Television ratings were down but Web traffic was up for ESPN's maiden voyage covering the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
An equine ambulance was delayed in getting to Fleet Indian after the mare injured her left front suspensory ligament during the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) because Churchill Downs personnel were following state regulations regarding ambulances on the track.
The owners and trainers of the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships winners turned out in full force to share their thoughts and plans for the future at the annual press breakfast Nov. 5.
Jockey Lanfranco "Frankie" Dettori, who rode Ouija Board and Red Rocks to victory during the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred Championships, was named recipient of the annual Bill Shoemaker Award during a press breakfast the following morning at Churchill Downs.
While trainer Todd Pletcher had a record number of Breeders' Cup World Championship runners, none of them were able to bring home the victory as his stable went 0-17 at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
The Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) epitomized the highs and lows of the sport. Round Pond won the 1 1/8-mile race, but co-favorites Pine Island and Fleet Indian suffered injuries.
Favored Ouija Board rolled to her second victory in the Emirates Ariline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), adding a 2 1/4-length triumph Saturday at Churchill Downs to her victory at Lone Star Park in 2004.
If I had to watch Bernardini get beat, this was the way to go.
Yes, it's time again to look for those hidden jewels that always seem to lurk beneath the surface every year in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, just waiting to burst forth and light up the tote board. With so many top class, talented horses this year, it won't be easy, but let's give it a try.
Assistant starter Clinton Beck was named the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's White Horse Award recipient during the Taylor Made Sale's Agency's Nov. 2 White Horse Heroes luncheon at Churchill Downs.
Healthy Addiction will be bred to Tiznow. Hollywood Story will visit Storm Cat.
Pine Island, bred and owned by the Phipps Stable, probably wouldn't win an equine beauty contest. But she's Miss America on the racetrack.
All of the credentialed photographers are gathered around the winner's circle, receiving their locations to shoot tomorrow's races. It's their views to the thrill.
- By Tom LaMarra
As Churchill Downs prepares to host the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Kentucky regulators are examining the state's drug-testing policies and procedures. Upgrades, however, may hinge on state funding.
When Satwa Queen springs from the gate in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs trainer Jean de Roualle will be content knowing his prep work is done and the outcome of the race is in the hands of jockey Thierry Thulliez.
Trainer Tom Albetrani said his Bernardini will be facing the most difficult task of his life Saturday in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
After finishing second in Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) two years ago, Balletto returns to the Breeders' Cup, this time in the Emirates Airline Distaff (gr.I).
Two days before the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Doug O'Neill, trainer of Lava Man, Sharp Lisa, and Great Hunter; and Tom Albertrani, trainer of Bernardini and Balletto, discussed the chances of their stars leading up to their respective races.
Once again, trainer Aidan O'Brien has brought a strong contingent of horses from across the pond to compete in the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. As always, the European invaders are most feared in the turf events, and O'Brien will saddle Aussie Rules and Ad Valorem in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)and Scorpion in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
If there were a prize to be given for the most royal pedigree in the Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered By Dodge (gr. I), Suave would be right up there among the contenders.
Giacomo is a different kettle of fish from the best-known runners from the Plaudit line, who gained their reputation on the basis of raw brilliance.
Some might question why Flower Alley is even being considered for the Breeders' Cup Classic–Powered By Dodge (gr. I). If he can return to the form that carried him to a second-place finish behind Horse of the Year Saint Liam in last year's Classic, however, he will not be a horse to overlook.
By the late 1990s, it seemed almost certain that the male line of Hall of Famer Alydar would not survive. Before he died in 1990, however, Alydar sired one last runner of some note.
Lawyer Ron proved himself one of the most consistent 3-year-old colts of 2006 heading into the Kentucky Derby, carrying a six-race win streak into the big race.
George Washington is a unique conundrum. Bred by Roy and Gretchen Jackson – also the breeders and owners of Kentucky Derby (gr, I) winner Barbaro – he has a name as American as baseball and apple pie, yet is largely European in background and performance.
If Lava Man's pedigree is blue-collar and Invasor's is foreign nobility, Bernardini's represents the American aristocracy.
Owners Clinton and Susan Atkins had hoped to watch their 3-year-old filly Baghdaria race under Churchill Downs' famed twin spires on the first Friday in May. The filly didn't compete in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but they have a second chance to compete at Churchill with a berth in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships actually being just that has taken hold with at least one trainer. Ed Dunlop, who conditions Ouija Board, has planned three campaigns for the filly, each designed with the Breeders' Cup in mind.
The great Laffit Pincay Jr., now retired but still the world's all-time leading jockey (and winner of eight Breeders' Cup races), is at Churchill Downs to introduce the nominees for the Race Track Chaplaincy's White Horse Award.
Looking at the post positions for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), one can expect plenty of action up front, with several jockeys having to make a split decision whether or not to commit their horse to the lead, or at least to be a major pace factor. But is it possible a horse can get a clear lead...and actually hold it?
In the words of ESPN senior vice president Len DeLuca, the network is "bullish" on its opportunity to broadcast the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the first time Nov. 4.
Entered in this year's Breeders' Cup Championships is a horse who has not let the increasing years of his life affect his racing career. Perfect Drift, still going strong at age 7, has aged like fine wine, continuing to post impressive efforts as Nov. 4 rapidly approaches.
For the first time since 2000, the Breeders' Cup World Championships returns to Churchill Downs Nov. 4. The historic track has held the event five times in the past, and the six-year gap between hosting duties is the longest it has faced.
Right before the draw of the Breeders' Cup races takes place on the fourth floor of the clubhouse at Churchill Downs, Lisa Underwood surveys the scene. She's not eating breakfast from the buffet, but that's not to say she doesn't have a lot on her plate.
Breeders' Cup and some of the top racetracks in the country have repackaged major stakes for 2007 in the hope of promoting the World Championships. The scheme includes guaranteed berths in the Breeders' Cup for horses that win stakes on six big-event days in the summer and early fall.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors has made no decision on limiting the racetracks that could be considered as future host sites for the World Championships, but during an Oct. 31 luncheon in Louisville, Ky., officials couldn't say enough about having the event at Churchill Downs.
Things were quiet at Barn 17 on the Churchill Downs backstretch the morning of Oct. 31. But Norman Casse knows that is about to change. And, he's glad.
Bernardini had his final workout at Belmont Park Oct. 31 and is ready for his start in the biggest race of the year.
Rev. Ed Donally is standing outside Barn 36 with an armful of new halters, watching as Lava Man cools out from his morning gallop. Donally, with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, is in from California to coordinate the White Horse Award Luncheon.
With an overall record of two wins, a second and a third from 12 starts in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, it's clear longtime trainer Mel Stute rarely heads to the big event without a legitimate candidate.
The turf at Churchill Downs on Breeders' Cup day should be firm--that is, if the long-range forecast holds up.
With the horses of racing age program implemented this year, owners had a different option for landing their non-nominated horses in the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championships, and a few took full advantage.
The key to any Thoroughbred trainer's success is the quality of people around them. Trainer Todd Pletcher learned that from his mentor, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, is working with the same model. Holding down the Churchill Downs barn is assistant Mike McCarthy.
Following Sunday's deluge of Todd Pletcher works, and a pair by Kiaran McLaughlin's two stars, there still was enough activity at Belmont Park on a glorious fall morning Oct. 30 to keep one entertained.
Following an active workout day Sunday, there were only four Breeders' Cup World Championship contenders working at Churchill Downs on a warm, sunny Monday morning, Oct. 30.
Academy Award-winning actor Joe Pesci is the guest of honor at the Breeders' Cup Luncheon, but he's not here to talk about his movies.
Along with Classic contenders Sun King and Flower Alley putting in their final drills for Saturday's World Championships at Churchill Downs, several other runners stretched their legs under the Twin Spires.
A bronze statue of Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day, his arms raised in triumph, was unveiled during a noon ceremony Sunday at Churchill Downs. The sculpture, created by Louisville artist Raymond Graf, was inspired by Day's victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Lil E. Tee.
A pair of contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), along with some of their stablemates in other World Championship races, took a tour of Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Martin Schwartz's Gorella worked in the company with a stablemate and got five furlongs in :58 over the Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course Sunday in preparation for the Nov. 4 World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs. She wasn't alone as several horses with Breeders' Cup aspirations got their final works in on the morning.
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