The Lady Is a Champ, But So Is He

Four races later, and Mike Smith was still in a hurry. A tactical filly with big kick throughout her career, Royal Delta went to the lead, an Eastern filly outrunning all the speedsters with an opening gambit of :22 3/5 going 9 furlongs.

Are you kidding me?

The answer is no. When Questing, who was subsequently eased, didn’t break and Royal Delta broke sharply, the connections did what they thought best. “We didn’t want to get in her way,” said both Smith, now the winningest rider in Breeders’ Cup history, and Bill Mott, who saddled his ninth Breeders’ Cup winner.

The filly joined Bayakoa as the only back-to-back winners of the Distaff/Ladies Classic. Setting the fastest pace ever by a Ladies Classic winner, Royal Delta looked in deep water when Include Me Out, the talented local, came at her soon after straightening away.

But the filly dug down deep and Smith reached for his piston-like left-handed stick. In rhythm, they crossed the finish line in a worthy 1:48 4/5 to secure her second straight championship, giving Smith #16 while putting Royal Delta in the running for a possible Horse of the Year championship.

“Another great filly, another great mare,” said Smith, his voice trailing off into thoughts of, who else but Zenyatta? No comparisons, just reminiscences.

Euros 1, Chad Brown 1

Finally, the Americans broke through on the turf as Chad Brown continued his remarkable run with turf performers as Zagora, under expert handling from Javier Castellano, tipped out from behind cover at headstretch, sprinted passed Marketing Mix and held off the late run of the very troubled favorite, The Fugue, and the very late running Ridasiyna.

And so Brown, returning to the venue where he won his first Breeders’ Cup turf race with the 2-year-old filly Maram, parlayed that score, and many, many more to become one of the game’s elite trainers.

Bred in France, Zagora now goes into a racing age sale, Martin Schwartz taking the money off the table despite the fact that this was the horse that gave him his first Breeders’ Cup victory.

Behold, an American At Last

Great training performance by Breeders’ Cup legend Richard Mandella and terrific ride from Garrett Gomez and Beholder, a talented speedsrter who showed showed no ill effects from a monstrous sprint effort last out.

Beholder led them all a merry chase and gamely withstood the stretch challenge of fellow Californian, and favorite, Executiveprivilege, who bore out through deep stretch, seriously compromising her chances.

The formerly undefeated Kauai Katie shadowed her throughout but relented when the winner opened ground on the second turn. Another formerly undefeated Todd Pletcher trainer, Dreaming Of Julia, tried to make an impression at headstretch but failed to do so.

All that’s left with two races remaining is for an Eastern-based runner to break through. With a turf race coming up, that eventuality might have to wait until the Ladies Classic, the last event of Breeders’ Cup Friday.

Flotilla Sets Sail

Viva La France! Via Flotilla with a simply remarkable turn of foot to run down Watsdachances at the eighth pole and win going away.

Since Saratoga, American trainers have had a tough time trying to defeat a Chad Brown turf trainee. Well, his filly outfinished her peers once again but was no match for a strong, leggy filly, pluperfectly handled by Christophe Lemaire, who like Aaron Gryder, was winning his first Breeders’ Cup event.

For trainer Mikel Delzangles, it could be the beginning of a very big day as he saddles Ridasiyna, the most accomplished filly in a field of accomplished fillies in the Filly and Mare Turf, in which he main competition will come from another European, early line favorite The Fugue, carefully pointed by trainer John Gosden.

First a Maiden, Now The Oldest Horse in History?

What’s going on here? We’re sure the wags will be carping about the no-Lasix rule in the Juvenile that resulted in Hightail’s first career victory. And now a 9-year-old that gallops bare-back when he trains makes history in the very next race.

We preferred Atigun, ridden by Mike Smith who was bidding to become the winningest jockey of all-time. He rode as if he couldn’t wait to pass Jerry Bailey for that honor.

Instead of maintaining his perfect position behind dueling leaders, he moved around leaders on the second of three turns, wa-a-a-a-y too soon. Of course, he tired from those exertions and finished third.

If I were writing the short comments in the chart footnotes, it would read: “arrogantly; weakened.” But it was a great accomplishment for his trainer, Guillermo Frankel, who improved Calidoscopio after getting him back in his barn.

It was the horse’s first start since June 23. Well done all around, including a perfect ride aboard the 15-1 chance by Aaron Gryder.

First a Maiden, Now The Oldest Horse in History?

What’s going on here? We’re sure the wags will be carping about the no-Lasix rule in the Juvenile that resulted in Hightail’s first career victory. And now a 9-year-old that gallops bare-back when he trains makes history in the very next race.

We preferred Atigun, ridden by Mike Smith who was bidding to become the winningest jockey of all-time. He rode as if he couldn’t wait to pass Jerry Bailey for that honor.

Instead of maintaining his perfect position behind dueling leaders, he moved around leaders on the second of three turns, wa-a-a-a-y too soon. Of course, he tired from those exertions and finished third.

If I were writing the short comments in the chart footnotes, it would read: “arrogantly; weakened.” But it was a great accomplishment for his trainer, Guillermo Frankel, who improved Calidoscopio after getting him back in his barn.

It was the horse’s first start since June 23. Well done all around, including a perfect ride aboard the 15-1 chance by Aaron Gryder.

Maiden Wins Juvenile Sprint

First the early line second choice that might have gone favorite, came out this morning. Then, with 2 minutes to post, the actual second favorite, South Floyd, was vet-scratched.

And, so, in the Lasix-free juvenile program, the first of 15 Breeders’ Cup races went postward with five horses. “He was a little off in his left front and had to be protected,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage DVM.

When it was over, the King of Breeders’ Cup, D. Wayne Lukas, the man who has saddled more Breeders’ Cup winners than anyone, saddled Hightail, the first maiden in history to win a Breeders’ Cup, Lukas’s 19th.

After watching three main track races thus far, it appears you need to be on the lead or close-up; they just haven’t been coming from off the pace. Take note.