Mac McBride tells his behind-the-scenes story of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic and Zenyatta. Read Blog
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Alan Porter recaps the 2009 Breeders' Cup with pedigree observations about the sire lines, dominant female families, and inbreeding of the 14 winners.
A day after undefeated Zenyatta became a giant of the racing world with a spine-tingling victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), trainer John Shirreffs said she should be Horse of the Year over favored Rachel Alexandra.
Jockey Robby Albarado pushed the button on Tapitsfly approaching mid-stretch and the gray/roan daughter of Tapit responded willingly to produce a neck victory over the pacesetting Rose Catherine in Oak Tree's $909,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 6.
His excitement as a result of Forever Together's stirring win in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) gave trainer Jonathan Sheppard fits of insomnia. But by all indications, the Hall of Fame trainer is taking things in better stride as his fierce gray mare defends her title as the morning line choice in the $2 million event at Santa Anita Nov. 6.
It would be an understatement to say that Magical Fantasy heads the California contingent for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Nov. 6. After four consecutive major stakes wins locally, three in grade I company, she's nearly all that's left.
In a move faster than trainer/exercise rider Helen Pitts would have liked, Stronach Stables' Einstein tuned up for the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with a half-mile workout in a quick :47 4/5 at Santa Anita Nov. 1.
Zenyatta gave trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith precisely what they asked for Oct. 31 in her final work before the Breeders' Cup. With regular workmate Green Cat providing a target, she worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 at Hollywood Park at about 9 a.m.
Trainer John Shirreffs said on a national teleconference Oct. 28 that the first preference for Zenyatta is the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) as long as she works well this Saturday at Hollywood Park and appears to be peaking for the race.
Looking to join Ouija Board as the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), Forever Together is the likely pick in the $2 million event sponsored by Emirates Airline.
"We are going to California," proclaimed Ken Ramsey after his homebred 2-year-olds Lisa's Kitten and Kera's Kitten each captured victories in a pair of $100,000 stakes over the turf course at Retama Park on the night of Oct. 24.
Three-time grade I winner Summer Bird, the leading candidate for an Eclipse Award in the male 3-year-old division, worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 under regular rider Kent Desormeaux after Oak Tree's second race Oct. 25.
Stronach's Einstein, one of the top American hopes for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, zipped a fast five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Oct. 25 in the veteran star's final pre-race training move over his home track.
Unhappy with her recent workouts over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride track, trainer Bob Baffert said Oct. 25 that he is not planning to pre-enter two-time champion Indian Blessing in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 6.
For the first time in eight months, Chip Woolley Jr. was walking on his own two feet Oct. 22.
Favored Champs Elysees, in likely the final race of his career, went out on top with a come-from-behind victory in the $1,927,556 Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine Oct. 17.
Lahaleeb produced the biggest upset in the 54-year history of Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) Oct. 17 when she came from off the pace in the stretch to win the $964,356 test for fillies and mares at odds of 44-1.
Trainer Ken McPeek said Oct. 16 that he plans to send his Breeders' Cup juvenile quartet to Santa Anita on Oct. 19.
House of Grace caught Smart Seattle at the wire to register a nose victory in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, which was taken off the turf and transferred to Keeneland's Polytrack Oct. 15 at the rain-slickened Lexington track.
As we all know there is always an angle or two we can latch on to in the Breeders' Cup. The trick is finding them among the morass of stakes horses that line up for the 14 races. There probably are more chances of landing a longshot on a synthetic surface, because, in all honesty, does anyone really know how to handicap these races?
Marsh Side returns to defend his title in the $2-million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) over the Woodbine turf course Oct. 17 against a field that includes German group I winner Jukebox Jury.
Coming off a group I win in Ireland, Rainbow View can sew up a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) next month with a victory in Woodbine's $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) on the turf Oct. 17.
Trainer Mary Hartmann came west looking for firm turf for her star Presious Passion and found what she was looking for. The 6-year-old son of Royal Anthem hooked a paceless field and strolled gate to wire for a 2 1/2-length victory in Oak Tree's $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 11.
Godolphin's good fortune leading up to the Breeders' Cup continued at Santa Anita Oct. 11 when 6-5 choice Gayego stormed down the center of the track to register a one-length win in Oak Tree's $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I).
As professional as ever, undefeated Zenyatta equaled Personal Ensign's 13-race winning streak to begin her career, sweeping past the pacesetters in upper stretch to capture Oak Tree's $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in characteristic fashion Oct. 10.
Europeans got an early start on the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) this year when British import Gitano Hernando, ridden by Kieren Fallon, upset favored Colonel John in Oak Tree's $350,000 Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 10.
Ridden patiently by Alex Solis, heavily favored Magical Fantasy captured her third consecutive grade I event when she overtook Visit mid-stretch and held off the late charge of Black Mamba to win Oak Tree's $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 10.
Cost of Freedom is back to defend his title in Oak Tree's $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 11, but he's just one of several hunch play possibilities in a 10-horse field at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Zenyatta attempts to equal Personal Ensign's streak of 13 consecutive wins when she goes to the post in Oak Tree's $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) as the heavy favorite Oct. 10 at Santa Anita.
Magical Fantasy looks for her fourth consecutive graded stakes win for trainer Paddy Gallagher as the probable favorite in Oak Tree's $300,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 10.
Undefeated Lookin At Lucky handled his first try at two turns successfully in the $300,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 4, allowing Bob Baffert to look forward to the Nov. 7 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Blind Luck, an $11,000 yearling, blasted down the stretch to win the $300,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 4. The victory ensured a start in the $1 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Trainer John Shirreffs said his undefeated champion Zenyatta came out of her six-furlong workout on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Oct. 3 in good order and is on course to defend her title in the $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 10 at 1 1/16 miles.
Southern California shipper Awesome Gem came from off the pace to run down Nite Light in deep stretch for a 1 1/4-length win in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) at muddy Hawthorne Park Oct. 3.
Pure Clan overtook Criticism in the final furlong to register a convincing win in the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at foggy, soggy Belmont Park Oct. 3.
Unbeaten Lookin At Lucky seeks his fourth consecutive win for trainer Bob Baffert and a spot in the starting gate for next month's Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he faces 11 juvenile rivals in the $300,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet Oct. 4.
A condylar fracture of a cannon bone knocked Darley Debutante (gr. I) winner Mi Sueno out of the $300,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) this week and 13 juvenile fillies are hoping to take advantage at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet Oct. 4.
Dynaforce wouldn't mind a little cut in the ground when she defends her crown in the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) over Belmont Park's inner turf course Oct. 3.
Favored California Flag led nearly all the way to win the $100,000 Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) on opening day of the Oak Tree Racing Association meet at Santa Anita Park Sept. 30, earning a repeat victory in the hillside turf course event over runner-up Get Funky and a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
Bridgetown surged past favored Stormy Lord in the stretch and held sway to win the $286,891 Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) on the Woodbine lawn Sept. 19, locking up a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf with the victory.
Bay to Bay could have a date in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf after an impressive victory in the $147,266 Natalma Stakes (Can-IIIT) in her first try against winners on the Woodbine lawn Sept. 19.
Two-year-olds on the turf take the spotlight at Woodbine Sept. 19 when Canada's important weekend of racing starts off with the Summer and Natalma (both Can-IIIT) stakes.
Four grade I winners -- Diamondrella, Flashing, Game Face, and Informed Decision -- are part of an overflow field entered for the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters (gr. III) on tap Sept. 12 in Erie, Pa.
Even-money choice Lookin at Lucky remained unbeaten in three starts and gave trainer Bob Baffert his ninth win in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) in the past 14 years Sept. 7 at the seaside track.
Richard's Kid, sent off at odds of 24-1, charged from far back with jockey Mike Smith aboard to win the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Sept. 6, nipping Einstein in an exhilarating finish.
It keeps getting easier for the flashy sprinter Zensational, who cruised to his third consecutive grade I victory under Victor Espinoza in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 6.
Gran Estreno, claimed twice for $20,000 this year, earned a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he led all the way to win the $200,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Sept.5.
Sea The Stars confirmed his class by turning in a dominating performance in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown Sept. 5.
Jockey Tyler Baze, in his first race since breaking the little finger on his left hand two weeks ago, guided heavily favored Carlsbad to a track-record victory in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar Sept. 4.
Zensational, who has vaulted to the top of the national rankings for sprinters, goes for his third consecutive grade I win as the heavy favorite in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 6.
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