If there is any crying occurring in Argentina, it's tears of joy following Calidoscopio's upset victory Friday in the $454,500 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita.
Last in the field of 13 and more than 20 lengths off the lead after the opening half-mile, Calidoscopio gradually made up ground throughout the 1 3/4-mile journey, found his best stride in the final half-mile and drew off in the stretch to win by 4 1/4 lengths in a time of 2:57 1/5.
It was the first Breeders' Cup win for journeyman rider Aaron Gryder and the first by a South American-trained horse. Sent off at 17-1, Calidoscopio, who at age nine became the oldest Breeders' Cup winner ever, paid $36.40, $16 and $9.60.
"I had a wonderful trip," Gryder said. "They told me to detach myself from the field at the beginning; that he wouldn't be in it at all. They said you can close your eyes for the first mile then pick them up. At about the three-quarters pole he began to pick them up and I started feeling good. He was rolling.
"By the time we reached the half-mile pole, I started to be very confident. I'd seen this horse's races and I knew he could make up seven or eight lengths easy. I thought that if he could duplicate what he'd done in the past, I'd be sitting good. He just got to going and it was all over from there. It was some ride."
Grassy, a 13-1 chance, raced in closer attendance than the winner, reach contention with a half-mile remaining, and wore down 3-1 favorite Atigun for the place honors by a half-length. Atigun fared best of those who had raced close to the pace, tracking in third early before seizing control after 1 1/4 miles in 2:04 2/5. He maintained a one-length lead after 12 furlongs in 2:30 2/5, but weakened in the final furlong. He was a comfortable 5 1/4 length ahead of Juniper Pass at the wire.
The remainder of the field finished well behind the winner, beginning with Not Abroad, Balladry, Eldaafer and Romp. Commander, Almudena and Jaycito were virtually eased, the latter after setting the half-mile and three-quarter splits of :47 4/5 and 1:12. Officially eased were European invaders Sense of Purpose and Fame and Glory, who both came under a ride entering the second of three turns. Worth Repeating was scratched Friday morning.
Trained by Guillermo Frenkel and owned by Stud Dona Pancha, Calidoscopio was a seven-time stakes winner in his native Argentina, once at Group 1 level, thrice at Group 2 level, and twice at Group 3 level. His signature win came in the 2009 edition of the Group 1 Gran Premio International Republica Argentina, and his most recent start, on June 23, was a victory in the Group 2 Gran Premio General Belgrano going about 1 9/16 miles. The long-winded son of Luhuk now sports a line of 40-10-5-8, $803,282.
Bred by Haras La Quebrada, Calidoscopio was produced by the Group 2-winning Lefty mare Calderona, who also produced Calidoscopio's full sister, Group 1 winner Cumbrecita.