Saturday proved to be a day of surprises, most of which will be talked about for years and will go down in history.
Kitten’s Cat was best of 12 in the 1st, the Juvenile Turf Sprint, with Luis Saez on board. Though Kitten’s Cat stumbled at the start, he recovered down the hill and pulled away, clear of rival, Con Te Partiro.
The odds on favorite in the 2nd, the Golden State Juvenile, California Diamond and Kent Desormeaux battled to the wire with 25 to 1 shot, Hot Smoke and Joseph Talamo. California Diamond was best. Both cleared the remainder of the field and were game at the end.
In the 3rd, the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (Grade III), another trio of longshots gave bettors a nice trifecta. Fair Point at 4 to 1 and Jose Ortiz got the win over Miss Double d’Oro, who went off at 30 to 1. 14 to 1 shot, Most Beautiful and Gary Stevens were third, and the trifecta paid $995.45.
The trend of longshots winning continued in the 4th, the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies, when Champagne Room surged ahead in the stretch under Mario Gutierrez. At odds of 30 to 1, the Peter Eurton trainee had plenty left in the tank and won impressively. There was a lot of commotion at the break, but Champagne Room managed to keep her head through it all.
In the Filly and Mare Turf, British invader, Queen’s Trust and jockey, Lanfranco Dettori rallied in the stretch and got the win in the last stride over odds on favorite, Lady Eli. Avenge and Flavien Prat, who lead the way in the stretch, faded but held the show.
There was some significant bumping at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but Drefong and Martin Garcia shook free and recovered then battled with Masochistic and Mike Smith. Drefong managed to pull away at the 16th pole and got the win.
Obviously was the obvious choice in the Turf Sprint, the 7th race on the card, though it took his whole team to get him saddled in the paddock while walking. Flavien Prat drove the Choisir gelding to the lead, and he held it to the wire, holding off rival, Om and Gary Stevens, who lost his whip. The gray, Pure Sensation and Kendrick Carmouche threatened but was third best.
The Sentient Jet Juvenile was the 8th race, featuring some of the best 2 year olds of the year. Classic Empire and Julien Leparoux drove down the stretch and left foe and favorite, Not This Time, with Robby Albarado aboard, with the place.
Highland Reel and Seamus Heffernan put on a great show when gaining a large lead on the pack on the backstretch. Favorite Flintshire, with Javier Castellano on board, closed the gap towards the wire but Highland Reel was definitely best. Found was best of the rest after stumbling at the start. Highland Reel’s team was more than ecstatic when their horse crossed the finish line.
In the 10th, the Filly and Mare Sprint, Finest City and Mike Smith, at odds of 9 to 1, headed for the lead around the turn, fending off rival, Wavell Avenue, who just could not get up to best the winner. Wavell Avenue and Joel Rosario went off at 13 to 1, with third place finisher, Paulassilverlining at 15 to 1. The trifecta for the Sprint paid $617.85. Favorite, Carina Mia was a well beaten 9th.
The Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile was the 11th and the race leading up to the Classic. Tourist gave Joel Rosario his first win on the day, inching away under urging from his jockey. Tourist held at bay the amazing mare, Tepin and Julien Leparoux, who tried to beat the winner but were second best. Midnight Storm held on for the show.
By now everyone knows what happened in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Despite the flack given to jockey, Victor Espinoza, California Chrome ran his heart out but the gray Baffert trained, Arrogate was the best. Chrome led the way for most of the race, but Arrogate had lots left in the tank and surged ahead of rival, Melatonin, who had pressed California Chrome early on. Arrogate’s speed and lunging stride overtook California Chrome just before the wire. Keen Ice, who famously defeated American Pharoah after that horse’s Triple Crown win, came on
If you were lucky enough to have the winning Pick 6 ticket, you went home with $292, 423.20, thanks to Arrogate’s big win.
Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome, assures us that ‘Chromie’ will be back for more in the Pegasus at Gulfstream in early 2017. There is talk that Arrogate will meet up with him again, and perhaps California Chrome will have his revenge. We’ll just have to wait and see.