Breeders' Cup Followup: How They Fared and Where They are Headed

Breeders' Cup Followup: How They Fared and Where They are Headed
Photo: Jeff Snyder
Speightstown, Breeders' Cup Sprint winner retired to stud.
Edited from Breeders' Cup Notes Team

Tom Albertrani (Balletto, second, Juvenile Fillies, gr. I) – "I'm delighted. She ran her race. She had a good trip. She was just beaten by a very nice filly. I hope she'll come back a little stronger next year and be an even better filly next year."

He said he believed the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) would be "part of the program" for her next year but that all the plans would be made by owner Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum of Darley Stable.

"She'll most likely stop this year," Albertrani said. "Sheikh Mohammed will decide in a few days. He'll decide which coast, which country. He'll decide the future plans. It's strictly his decision."

Stable foreman Benjamin Amezcua said the filly ate up all her grain Saturday night and Sunday morning and she was happily eating hay at 8 a.m. "She's starving all the time," he said.

Bob Baffert (Roman Ruler, fifth, Bessemer Trust Juvenile, gr. I) -- "We threw a gutter ball, but we'll just reload and try again. He came out of the race great, and he's on his way back [to California] now. This is the end of his season. He won't run again until probably February. He's had some hard races."

Patrick Biancone (Sense of Style, ninth, Juvenile Fillies, and Magistretti, fourth, John Deere Turf, gr. IT) -- "Both of them came back good and sound. I'm happy about that, and we'll try again."

Edgar Prado was forced to check Magistretti in the stretch of the Turf when Better Talk Now came in slightly, one of two incidents that resulted in both an objection and a stewards' inquiry against the winner, but the results were allowed to stand.

"What can we do?" Biancone said. "It's racing. But a big horse like that, (checking) breaks his rhythm. But it's part of the game. That's why I don't want to be a steward."

Sense of Style broke in the air, and Biancone said that cost her any chance of victory.

"I think at this level, you have to have everything go perfect. You can't miss the start ... You're done. Those are the main things that became what happened. She jumped in the air and bumped a horse.

"You need to be lucky too," Biancone added. "Every race you can see something that happened. Magistretti was bumped. Pleasantly Perfect had to go seven wide. It's like the Olympic Games. You have to be the best that day. You have to have everything go right. Three days later it might be a different race. It was great to be a part of it. It was a great day."

"The filly will get a good holiday, Magistretti the same thing."

Julio Canani (Sweet Catomine, winner, Juvenile Fillies; Blackdoun and Special Ring, seventh and 13th in the NetJets Mile, gr. IT) -- The trainer savored his Juvenile Fillies victory with Sweet Catomine but the two-time Mile-winning trainer settled for seventh and 13th-place finishes by Blackdoun and Special Ring this year.

"The turf was too soft for them, but both came back good," said Canani, who welcomed the trio back at his Santa Anita barn Sunday morning after being flown back from Texas.

Neil Drysdale (Musical Chimes, sixth, Mile) – The Southern California-based trainer returned home Saturday evening following his filly Musical Chimes' sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile Saturday at Lone Star Park. The 4-year-old shipped from the track at 4 a.m. Sunday headed back to California.

Bobby Frankel (Light Jig and Musical Chimes, seventh and 11th, in Filly & Mare Turf; Cajun Beat and Midas Eyes, fifth and 10th in Sprint; Nothing to Lose, 11th in Mile; Ghostzapper, winner, Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge, gr. I) – The Hall of Fame trainer brought seven runners to Dallas for Breeders' Cup Day, six for the main events and one for one of the preliminary events. Five of them where headed to California Sunday morning, while two others would fly to New York at 5 a.m. Monday.

The trainer's chief groom, Ruben Loza, who has been with him for 27 years, noted that the five headed to California were Light Jig and Megahertz, Cajun Beat, Nothing to Lose and Snorter. The pair jetting east to New York were Midas Eyes and Ghostzapper.

Murray Johnson (Perfect Drift, fourth, Classic)
"It was hard to close. We closed with the best horse in the world [Pleasantly Perfect, who finished third] – we were head and head with him, and he didn't make up much ground on the other two either.

"He came out of the race OK, and he'll run in the Clark [Handicap] at Churchill Downs the day after Thanksgiving. That'll give him one more race [nine] than he usually has. That keeps him fit a little longer. Then we'll give him a little rest, and not let him down quite so much.

"We think we've maintained a good level of performance all year and we think he's running as well as he ever has. When you're a stay-back horse you're at the mercy of the front end, and if the front-end horses don't go fast, you don't have much chance to close ground. For instance, it looked like Azeri was done at the quarter pole and she still hung on to be fifth.

"We'll be back to run again next year [with the gelding]. We're very careful, and take good care of him. He's has some minor foot problems but that's all."

D. Wayne Lukas (Azeri, fifth, Classic; Stellar Jayne, third, Distaff; Consolidator, fourth, Juvenile) – On Stellar Jayne: "She could have won with a little bit different trip. She was wide on the first turn, wide on the second turn and made a big run, but just came up a little short because of where she came from.

"The other horse (Ashado) had a perfect trip. I thought she (Stellar Jayne) ran huge. She is going to sell Nov. 8 at Keeneland. After that we will see who owns her. Hopefully, I will be able to keep her."

On Consolidator: "We will back off on him and he goes to California. He is a May 16 baby and we will give him some time and pick him back up the first of January."

Lukas said he was happy with Consolidator's showing Saturday.

"I think the thing that compromised him and I was worried about it all week – was he ran such a great race at Keeneland (in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity) and he had to come back in three weeks, and being a May 16 baby, that makes it tough. I did not think he had the constitution and maturity to come back really good in three weeks. Surprisingly, he ran huge for where I was at. I thought he ran a hell of a race."

On Azeri: "She beat a lot of good ones that you guys (the media) liked. There were a lot of nice horses behind her. We were realistic from the start. I think our chances were compromised from the start when Ghostzapper out-broke us a little bit and jumped in front of us and pushed us down on the inside, and then here comes Roses in May. We did not want to be on the rail, but I think Ghostzapper did not want to be on the rail, either."

On the day at Lone Star in general: "I thought it was terrific. What a good job they did. Unbelievable. You could move around; get something to eat. The traffic control was excellent. It was really done with a lot of class. It was surprisingly good for the facility.

"I don't know about the guys in the bleachers, how they felt about it, but from where I was sitting, it was outstanding. It held its own. They can sure put out a bid and get it again, as far as I am concerned. The hospitality was about as good as it gets.

"One thing about the smaller tracks, and Arlington did the same thing, the hospitality was second to none. They want to show that they can step up with the bigger ones and do it as well as they do. Actually, they try harder."

Richard Mandella (Pleasantly Perfect, third, Classic) -- The trainer of Pleasantly Perfect, third as the defending champion in the Classic, said the 6-year-old horse came out of the race with a minor injury to a hind ankle.

"He came out of it a little jarred up behind," said the Hall of Fame trainer Sunday morning after shipping the horse back to California to his stable at Santa Anita.

"It doesn't look like anything serious, but we'll run him through a scan," said Mandella.

Pleasantly Perfect raised his career earnings to $7,789,880 with the $440,000 third prize. He could make one more start in the Japan Cup Dirt on Nov. 27, pending results of the scan, before retirement to stud at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky.

Claude "Shug" McGaughey (Storm Flag Flying, second, Distaff) -- With a second-place finish in the Distaff, the filly put an end to a successful racing career that brought her the juvenile filly division championship in 2002, earnings of $1,951,828 and a record of 7-3-3 from 14 starts.

Her dam, My Flag, was the Juvenile Fillies winner in 1995. My Flag is also the daughter of 1989 Classic runner-up and Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer and Personal Ensign, who capped her undefeated career with what many consider the most dramatic finish in racing history, the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Naturally, such bloodlines demand the best and Storm Flag Flying will leave Lone Star Park on Monday morning for Claiborne Farm, in Paris, Ky., and in 2005 will be bred to 1992 Classic winner and Horse of the Year A.P. Indy.

McGaughey and his wife, Allison, left early Sunday morning for the Bahamas. Among the vacation activities for the couple will be bonefishing aboard Phipps' yacht, Buckpasser.

Mike Mitchell (Kela, second, Sprint, Star Over the Bay, eighth, Turf) -- "Both horses pulled up great," said trainer Mike Mitchell Sunday morning of Kela, runner-up in the Sprint, and Star Over the Bay, who faded to last in the Turf over a soft grass course he did not relish.

"Kela ran his race; we were very happy with him," said Mitchell. Both horses were flown Sunday to California, where Mitchell will formulate plans from Hollywood Park.

Fenella O'Flynn, assistant trainer to H. Graham Motion (Better Talk Now, winner, Turf; Film Maker, second, Filly & Mare Turf; Dance Away Capote, fifth, Juvenile Fillies) – "It was overwhelming, unbelievable. I can't say it in words. They all ran helluva' races. They're great (Sunday)."

Todd Pletcher (Ashado winner, Distaff; Proud Accolade, sixth, Juvenile; Speightstown, winner, Sprint; Newfoundland, 12th, Classic) - Trainer Todd Pletcher left for New York on Sunday morning, the day after he won the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel with Ashado and the Sprint with Speightstown giving him his first Breeders' Cup victories.

Assistant trainer Juan Aguayo said that Ashado, Proud Accolade and Newfoundland would ship to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida on Tuesday, while Speightstown, will ship to WinStar Farm in Kentucky on Monday, where he will begin his stud career. Speightstown, a 6yo Gone West horse owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, retires with a record of 10-2-2 from 16 starts and earnings of $1,288,256.

Marcelo Polanco (Island Fashion, fifth, distaff; Culture Clash, 10th, Juvenile Fillies) – The Southern California-based trainer was airborne back to the Golden State Saturday night after saddling two fillies in the 21st Breeders' Cup that afternoon at Lone Star Park. The two fillies left the North Dallas track at approximately 10:30 a.m. for a California flight of their own.

Tim Ritchey (Afleet Alex, second in Juvenile) – "He came back very good, cooled out well, ate his dinner last night and breakfast today. He ships to Delaware Park on Monday and will get the winter off and then ship to Oaklawn Park. I go there most of the time as normal routine. I think it is really a great place to prep for the Derby.

"He has run six times and just needs a rest. I want to have a good 3-year-old; that's our main goal. It would have been nice if he could have won this race. We didn't, but he ran his race.

"The winner ran a great race, but I would have liked to have been sitting where he was rather than getting eliminated leaving there and then getting bounced going into the first turn and parked seven or eight wide.

"He ran a lot farther than a mile and a sixteenth. I told the owners we just needed to get a good trip and he didn't get a good trip. He showed up and ran like a champion even though he got beat."

Should Afleet Alex be the juvenile champion?

"If I had a vote, it would be a no-brainer. No other 2-year-old has done what he has done. He showed up every race. He won one grade I, finished a game second with trouble in both races in two other grade I's and won another grade II in which he broke a 34-year-old track record and ran faster than Secretariat in the race. That really amazed me that day."

Marty Wygod (owner, Sweet Catomine, winner, Juvenile Fillies) -- "It feels as good as yesterday," said Marty Wygod, owner-breeder of Juvenile Fillies winner Sweet Catomine, with wife Pam on Sunday morning.

"We were always very high on her, and just thought she needed a clean trip in the race, and she didn't get that," said Wygod in reference to the filly being forced to steady sharply on the far turn before rallying for victory in a brisk 1:41.65 for 1 1/16 miles.

"He (jockey Corey Nakatani) gave her a tap, and she just took off again," said Wygod. The time was faster than the 1:42 recorded by Wilko in the Juvenile later in the day.

"This is my biggest thrill in racing," said Wygod, a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., who said the first horse he owned was in 1965.

"Sweet Catomine will get the rest of the year off," said Wygod. "She is growing very rapidly."

Wygod said he owns a yearling half-sister to the winner by Giant's Causeway, and that dam Sweet Life is back in foal to Storm Cat.

Wygod credited trainer Julio Canani. "Julio said he kept her happy and kept her smiling, and she just kept improving," said Wygod. The filly was flown back to California Sunday morning to join the Canani stable at Santa Anita.

The victory was the first in a Breeders' Cup race for the Wygods, who were co-owners of Pirate's Glow in the 1984 Juvenile Fillies inaugural. "It's been 21 years and was worth every year of the wait," said Pam. "This is as good as it gets."

Nick Zito (Birdstone, seventh, Classic; Sun King, third, Juvenile) -- "They both came out of their races in good shape. I thought we could do a little better, but that's the way it goes.

"They're both done for the year. They'll get some time off. I'm shipping them to Kentucky.

Birdstone: "In the Classic, we never had our chance to really run, from the get-go. He wasn't in the clear like I wanted him. If we could have got position early, I think it could have been the key. I'm not saying he would have beaten Ghostzapper or any of those first four horses, but I think he would have been more competitive.

"He was trying to run, but there was nowhere to run. He was in between horses. He's just a little horse. It reminded me of the Kentucky Derby a little bit [where he finished eighth]. But he came back good. We are in no hurry with him and have no immediate plans. He'll get a break and then we'll talk about it. We are going to Kentucky for a while and then on to Florida in December (at Palm Meadows)."

Sun King: "He came back OK, but he's got a little shin [problem], which is all right, He didn't buck (the shin). We'll send him to Kentucky and fire the shin."

Handling the track: "I don't want to blame the track for anything. Whether the horses handled it as best as they might have, it was good for safety, and for me that's the most important thing."

Artie Schiller (12th, Mile) - The favorite in the Mile, Artie Schiller finished 12th as both trainer Jimmy Jerkens and jockey Richard Migliore saw as a failure to handle the yielding turf course. He is expected to ship back to Belmont Park on Monday.

Funny Cide (10th, Classic) - The 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner headed back to Belmont Park Sunday morning. He will get some down time, and then ship to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

"We're disappointed, but he didn't handle the track at all," said trainer Barclay Tagg, who returned to New York on Sunday morning. "We'll give him some time and bring him back next year."

Funny Cide won three of 10 starts this year, with his big win of the year coming in Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 2.

Roses in May and Kitten's Joy (second, Classic; second, Turf) – Earl Puckett, assistant to trainer Dale Romans, reported the two colts came out of Saturday's event in good order and would ship back to their home base at Churchill Downs on Monday.

Aidan O'Brien (Powerscourt, Antonius Pius, Scandanavia, Mona Lisa & Yesterday) -- Four of the five runners from the Coolmore team boarded a van early Sunday morning, vanning to Houston where they will board a flight that will go first to Amsterdam and then back home to Ireland.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien's team came back without a victory but 3-year-old Antonius Pius finished a good second in the Mile, Powerscourt finished third in the Turf and Yesterday fifth in the Filly & Mare Turf. Scandanavia checked in eighth in the Juvenile while Mona Lisa finished 11th in the Juvenile Fillies.

Yesterday was making her final career start and will be flown to Kentucky and Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles. Racing for Mrs. John Magnier and Mrs. Richard Henry, the 4yo daughter of Sadler's Wells also finished third in the Filly & Mare Turf last fall at Santa Anita.

Diamond Green, Whipper & Aubonne (eighth and 10th, mile; 12th, Filly & Mare Turf) -- All three will be flown to Paris on a flight leaving at 3 a.m. Monday and are expected to remain in training next year. Robert C. Strauss' 3-year-old colt Whipper finished 10th in the Mile.

Lagardere Family's 3-year-old Diamond Green, 8th in the Mile, returns to trainer Andre Fabre's Chantilly and Gary Tanaka's 4-year-old filly Aubonne, last of 12 in the Filly & Mare Turf, goes back to trainer Eric Libaud.

Nebraska Tornado (eighth, Distaff) -- Juddmonte Farm's 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat also made her final career start with an eighth-place finish in the Distaff and is bound for Juddmonte's Kentucky farm to be bred.

Ouija Board (winner, Filly & Mare Turf) -- At Sunday morning's Breeders' Cup Press Breakfast, Lord Derby said, "We think she's a world champion," a statement few would challenge after her sensational campaign in Europe and victory in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The filly will be kept in training next year with all of the major Group I events in the summer against males to be chosen from. Ouija Board will fly with three French-trained horses (see below) to Paris at 3 a.m. Monday before returning to England Tuesday.

Plans call for her to make a return trip to the U.S. next fall for the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park with the John Deere Turf again an option to consider. "She will have a well deserved rest," continued Lord Derby. Ouija Board is his only horse in training at present.

Personal Rush (sixth, Classic) -- The colt left early Sunday morning for California and a return trip to Japan where he will be quarantined and not race again this year. The 3yo son of Wild Rush will have a summer campaign with the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park as the final goal. He finished a respectable sixth in Saturday's Classic.

Six Perfections (third, Mile) -- Niarchos Family's 2003 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile heroine finished a game third in Saturday's renewal with trouble in the race. Trained throughout a brilliant career by Pascal Bary, the daughter of Celtic Swing has made her final start and will ship to Kentucky where she is expected to be bred to Storm Cat in the spring.

Wilko (winner, Juvenile) -- J. Paul Reddam and Susan Roy's 2-year-old Wilko posted a stunning 28-to-1 upset in Saturday's Bessemer Trust Juvenile, making his final start for trainer Jeremy Noseda, who guided his career in England this year.

"My part is done," said Noseda at the Breeders' Cup Press Breakfast Sunday morning. "We took a chance that it would work out," referring to the fact that it was the Awesome Again colt's first try on dirt. "He trained well at home on the all-weather track.

"I would have been happy to have been third. He's a tough horse – a grinder." Even before Saturday's victory, plans called for the colt to be sent to California and trainer Craig Dollase, who trains Reddam's 2003 Distaff runner-up Elloluv and other good ones.

Most Popular Stories