Continued . . .
The San Gabriel Mountains could barely be seen against the black morning sky. Then, just before 5:30, a fiery glow appeared, illuminating the peaks off to the east. As in 1993, raging fires had broken out near Santa Anita, although these were some 40 miles away.
By Ray Paulick -- The 20th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships had everything a racing fan could ask for: heart-pounding finishes; championship performances, boxcar mutuels, and human interest stories.
By Dan Liebman -- The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is a day for celebration. But this year it also left pedigree lovers feeling a twinge of sadness. Of the nine winners on the day, four are by sires now deceased.
Continuing to build on its increased distribution, TVG's handle on Saturday, the day of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, was $3,362,026, 31.1% higher than on Breeders' Cup day in 2002.
Graham Stone, a 40-year-old jeweler and father of three, reveals plans for the winnings and the strategy that resulted in one of the biggest pick six payoffs in North American history.
After months of debate, the California Horse Racing Board has shot down a proposal for a wager in which winning is tied to losing favorites.
The commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said this year's Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 -- hit for more than $2.6 million on an $8 ticket -- was legitimate and the result of a "very fortunate, skillful player."
Dick Mandella's remarkable achievement of four Breeders' Cup victories highlighted an unforgettable afternoon of racing. But there were other heroes, and other thoughts to ponder.
Connections of most of the nine winning horses (counting one dead-heat) from Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships were non-committal Sunday about future plans, but there is a possibility one or more of the horses could run again this year.
Trainer Richard Mandella remained non-committal Sunday about plans for his four Breeders' Cup winners, including Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Trainer Bob Baffert said Stonerside Stable's Congaree, who set the pace in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) before finishing fourth, will make his next start in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) Nov. 29 at Aqueduct.
Sheikh Maktoum's Storming Home, seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), had a chunk taken out of his right hind foot when he was involved in a bumping incident with Sulamani rounding the first turn.
The 2003 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was a record-setter in terms of handle, both on track at Santa Anita Park and throughout the world via simulcasting. Meanwhile, despite several longshots, there was one winning ticket worth more than $2.6 million in the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6.
Richard Mandella won his fourth race on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship card, and Alex Solis continued a celebration that began Friday when notching his 4,000th win, as Pleasantly Perfect won the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
For the first time in Breeders' Cup history, a race ended in a dead-heat. In a thrilling three-horse stretch drive, High Chaparral and Johar finished on even terms, with Falbrav just a nod behind those two in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I).
With a wicked late kick, favored Islington prevailed in a heated stretch duel with 45-1 longshot L'Ancresse to win the 1 ¼-mile Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) by a neck.
Adoration, the longest shot on the board, went wire-to-wire to take the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I) by 4 1/2 lengths, a shocking beginning to the 20th Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita.
The sun is shining brightly on Santa Anita as the early post time for the first race on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships approaches. With the races in California, the television viewing time necessitates the first Breeders' Cup post time be 10:20 P.D.T.
As the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships approached the morning of Oct. 25, officials were hoping this year's $3-million guaranteed Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 would be a success in light of last year's well-publicized incident of insider tampering. Measures are in place to avoid a similar scenario.
As in past Breeders' Cups, there are longshots galore in this year's World Thoroughbred Championships. Finding them, however, is another matter. This year, the task will be more challenging than usual.
It was a bit of the good news, bad news story for the 2-year-old colt Capitano in the Oct. 5 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita. He finished a solid second, defeating seven other juveniles.
He was considered ordinary as a young horse, but Storming Home now ranks among racing's elite. The 5-year-old son of Machiavellian is the probable favorite for Saturday's John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita.
Tom VanMeter II hopes he has the bases covered in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). A principal in Eaton Sales along with Reiley McDonald, VanMeter has sold many "home run" runners, but he has two of his own on deck for the $1-million race for 2-year-old fillies: Be Gentle and Victory U.S.A.
All the time, trainers map out a schedule for a horse. Sometimes it works out. Other times it doesn't. And when it does work out, there is always one very important thing at work.
If Breeders' Cup history repeats itself at this year's World Thoroughbred Championships, bet on sunny weather and horses who have raced previously at Santa Anita.
A company specializing in surveillance systems reported Thursday to the California Horse Racing Board on the success of an experimental program that included two digital cameras monitoring activities in the stable area at Del Mar last summer.
The first horse Bill Heiligbrodt owned ran in the 1989 Breeders' Cup. It was a memorable experience, but not a good memory. On Saturday, Heiligbrodt and his wife, Corrine, hope for better memories.
The Joe Hirsch/Bill Leggett 2003 Breeders' Cup Writing Awards, which were presented Wednesday night, were won by Pat Forde, who became the first three-time winner, and Billy Reed, the first back-to-back winner. Both stories concerned the winner of the 2002 Classic, Volponi, and his Hall of Fame trainer, P. G. Johnson.
Mowing. Spiking. Watering. Tamping. And don't forget worrying. Leif Dickinson, turf course superintendent at Santa Anita, has been doing all of those things to ready the grass for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
There is little doubt Halfbridled looms large over her 13 rivals in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) both from a size and form perspective. However, the supersized daughter of Unbridled won't find a field she can push around on Saturday.
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) is loaded with 2-year-old fillies trained by big-time names like Lukas, Baffert, and Mandella. Not to be lost among the shuffle, however, is newcomer Adam Kitchingman. The 29-year-old Australian conditioner is sending out his first stakes winner ever, Dixie High, in the $1-million Juvenile Fillies.
Most trainers are spending this Breeders' Cup week convincing themselves and everyone around them they have the absolute best horse in their respective races. Dermot Weld, it should be known, is an exception to the rule.
This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the Breeders' Cup, and only one trainer has saddled horses in each rendition of racing's biggest day. D. Wayne Lukas, in addition to his vast success in Triple Crown events, is by far the winningest Breeders' Cup conditioner.
Adoration, Dimatrova and Minister Eric topped the Breeders's Cup work tab at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
There was plenty of intrigue and a few 'oohs' and 'aahs' during the post position draw for the eight-race Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita Wednesday morning as the fields were set, the morning lines made, and head-to-head wagers announced.
The English bookmaking operations were busy updating their odds Wednesday morning after the post-position draw was held for Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita.
Medaglia d'Oro was installed as the 3-1 favorite for the $4-m illion Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) when a field of 10 was entered Wednesday for the 1 1/4 mile race at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Former jockey Corey Black wears several hats these days. He's a high-profile and well-liked racing expert on TVG. He leads the Seabiscuit backstretch tours several days a week at Santa Anita. And he's the work rider for the sometimes-troubled John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) favorite Storming Home.
On two different occasions in 2002, Bluesthestandard was claimed for $10,000. This year, he's ready to roll in the grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint, which will be held in his own back yard.
Patrick Biancone once had classic aspirations for Zavata. He doesn't mind admitting now the colt is a sprinter.
One jockey will be honored for overall outstanding performance in this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and subsequent editions of the event with the Bill Shoemaker Award, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup announced Oct. 21.
Only a few of the European runners in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships left the quarantine area Tuesday morning, but among them were some big names.
Trainer Elie Lellouche has told a representative of the International Racing Bureau in France that the Wildenstein family's Bright Sky will run in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) rather than the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I).
Retired jockey Chris McCarron is no stranger to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, but this year, he'll be watching as general manager of host track Santa Anita Park.
Scott Lake was staring up at the San Gabriel Mountains that rise majestically behind Santa Anita. His Breeders' Cup starter was cooling out in the barn behind him.
Azeri, who was declared out of the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I) on Monday morning, has an injured tendon, trainer Laura de Seroux said later in the day.
As a third-generation horseman, trainer Thomas "Ray" Bell II is no stranger to good horses. So when Mr. and Mrs. Vicken Meguerditchian's Capitano came along, 49-year-old Bell knew the son of Belong to Me was special.
Following a three-hour hearing, Irish racing officials Monday confirmed High Chaparral as the winner of the The Food Island Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown Sept. 7, dismissing an appeal to the original stewards' decision brought by the connections of Falbrav.
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