Invasor passes Bernardini to win the Classic

Invasor passes Bernardini to win the Classic

Alexander Barkoff

Breeders' Cup Winners Discuss Future Plans

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.

The event featured an introduction by interim Breeders' Cup and National Thoroughbred Racing Association president Greg Avioli, who said that while no official agreement has been reached, it is a strong possibility that the Breeders' Cup will return to Churchill Downs in 2008 after being running at Monmouth Park in 2007.

"In terms of business, we had strong attendance of 75,132, a common pool handle of $136,726,378, and an on-track handle of $18,259,971 that breaks the previous Breeders' Cup record of $16,346,688 set at the 2003 Breeders Cup at Santa Anita Park," Avioli said. "(It was) a great job by our host, Churchill Downs. We had deep, talented fields and amazing performances on the track and the fans responded. The results were strong by any measure."

Dreaming of Anna: Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Trainer Wayne Catalano started the morning with comments on 2-year-old Dreaming of Anna (Rahy--Justenuffheart, by Broad Brush), who won the $1,832,000 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) for owner Frank Calabrese.

"She'd been training very well," Catalano said of Calabrese's homebred. "These races are real tough to win, but she's a brilliant filly on the grass, so we thought when we tried the dirt we'd just wait for the Breeders' Cup. Rene Douglas rode a good race; there was speed on the rail, we used it, and it worked out."

According to Catalano, Dreaming of Anna will be stabled at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., over the winter and may return to the turf next year.

"Now we'll just let everything settle down and look everything over; she probably won't run any more this year," he said. "We'll look her schedule up and see what we're gonna do. She handled the dirt very well, it was a pretty impressive race, but she's gonna be a lot better when we get her back on the turf; I don't think you've seen the real filly running (until then)."

Street Sense: Bessemer Trust Juvenile
Carl Nafzger, trainer of $1,832,000 Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) winner Street Sense (by Street Cry), called the 10-length victory "a very pleasant surprise," and admitted he was a little awestruck by the colt's performance for owner/breeder James Tafel.

"Whatever you want to do, whenever you decide to push the button, he'll do it," Nafzger said. "He likes it at Churchill, this is where he trains, this is what he runs on every day, and when he got to the stretch it was like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to run down the lane here.' This is only his fifth out, he's learning and he's a very smart colt; he hasn't matured yet."

Nafzger also said his colt would not run for the rest of the year, and will eventually be looking to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

"They've already paid our nomination fee to the Blue Grass, so we'll probably look there if the colt's doing real well and needs a race," he said. "We will not take him out of training; he just won't work as hard, he won't work as much, we'll back off of him and let him get himself together, and then we'll start to move him forward toward the first Saturday in May."

Ouija Board: Filly and Mare Turf
Owner Lord "Teddy" Derby said the brilliant Ouija Board has given his team the ride of their lives after winning the 2004 running of the Filly & Mare Turf, finishing second to Intercontinental in 2005, and winning again this year.

"She's just incredible," he told reporters. "She always comes back, she always goes on, so it's a huge credit, not just to her, but to (trainer) Ed (Dunlop) and all the team. To keep a horse at that condition, that level of quality, for three years in a row is remarkable."

Lord Derby said the 5-year-old daughter of Cape Cross, bred in Great Britain by his Stanley State and Stud, has been invited to Japan and Hong Kong and may run once or twice before returning to Kentucky for the 2007 breeding season. She has been booked to Kingmambo.

Thor's Echo: TVG Sprint

15-1 shot Thor's Echo (by Swiss Yodeler) stole the TVG Sprint with a four-length upset, and even co-owner Pablo Suarez admitted to being surprised.

"We just started out with claiming horses and gradually tried to upgrade in quality," said Suarez, who owns the horse with Royce S. Jaime. "To have a horse come in here and be in the race is just a thrill. To be honest with you, I didn't think we would win."

But trainer Doug O'Neill was keen on the 4-year-old gelding from the beginning.

"We came in thinking Lava Man, Great Hunter, and Thor's Echo, those three were our big chances," he said, tipping his hat to breeders Fast Lane Farms, Block, and Forman. "We're just extremely thankful to be around those kind of horses. This race was truly a credit to the horse, he's very sturdy, he's a much-loved horse and he was very well taken care of before we even got our hands on him."

Miesque's Approval: NetJets Mile

Trainer Marty Wolfson was already on a plane back to his home base in Florida, but during a Nov. 4 post-race interview, owner Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation said she had not yet decided whether the homebred would start again or retire to stud after 29 career starts.

"I'm just going to enjoy the moment," she said. "I'll tell you that later."

Round Pond: Emirates Airline Distaff

Trainer Michael Matz shared his sympathies for the owners of euthanized filly Pine Island, fatally injured in the Distaff, and contemplated the strange twist of fate that brought him to the winner's circle

"Obviously, with what happened to Pine Island, our thoughts are with all the connections," Matz said. "It's been an unbelievable summer, that's for sure."

Of Round Pond's 4 ½ -length win, Matz said it was good to have Fox Hill Farms' filly, bred by Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan, back in condition after a troubled summer.

"We had our problems with (Round Pond) this summer, and it was just great to get her back in top form," he said. "She was coming into the race better than I ever had her. It was great to get a win."

Matz said the 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again  may run again before retiring.

"We were going to retire her before the race, but yesterday (the owners) said they might race her," he said. "I think after we get her back home we'll take a look at her and see what we want to do."

Red Rocks: John Deere Turf

Trainer Brian Meehan said 3-year-old Red Rocks (by Galileo), bred in Ireland by Ballylinch Stud, will point toward Dubai after winning the John Deere Turf (gr. IT) and turning out a string of good performances in Europe for owner J. Paul Reddam.

"His form in Europe has been very consistent throughout the summer," Meehan said. "This win has a huge impact on the team, it's a great achievement to get a horse this far, it's a long way from home."

"Brian's target all along has been one of the grass races in Dubai," Reddam said. "He's told me all along that this horse would be a better 4-year-old than 3-year-old, and I'm thinking, OK, if he stays as good as a 4-year-old, I'll take that. So we'll get a rest, that'll be our target, there's some exciting races in Europe next summer, and hopefully we'll be back at Monmouth Park next year."

Invasor: Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Classic winner Invasor (by Candy Stripes), was already back in New York Sunday morning, but his brother, Neill McLaughlin, spoke for all of the winning connections when he said their "feet haven't hit the ground.

"It really hasn't sunk in, the amazing accomplishment of yesterday, but Kiaran's put a lot of hard work into this game, and Shadwell and the Maktoums have put a lot of money and work into it, and it all paid off yesterday."

McLaughlin credited 18-year-old jockey Fernando Jara with a perfect ride in the Classic, and also praised his brother's training abilities.

"He's a wonderful rider, he's so calm and cool, he just eases a horse up over the wire," he said. "It was a great ride. That horse needs a target to run at, he is one of those horses that will, if he gets there too soon, kind of idle a bit. When he got behind Bernardini and had a target to run at, that was just a perfect trip.

"Kiaran did a great training job with this horse," he said. "We missed our last prep because he had a temperature, but Michael Matz showed us this spring that you can bring a fresh horse into Churchill Downs and be successful. He brought Barbaro in here with a bit of a rest and a fresh horse, that gave us a silver lining and we thought we could do it.

McLaughlin said no decision has been made on the future of Invasor, who was bred in Argentina by Haras Clausan.

"Sheikn Hamdan wanted to sleep on that; he was so excited and he didn't want to make any rash decisions," McLaughlin said. "But being the sportsman he is, I hope that he would like to bring the horse over to Dubai to the World Cup and continue racing next year."