This week's issue of The Blood-Horse
takes a trip down memory lane for a look at favorite Breeders' Cup moments. Here are mine:
Hollywood Park, 1984. Right after Earl Scheib's homebred filly Fran's Valentine is disqualified for interference after finishing first at 74-1 in the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), there was Scheib on television, growling to the world in a commercial that he'll "paint any car, any color, for $29.95." The loss of the $450,000 first-place check was the equivalent of painting 15,000 cars.
Aqueduct, 1985. Precisionist's victory in the Sprint (gr. I) came more than four months after his previous race, the 10-furlong Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). An outstanding training job by Ross Fenstermaker.
Santa Anita Park, 1986. NBC's super-slow-motion cameras caught the masterful ride of Yves Saint-Martin as he throttled Last Tycoon in the opening furlong of the Mile (gr. IT), then went on to score a $73.80 surprise.
Hollywood Park, 1987. Trainer Jack Van Berg stretched both arms out and lamented about losing three Classics (gr. I) by "about that much." His Gate Dancer lost by a head in both 1984 and '85, and Alysheba was beaten a nose in 1987. One of these days...
Churchill Downs, 1988. A powerful stretch run by Alysheba got Van Berg that elusive victory in the Classic.
Gulfstream Park, 1989. A Horse of the Year showdown in the Classic, perhaps the best ever, between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. Sunday Silence won by a neck in a thriller.
Belmont Park, 1990. Gloom and doom in the air as three horses perished, most notably Go for Wand in the Distaff (gr. I). Overlooked but never to be forgotten was Lester Piggott's ride for the ages aboard Royal Academy in the Mile.
Churchill Downs, 1991. Arazi's breathtaking move around the final turn in the Juvenile (gr. I) was one of the most astonishing things I've ever seen.
Gulfstream Park, 1992. From $2.9-million Keeneland July sale topper to Horse of the Year, A.P. Indy made few mistakes. His Classic was a tour de force.
Santa Anita Park, 1993. Who needs a whip? Hollywood Wildcat didn't, winning the Distaff by a nose over Paseana despite Eddie Delahoussaye dropping his stick in the stretch.
Churchill Downs, 1994. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained duo of Flanders and Serena's Song went at it the entire way in the Juvenile Fillies, with Flanders winning narrowly but suffering a career-ending injury. Serena's Song went on to be one of the most durable and talented fillies in history.
Belmont Park, 1995. The day belonged to Cigar. The packed grandstand shook with excitement when he took the lead in the Classic.
Woodbine, 1996. Hey, it's 60 degrees. Where's all the snow, eh?
Hollywood Park, 1997. Chief Bearhart won the Turf (gr. IT) for his ailing owner/breeder Ernie Samuel in Canada, making for an emotional winner's circle for daughter Tammy Samuel-Balaz.
Churchill Downs, 1998. Awesome Again defeated the deepest Classic field in history. And how on earth did Swain end up on the outside fence?
Gulfstream Park, 1999. Frankie Dettori, we forgive you for your ride on Swain last year. You were brilliant aboard Turf winner Daylami.
Churchill Downs, 2000. War Chant passed eight horses in the final furlong to win the Mile, with NBC's moving camera catching every glorious stride.
Belmont Park, 2001. The tension-filled atmosphere of post 9/11 New York made for the most surreal Breeders' Cup ever. Tiznow was all heart winning the Classic a second consecutive year.
Arlington Park, 2002. Storm Flag Flying refused to be defeated in the Juvenile Fillies, adding to the Breeders' Cup success of her dam, My Flag, and granddam, Personal Ensign.
Santa Anita Park, 2003. Racing on his home track, Richard Mandella won four of the eight Breeders' Cup races, setting a new standard for trainers.
Lone Star Park, 2004. The Little Red Feather partnership brought the MTV generation to the Breeders' Cup with Singletary's Mile victory celebration.
Belmont Park, 2005. Jerry Bailey went out in style, winning his 15th Breeders' Cup race when Saint Liam took the Classic, shortly before Bailey announced his retirement.