A post-race fight between jockey Calvin Borel and rider Javier Castellano upstaged the $454,500 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. III) (VIDEO), the first race on the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup World Championship card at Churchill Downs.
The scuffle began as Borel and Castellano were weighing out following the 1 3/4-mile race that included some serious bumping at the five-sixteenths pole as the field rounded the second turn for the second time.
Replays showed that Castellano, aboard Prince Will I Am, bore out, impeding Romp, who was ridden by Martin Garcia. Garcia’s horse stumbled badly and the rider was clearly out of the saddle, but miraculously recovered and kept Romp on his feet. The incident between Castellano and Garcia also caused Borel, who was on A. U. Miner, to nearly become unseated and had to steady his mount.
Borel was livid, and was restrained after tangling with Castellano as an ESPN audience and the crowd at Churchill Downs looked on. Numerous attempts to restrain Borel were unsuccessful for several minutes until his wife Lisa and someone else escorted him through the tunnel leading to the track.
“I had so much horse," said Castellano afterward. "I had pressure outside me. I went for a hole and they said I took his lane (Garcia on Romp). I don’t know. I don’t know.”
The stewards immediately undertook an extensive inquiry of the incident during the race and eventually disqualified Prince William I Am and placed him 10th.
Eldaafer, trained by Diane Alvarado for IEAH Stables and Mansour Albaroudy, won by 1 3/4 lengths and paid $23.20, $12.00, and $7.00. Gabriel’s Will, elevated to second, returned $25.40 and $13.20, and A. U. Miner was worth $5.20 to show.
A 5-year-old gelded son of A.P. Indy--Habibti, by Tabasco Cat, Eldaafer was bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm. Michael Iavarone, president of IEAH, said the racing entity acquired the Marathon winner about two weeks previous to the Marathon. Eldaafer has now won nine of 24 career starts, with five third-place finishes.
Albaroudy claimed Eldaafer for $20,00 at Aqueduct in January 2009.
"I loved the breeding on him," he said. "I watched him the first time he ran. I couldn't believe it. I claimed him. The day that I claimed him, I said, 'I'm going to the Breeders' Cup.' They laughed at me."
He ran the seldom-used 1 3/4 miles in 2:59.64, two-hundredths of a second faster than the previous track record.
“Oh my God, I’m so proud of him, he’s done everything right all year," Alvarado said of Eldaafer, a four-time winner in 10 starts in 2010. "This means everything to me, I can’t even think of what I’m feeling right now.”
Eldaafer raced fourth for the first 10 furlongs as Gabriel's Hill set the pace (:51.42, 1:17.44, 1:43.60) into the stretch. Responding when toused round the final turn, Eldaafer drew even between horses at the eighth pole and outfought Prince Will I Am to edge clear in the final yards.
“It was perfect for me," Velazquez said. "He broke great and I was able to get good position. When the others started coming back to me at the quarter pole, I asked him for his run and he just exploded away from them.”
Edaafer's career mark now stands at 9-0-5 in 24 races with earnings of $678,132.
John Veitch, senior state steward for Kentucky, said the stewards will review the tape of the Marathon and interview each of the jockeys involved on the morning of Nov. 6. He said any disciplinary action would not affect the rider’s ability to honor their commitments through the Breeders’ Cup races and the Sunday, Nov. 7 card at Churchill Downs.