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28th Annual Breeder’s Cup Championships Review: Day One

Perfect Swirl 2011 Breeders CupYesterday, November 4th, was the first day of the 28th annual Breeder’s Cup Championships. As I said in my previous blog, “The Top 20 Greatest Breeder’s Cup Races of All Time,”the Breeder’s Cup Championships are the year end races that decide the equine champions in various divisions. The event was at the famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, and at first the weather was damp, and cloudy in the morning, but it eventually cleared, and by the time 4pm EST rolled around, it wound up being a beautiful day for racing.

In this blog, I am going to review the first day of the Breeder’s Cup, including the broadcasting. I am not going to give a huge analysis on the races, but I will discuss the race as far as quality, etc. So without further ado, here is my review. I even decided to throw in some wrestling aspects and do a star system. ( * )

I am going to start with the broadcast on ESPN2. The network had their usual guys doing the main commentary. They had Randy Moss( NOT the NFL player) , Jerry Bailey, and a few others. I did like how Moss was able to use this electronic telestrator to click on a horse’s name that they were discussing and you could the horse’s stats. I thought overall that there were way too many fluff pieces about owners ,and all. I did like the opening where they showed all the all time greats running like Affirmed and Alydar, Secretariat, and they showed tombstones of Whirlaway, Alydar, Citation. Their point was that these horses were the starts of yesterday, and they were running these races to see stars of today , and for the future. That was well done. The interviews with winners were alright. Jerry Bailey, a retired Hall of Fame jockey did a great job when talking about the racing aspects. I wish they would do more of that than the fluff pieces. Rating **

Now to the races themselves. The main dirt track was labeled as “Good”even though it was still kind of muddy from the rain, and the turf was labeled “yielding.”I want to start this with a warning: I am NOT endorsing gambling. I just want to make that clear. Now, if you are a betting person, and you like long shots, well, this was your day! Almost all Breeder’s Cup Day long, long shots were coming in left and right. It was ridiculous. The analysts were talking up the favorites, and all of a sudden, these long prices came in. I don’t bet. I love the sport. I used to bet, but I stopped. I didn’t stop because of any moral reason, but because I needed to save money, and I just love the sport as a sport.

In the Inaugural running of the BC Juvenile Sprint , a nice horse named Secret Circle won with Rafael Bejarano riding. Trained by Bob Baffert, the horse was the favorite, so the event got kicked off by a favorite. It was a fun race. “Circle”stalked the leaders, and then made his move, and took a good lead of about 2 or 3 lengths down the stretch. He then bore out inexplicably, and held off a hard charging Shumoos. Rating: **1/2

In the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Stephanie’s Kitten, a mild long shot paying 14 dollars to win,with John Velazquez , and trained by Wayne Catalano, ran an awesome race to run down the front running StopshoppingMaria. “Maria”was gunned to the front, but in late stretch, “Kitten”came right down the hedges, and swung to the outside, and wore down “Maria”and won by a length and a half. Very thrilling race. Rating: ***

Musical Romance, at odds of 20-1 takes the Fillies and Mare Sprint. The race was fine. It wasn’t anything special, with the exception of the winner’s odds. Too bad that one of the favorites, Turbulent Descent got bumped around and never got into the race. Musical Romance was ridden by journeyman rider Juan Leyva, and trained by Bill Kaplan. Rating: * 1/2

My Miss Aurelia just destroyed the field in the Juvenile Fillies. She is trained by Steve Assmussen, and was ridden by Corey Nakatani. “Aurelia”did get bumped early, but it didn’t affect her. She laid off the lead, and then when it was go time, boy did she go. She won by three lengths in a dazzling performance. The best race on the card. Rating: *** 3/4

Perfect Shirl, a Canadian horse, trained by the legendary Canadian train Roger Attfield, and ridden by John Velazquez turned in an awesome performance at odds of 27-1 to win the Filly and Mare Turf. She weaved her way through that throng of horse, and just nipped Nahrain for the win. “Shirl”had not won in six previous starts. Unfortunately, before the race, an entrant named Announce had to be scratched because the horse was acting up, and she banged her leg against the railing. Before one of the other BC races, another horse was scratched by the track veterinarians. The connections of Announce were NOT happy. Another entrant, Dynaslew was vanned off. The vets thought after the F & M Turf that she looked a little lame, but it may have been fatigue…so as a precaution, they vanned her back to her barn. It is good that the track is taking these precautions. In a separate blog, I will discuss an incident about why they are being extra cautious. Rating: ** 1/

Last but not least, here was another dazzling performance by a daughter of one of my favorite horses, Empire Maker, a bay filly named Royal Delta. She is trained by the great trainer Bill Mott, and is ridden by Jose Lezcano. This race was fabulous. Plum Pretty, a daughter of Medaglia D’oro (another of my favorites) took the lead, and set some rather slow fractions. Winning trainer Bill Mott said later how he was a little concerned. At the top of the lane heading for home, it sure looked like Plum Pretty had it made, and Royal Delta looked beat. However, “Delta”has a great turn of foot, plus the fact that It’s Tricky helped wear down “Pretty”(who faded ), so “Delta”just blew the doors off of “Tricky”and everyone else. Great race. Rating: *** 1/2

Well, that concludes the first day of my Breeder’s Cup Coverage. Today is the BIG day where they run the Juvenile, the Mile (will Goldikova win her 4th Mile in a row?) , and the Breeder’s Cup Classic (who will be the Horse of the Year? Will filly Harve de Grace beat the boys again? How will Uncle Mo do? Can Flat Out win it for his trainer?)

Tune in at 2pm EST on ABC, and then at 3:30pm on ESPN TODAY, Nov 5th and see.

Will send in another review. I hope you enjoyed this one.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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