Lots of things worth re­mem­ber­ing at Breed­ers’ Cup

The Buffalo News - - HIGH SCHOOLS -

This year’s Breed­ers’ Cup world cham­pi­onships held un­der the Twin Spires at his­toric Churchill Downs de­liv­ered with a solid punch in crisp, au­tumn con­di­tions.

Some thoughts on the re­turn to Louisville for the first time since 2011:

Over 112,000 race fans took in the two-day rac­ing fes­ti­val at ex­pan­sive Churchill Downs. It was com­fort­able mov­ing around dur­ing both days and the weather gods co­op­er­ated for the most part.

Fri­day was a lit­tle chilly, but Sat­ur­day was an ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful fall day in Ken­tucky. The sun shined brightly all day as the equine stars pa­raded through the Churchill pad­dock onto the track that houses Amer­ica’s most fa­mous race.

While Ac­cel­er­ate stole the show and pos­si­bly Jus­tify’s Eclipse Award, the most tal­ented horse on the premises had to be En­able. The two-time Arc win­ner was in­cred­i­ble in the Breed­ers’ Cup Turf and left more than one sports­writer in awe.

Chiefly over­shad­owed by the last two races of the day, Monomoy Girl put a stamp on what was a fab­u­lous rac­ing cam­paign with a win in the Breed­ers’ Cup Distaff. Any other year, she’d be in the Horse of the Year dis­cus­sion.

Putting all of the ju­ve­nile races on the Fri­day card proved to be not only a great mar­ket­ing idea, but some fu­ture stars emerged by twi­light that evening.

Fu­ture Stars Fri­day was just that with im­pres­sive wins on the dirt by Game Win­ner and Jay­walk and a sparkling per­for­mance by the un­de­feated News­pa­p­er­ofrecord in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf.

If you bet a $1 su­per­fecta box on my top four se­lec­tions in the Filly & Mare Turf (cost: $24) so scored for $726. That was eas­ily my best prog­nos­ti­ca­tion on the week­end. Ex­pert Eye was the high­est pay­ing top se­lec­tion, win­ning the Mile and pay­ing $13.80.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon I was preach­ing a Cal­i­for­nia per­ma­nent home base for fu­ture Cups as the rain pelted the few me­dia that morn­ing. I’m an ad­vo­cate for mov­ing it around and look for­ward to a Lau­rel BC in hope­fully the near term fu­ture.

My big­gest swing and miss of the week­end: Abel Tas­man.

Big­gest sur­prise of the week­end: Mark Casse’s Sham­rock Rose ($53.80) in the Filly & Mare Sprint. I had Chalon in my early Pick-3 and his nose loss cost me a pretty penny af­ter wins by Stormy Lib­eral and City of Light (over heavy fa­vorite Catalina Cruiser). Speak­ing of which.

Big­gest flop of the week­end: Catalina Cruiser. Did you think John Sadler had any chance af­ter see­ing likely one of the big­gest fa­vorites on the card suc­cumb in the Dirt Mile? I didn’t.

Gun­n­ev­era is the best horse not to win any­thing. (Ex­cept money).

Jose Or­tiz had a rough day, I don’t even want to give out his stats they were so bad. Even the good ones have off days.

Has a horse faded out of the spot­light any faster than Won­der Gadot? Dead on the board and a non-fac­tor in the Distaff. The dual Clas­sic win­ner, in hind­sight, should have taken that shot at the Cana­dian Triple Crown.

Poor Catholic Boy, wiped out at the start and couldn’t get go­ing, I sure would’ve like to see how he would fare against his el­ders late in the race.

Yoshida didn’t dis­ap­point, just got go­ing too late. Jose seemed pleased with the ef­fort af­ter­wards, it just hap­pened to be Ac­cel­er­ate’s day.

I was skep­ti­cal of Ac­cel­er­ate’s chances out­side of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, but he proved me (and my wal­let) wrong.

Now the de­bate be­gins for Horse of the Year. We’ll never know how Jus­tify would have fared against el­ders, which is the true test of a cham­pion.

Maybe send­ing a mes­sage to those who re­tire horses early would make a dif­fer­ence in the fu­ture. Re­al­is­ti­cally though, prob­a­bly not. Cash is al­ways king.

Santa Anita will host next year and it is my sec­ond fa­vorite track. I look for­ward to the trek to Pasadena and to the Great Race Place with the gor­geous San Gabriel Moun­tains in the back­drop.

Next week we’ll re­cap our 2018 Kre­skin pre­dic­tions which wrapped up last Sat­ur­day.

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