Anyone who has been lucky enough to attend a Breeders’ Cup day or days has a ton of favourite memories.
The Breeders’ Cup started out as a one day event in 1984 at Hollywood Park, the idea of John Gaines to bring the best horses in the world to a one-day, year-end World Series of racing.
That first day got immediate attention from the media as the races were exciting, controversial and, well, wild. Chief’s Crown lived up to expectations in the Juvenile, Fran’s Valentine won the Juvenile Fillies but was disqualified and Wild Again upset the Classic after a bumper cars run to the finish line with Slew o Gold and Gate Dancer.
I have been fortunate enough to go to almost half of the Breeders’ Cups as the event celebrates its 30th anniversary.
One of my all-time favourites was PERSONAL ENSIGN’S miraculous win in the 1988 Distaff in the slop at Churchill Downs. I remember it vividly as press members crowded the balcony at the press box and were aghast when someone yelled, ‘she’s too far back, she’s beat.’ And then this incredible mare turned on the jets and somehow won the photo over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colours.
A year earlier, 1987 at Hollywood, I was there to see ALYSHEBA vs. FERDINAND in the Classic. The battle of 2 Kentucky Derby winners. What a race.
I could go on and on but let’s get back to the 2-day Breeders’ Cup #30, beginning tomorrow at Santa Anita:
TOMORROW’S BREEDERS’ CUP PICKS:
FRIDAY – BREEDERS’ CUP DAY ONE SELECTIONS AND NOTES
4:45 p.m. EASTERN- MARATHON – 1 3/4 miles
Canadian content – COMMANDER, owned by Glen Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company, trained by Troy Taylor 6-1
POOL PLAY, Canadian-bred by Silver Deputy, bred by Windfields Farm
THOROUGHBLOG : OLD TIME HOCKEY, POOL PLAY, INDIAN JONES
I picked 2 sons of SMARTY JONES to be factors in this long race. I have no idea who will be happiest with the distance other than POOL PLAY, who won the Valedictory on Polytrack at 1 3/4 miles a couple of years ago.
5:25 P.M. EASTERN RACE 7 JUVENILE TURF
1 mile, grass
Canadian content – ONTOLOGY – owned by J. Paul Reddam
European colts are always tough in this race, especially those trained by Aidan O’Brien.
THOROUGHBLOG PICKS : GIOVANNI BOLDINI, OUTSTRIP BOBBY’S KITTEN
6:05 P.M. DIRT MILE
Canadian content – BROADWAY EMPIRE, Canadian-owned and trained by Albertans
THOROUGHBLOG PICKS – VERRAZANO. GOLDENCENTS, BROADWAY EMPIRE
6:50 P.M. EASTERN JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
Canadian content – MY CONQUESTDORY, won Woodbine’s Summer Stakes, trained by Mark Casse, ridden by Eurico da Silva
*very tough race to sort out and trip is going to be a huge factor
THOROUGHBLOG PICKS: SKY PAINTER, CLENOR, MY CONQUESTADORY, CHRISELLIUM
7;35 p.m. EASTERN – DISTAFF 1 18 miles
PRINCESS OF SYLMAR and ROYAL DELTA battle it out again, must catch BEHOLDER
PRINCESS SYLMAR FEATURE in New York Times, very cool