O'Brien Warms Up for Breeders' Cup Party

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who has an opportunity to win at least four Breeders' Cup races Saturday, enjoyed a magnificent showing Sunday at Milan's San Siro, winning a pair of Group I races.

The victories came courtesy of Spartacus in the Gran Criterium for 2-year-olds and Black Sam Bellamy in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club.

O'Brien's Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing (Mile and Classic), High Chaparral (Turf) and Hold That Tiger and Van Nistelrooy (Juvenile) are among the top contenders in the Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park.

Spartacus, a son of Danehill owned by Mrs. John Magnier, got things going with a commanding three-length victory over Mick Channon's Checkit.

The victory was marred by a fall involving three jockeys.

German champion jockey Andrasch Starke, Danish jockey Lennart Hammer-Hansen and Italian ace Mirco Demuro were unseated in the incident, which occurred on the turn into the final straight.

Early indications were that Hammer-Hansen suffered a broken chin and neck injury, while Starke was kept in hospital for precautionary X-rays of his stomach. Demuro was shaken, but did not require hospitalization.

The three horses escaped serious injury.

Frankie Dettori, the rider of third-placed Excelsius, picked up a three-day ban for his part in the fall. Judged to have crowded Demuro's mount, Silverboat, Dettori was held partially responsible for the incident. His dates of suspension are Oct. 29, 30 and 31, which do not clash with any major race dates.

Phoenix Stakes winner Spartacus, ridden by Michael Kinane was leading and was well clear of the mishap.

Kinane was also aboard front-running Black Sam Bellamy in Gran Premio del Jockey Club.

A full brother to Galileo, Michael Tabor's Black Sam Bellamy fought back bravely when headed to deny the German filly, Guadalupe, by a shoulder at the wire of the 1 1/2-mile feature.

The 3-year-old son of Sadler's Wells was slow into stride but quickly assumed control until passed briefly in the final furlong.