Turf with Tapitsfly. One might have thought that the victory would lie with Dullahan, Romans’ other runner in the Turf, making the switch from dirt to turf, but it was Romans’ Little Mike who showed up and got the win.
The 10th race on the card, the $1,500,000 Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint was won by Trinniberg. Trinniberg is trained by Shivananda Parbhoo who is based at Calder Race Course in Florida, but winning jockey Willie Martinez is based in Louisville and holds the record for the most leading rider titles at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky.
The $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Mile was the 11th race and the race in which Wise Dan gave Keeneland-based trainer Charlie Lopresti his Breeders’ Cup win. Wise Dan won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in his last start at Keeneland Oct. 6, but captured wins in last year’s Clark Handicap (G1) and Firecracker Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Making his second start after an injury in the 2011 Belmont Stakes sidelined Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Graham Motion’s colt closed fast to take second in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Bob Baffert’s California-based Game On Dude was the favorite to win the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the finale on the card. However, it was another set of Kentucky connections that would spring the upset and take home victory.
Trainer Ian Wilkes, who trains at Skylight Training Center in Oldham County and is stabled at Churchill Downs, saddled Classic winner Fort Larned. Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., who won the Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs on Friday, hopped a flight to California Saturday to ride Fort Larned in the Classic. Saturday was Hernandez's 27th birthday and the Classic was the only Breeders’ Cup mount he had. Hernandez was back at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to ride the day’s card.
With the flight cancelations and delays brought on in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, it was uncertain whether several Breeders’ Cup contenders would even make it to the big dance, let alone win. A flight scheduled to leave Monday from New York and make a pick-up stop in Kentucky before heading to California was delayed until Wednesday. The flight included Shanghai Bobby, Wise Dan, and Fort Larned.
Photo: Breeders’ Cup