Sports

Breeders Cup 2015: Last Minute Prep Races Take Place

As of this writing,  it will be 25 days until the 2015 Breeders Cup World Championships, a two day event, which is Thoroughbred Racing’s version of the Super Bowl. Racing’s finest horses will compete in various races in different divisions to crown champions in various divisions.  There are many races to qualify horses for various Breeders Cup races throughout the year. This year’s event takes place at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY on October 30 and October 31, 2015. I will be at the event this year, and will be writing about it, as well.

As the Breeders Cup gets closer,  I will be writing about past Breeders Cup events, and about some of the contenders for this year’s event. This should be a very exciting event,  especially with 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah making his last start in the Breeders Cup Classic. His planned confrontation with Pacific Classic Champion Beholder should be terrific. That, however,  is another blog for another day. This blog is about the last minute prep races run this past weekend in preparation for the Breeders Cup. In fact,  I was present for a few of them.  I hope you enjoy this blog.

I will start with the races that I attended. I went to Keeneland, the site of the Breeders Cup, on Opening Weekend. I was supposed to go on Saturday and Sunday,  but I didn’t feel well on Sunday,  so I just went Saturday.   On October 3, 2015, on a cold, damp afternoon, there were a couple of “Win, and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup qualifying races. The winner of the race would get all Breeders’ Cup fees and transportation paid.  In the Thoroughbred Club Association Stakes (Gr.2), a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Fioretti upset the heavily favored Judy the Beauty.  I was stunned and disappointed.  I love Judy the Beauty. I know that Judy the Beauty was not having a great year, but she was undefeated at Keeneland, so I thought she’d get her first win of the year. Judy did finish third. She got caught up on the inside. I  got to meet her owner/trainer, Wesley Ward later. He was a very nice man.

In the Breeders’ Futurity, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,  Brody’s Cause, trained by Dale Romans, stunned the field. It was a very exciting race.  Curlin-sired Exaggerator looked like the sure winner. However, here came Brody’s Cause on the outside, and he nailed Exaggerator on the wire. The Kenny McPeek trained Rated R Superstar, who got trapped down inside on the rail, wound up third.  Brody’s Cause is expected to start next in the Juvenile.  I am sure, if my readers have been reading any of my wrestling blogs, you can guess which horse I wanted to win.

In the prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Turf), the Shadwell Mile, I  was looking forward to seeing the 2015 Arlington Million winner,  The Pizza Man. The Pizza Man is a local hero in Chicago. When he won the Arlington Million, near Chicago, the place exploded. I have a cousin by marriage,  who is from Chicago, so I was very happy for the horse.

Anyway, the Shadwell Mile (G1) has been won by luminaries, such as Gio Ponti, and Wise Dan.  The horse, who joined them,  was Grand Arch. Grand Arch is undefeated at Keeneland. Now,  The Pizza Man did a bamg up job with a 2nd place finish. The Pizza Man made a tremendous run, and just came up short by about a head. Sadly, The Pizza Man could not deliver, but hopefully will in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 1/2 miles.

Unfortunately, there was a tragedy in the race. When the field was going down the backstretch, Skyring broke down, and had to be euthanized.  My thoughts and prayers are with his connections.  In another race earlier in the card, Shorerunner broke down in a two horse spill. The other horse survived, and the two jockeys suffered minor injuries.

Now, I will discuss the Breeders’ Cup prep races that I saw on television and video. While I was at Keeneland, I was able to catch a few of the prep races at Belmont Park on the Simulcast. The weather at Belmont Park, in part due to Hurricane Joaquin, was dreadful. The track was sloppy, and the turf was soft.  I missed the Champagne Stakes, won by Greenpointcrusader. However, I did get to see the rest  of the Breeders’ Cup prep races.

The heavily favored Honor Code finished 3rd to Appealing Tale in the 1 Mile Kelso (Grade I).  Honor Code’s trainer Shug McGaughey still has Honor Code pointed towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Ramsey Farms’ Stephanie’s Kitten triumphed in the Flower Bowl (Gr.1) on the soft going.  While I was at Keeneland, I ran into Ken Ramsey. He is very appreciative of his fans,and gave me a Ramsey Farm pin. He also signed for a fan. Mr. Ramsey is a very nice man, and is very proud of his horses.

In the feature race at Belmont, the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Gr.1),  Tonalist successfully defended his title.  Wicked Strong, after dueling with Constitution in the early going, finished second.  Per trainer Christophe Clement, Tonalist will go to the Classic.  Centennial Farms tentatively has Wicked Strong pointed to the Dirt Mile. My impression is that Tonalist loves Belmont. I still think that Honor Code can be a threat in the Classic, but he needs pace.

On Sunday, I was supposed to be at Keeneland for the Bourbon Stakes, and the Spinster Stakes (Gr.1) , but I  had to watch on television on NBC. Both of these races were “Win and You’re In” qualifying races. The Bourbon Stakes was for 2YO Fillies in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile  Turf. For fans of grey horses, the winner was a horse named Airoforce. We should see him next in the Juvenile Turf. In the Spinster (Gr.1) , Got Lucky,  trained by Todd Pletcher, got up to narrowly beat Untapable. Untapable was in a dogfight with Lovely Maria, but couldn’t hold off Got Lucky.  In my opinion, as much as I like and respect Untapable, I am afraid she has lost her killer instinct. She’s just not the same horse.

I want to end this blog by saying that I had a great time at Keeneland,  and I am looking forward to writing more about the Breeders’ Cup in coming blogs. Keeneland legend and 2-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan got a retirement ceremony.  While the horses for the 3rd race where being saddled,  Wise Dan was being walked around the paddock.  I took a ton of photos. Wise Dan was very happy, handsome, and loved being photographed. He got excited when “The Call to the Post” was played by the bugler. Wise Dan’s connections, owner Charlie LoPresti and trainer Morton Fink received an award, and Wise Dan was paraded in front of the stands.

Thank you for reading this blog. Feedback is welcome.

Terri

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/giopontifan

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