A day after the Breeders' Cup races were run, the connections of the beaten favorites offered excuses ranging from a possible illness in development to a too hard track surface for their charges disappointing performances on the big day.
Distaff favorite Riboletta was the shortest price of the day at 2-5, making her seventh-place finish the biggest upset. Trainer Eduardo Inda blamed a too hard track surface for the mare's poor performance.
"People complain about the California tracks but this track was too hard for her," Inda said. "It was much harder than California tracks. She didn't like that."
The connections of Distaff second-choice Beautiful Pleasure, who finished 3/4 lengths ahead of Riboletta following a wide trip, kept with the track surface theme but offered a slightly different angle.
"It was much faster inside," said assistant trainer Donna Ward. "The rail was pretty golden. I saw where they had the water trucks, and they were only watering the first four paths. They may have run the Sprint in 1:07 3/5, but that track was not a 1:07 3/5 track all the way around."
The Distaff was likely the final race for Beautiful Pleasure. Riboletta will return to California and regroup for a 2001 Breeders' Cup campaign. The 2001 Breeders' Cup will be held at Belmont Park, a track surface Riboletta seems to relish.
Raging Fever, the 5-2 favorite for the Juvenile Fillies returned in good order but may be developing an illness, according to trainer Mark Hennig.
"She came back all right except she's got some mucus and she was coughing (Sunday) morning," Hennig said. "We'll keep an eye on her and see how she does before making travel plans."
A P Valentine returned from the race with bucked shins and will be given time off to recover, trainer Nick Zito said.
"It looks like he might have flipped his palate a little, too." Zito said. "There were a few drops of blood when we scoped him."
Zito still believes in his 2-year-old colt, however, despite his performance in the Juvenile, in which he finished last as the 12-5 favorite.
"I am disappointed and this certainly set us back," Zito said. "But I still think we will have the horse to beat here on the first Saturday in May."
Fusaichi Pegasus, the 6-5 choice in the Classic, was one of several horses in the race to endure a somewhat troubled trip.
"Fusaichi Pegasus, unfortunately, was shuffled quite a bit," said trainer Neil Drysdale. "In hindsight, (jockey Kent) Desormeaux should have gone along instead of trying to get him to relax. But that's hindsight. Most things are crystal clear a day after the race."