Breeders’ Cup - Sunday Notes

December 10, 2019

Art Sherman - “He pulled up good,” said Art Sherman, trainer of Breeders’ Cup Classic third-place finisher California Chrome by telephone from his Los Alamitos base Sunday after shipping the 3yo colt back from Santa Anita Saturday night.

“It was a great race for him, and a game race to get beat by a neck,” added Sherman of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Santa Anita Derby winner. “Maybe with a stronger race the one before (Pennsylvania Derby) he might have won, but I don’t know.”

Sherman said future plans for the California-bred colt had not yet been formulated.

“I’ll have to talk to the owners,” said Sherman of Steve Coburn and Perry Martin.

As for Eclipse Award honors for 3yo colt and Horse of the Year, Sherman thought the controversial finish left the outcome unclear. “It’s up in the air now,” said the trainer.

Regardless of the outcome, the 77-year-old trainer could not imagine a more memorable year. “It’s been a great run,” he said. “He’s done everything we wanted…$4 million…It’s been a great year.”

Jerry Hollendorfer – “He came out OK,” said Hollendorfer of Shared Belief, who finished fourth in the Classic. “I don’t have any plans. He will go back to Golden Gate Fields. He needs to be freshened up a bit.”

Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s chief assistant, went into other details. Like Hollendorfer, he chose not to comment about the controversy surrounding an early bumping incident in which favored Shared Belief was adversely affected. Stewards ruled no change following a lengthy inquiry.

“We want to make sure he’s OK,” said Ward. “He will walk and rest for a couple of days before shipping back to Golden Gate.”

Ward also agreed that 3yo and Horse of the Year honors were left a puzzle after the Classic. “All the 3yos ran good,” he said of the unprecedented 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish by sophomores in the race.”

Ward said that Parranda (sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) was flown to Kentucky for the Keeneland November sale Monday and that Majestic Presence (ninth in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) could resurface at the upcoming Del Mar fall meet.

“She came back with a lot of dirt in her face,” said Ward of Majestic Presence. “She was covered with mud. It looked like the race had been run in the mud.”

Chad Brown – Back in his Belmont Park office Sunday morning, trainer Chad Brown took a moment to reflect on his sensational Breeders’ Cup Weekend at Santa Anita. Brown saddled three winners: Dayatthespa in the Filly & Mare Turf and Bobby’s Kitten in the Turf Sprint on Saturday and Lady Eli in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday.

“It was just incredible. There were so many highlights to the weekend – of course, the three winners. But it was the whole experience all week. So many of my clients came to town for the week. Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup were incredible hosts,” Brown said.

“I got to see a lot of friends on the West Coast. I got to see one of my former mentors, Humberto Ascanio, who worked for Bobby Frankel for over 35 years. I got to spend time with Humberto and his family after the races. On Saturday, Humberto was there when we won with Bobby’s Kitten, who we named after (Frankel). It was an experience I’ll never forget, winning at the wire and getting to share that moment with Humberto.”

Kent and Sarah Ramsey’s Bobby’s Kitten closed from 14th and last to capture the 6½f Turf Sprint by a half-length under Joel Rosario.

“We were taking a shot, cutting him back to the hill. He’d never done that before. Joel just rode a beautiful race. I was concerned he was too far back, but he timed it right,” Brown said. “Mr. Ramsey mentioned possibly taking the horse to Ascot, so that will be discussed. Longer term than that would be to try to get this horse to the Breeders’ Cup Mile next year at Keeneland.”

Two races earlier on Saturday’s program, DayattheSpa posted a front-running triumph by 1¼ lengths under Javier Castellano in the 1 1/4m Filly & Mare Turf.

“It was unbelievable. She was in career form. She had just won the First Lady. It was just a matter of distance. Javier (Castellano) really deserves the credit for getting her to relax and executing the plan,” Brown said.

Dayatthespa’s 11th career victory in 18 starts may well have marked her last appearance on the racetrack for owners Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds.

“She’s scheduled to be offered (Monday) at Fasig-Tipton,” Brown said. “I’m sure the ownership will make the right decision. I couldn’t blame anyone who wanted to go out on top. I could also understand if they wanted to go on with her. She’s in career form right now. She isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. It’s a tough decision, but I’m sure they’ll make the right call.”

The Brown-trained Stephanie’s Kitten, who finished a fast-closing second behind Dayatthespa in the Filly & Mare Turf, is also scheduled to go through the Fasig-Tipton sale Monday.

While the Brown stable may be losing two veteran stars, Lady Eli demonstrated star quality while capturing the Juvenile Fillies Turf by 2 ¾ lengths.

“Just when Dayatthespa is scheduled to go off into the sunset, we get Lady Eli. She reminds me quite a bit of her,” Brown said. “I think she’s the best 2-year-old filly in the country, regardless of the surface she’s running on. Hopefully, they’ll both win Eclipse Awards. They deserve it.”

Bob Baffert (Bayern, Classic, 1st; Secret Circle, Sprint, 2nd; Indianapolis, Sprint, 10th; One Lucky Dane, Juvenile, 6th; Fed Biz, Dirt Mile, 7th; Tiz Midnight, Distaff, 6th) – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported that all of his Breeders’ Cup starters came out of their races in good order, but all of the buzz was about Bayern, who delivered Baffert his 11th Breeders’ Cup victory and his first in the Classic in 13 tries dating back to 1998.

“I have never seen so much animosity over a horse race,” Baffert said. “It seems like people forgot how to watch a race.”

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Bayern broke inward at the start starting a chain reaction that prompted a steward’s inquiry.

“If the stewards had not posted the inquiry, there would not have been one,” Baffert said. “Mike Smith (who rode Shared Belief) wasn’t going to (claim foul). He said all the trouble happened a little later when the 9 (Toast of New York) came over and by that time, my horse was already gone.”

Under Martin Garcia, Bayern led all the way to prevail by a nose over Toast of New York with California Chrome another neck back, completing the 1 1/4m in 1:59 4/5.

“The sad part about all of this is that it distracts from what he did yesterday,” Baffert said. “It’s not like he is a fluke. He can do it all and he’s a fighter. You could tell he was not going to let that other horse (Toast of New York) by.”

Saturday’s events were all part of the game to Baffert.

“You just have to have racing luck,” Baffert said. “Game On Dude never got a trip (in the past two Classics) like Bayern got yesterday. I wish he had gotten them. You are not going to win without racing luck.

“At the Preakness, Ria Antonia got us right out of the gate, but I didn’t cry about it. That’s just racing.”

The ninth-place finish in the Preakness and a 10th-place finish in the Travers are the only off-the board finishes for Bayern, who did not debut until Jan. 4 this year.

“After he won the Haskell, when he got back to Del Mar he missed five days of training and I probably shouldn’t have gone to Saratoga (Travers),” Baffert said.

“When he is right, he is poison out of the gate. He’s like a Quarter Horse. He’s brilliant; he’s so fast. He can win going six (furlongs), seven, a mile, a mile and a quarter.”

Shah was happy with the Classic victory.

“I just wish it would have come without all the controversy,” Shah said. “If he is healthy, I would like (to take a shot at) the Dubai World Cup. When Bob tells me he is ready to roll, we roll. As long as he stays healthy and sound, he’ll run at 4, 5 and 6.”

Tom Albertrani – Trainer Tom Albertrani returned to his New York base Saturday night and his two Breeders’ Cup – Better Lucky, second in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Twilight Eclipse, third in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf – runners were slated for quick exits as well.

“Better Lucky is going to Kentucky this afternoon and Twilight Eclipse leaves for Florida on Monday night,” Albertrani said. “Better Lucky, that was probably her last race and for Twilight Eclipse, the W.L. McKnight (on Dec. 27 at Gulfstream Park) is a possibility or we may just freshen him up.”

A two-time Grade I winner on turf, Better Lucky also was Graded stakes-placed on Polytrack and now on dirt.

“I have been saying all along that she can run on anything – grass, Poly, dirt,” Albertrani said. “I was delighted to see her run so well.”

In finishing just a head behind Judy the Beauty, Better Lucky boosted her record to 20-6-5-5 with earnings of nearly $1.3 million.

“She will be hard to replace,” Albertrani said. “She was only off the board once (in the past two years) and that is when she stumbled at the start. She would definitely be right there with a few others (as an all-time favorite). She was a pleasure to have in the barn and she thrived on racing.”

Keith Desormeaux – The runaway winner of Saturday’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Texas Red, was reported to be in great shape Sunday morning.

“All indications are good, but you really don’t know for a couple of days,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said. “We are going to put him away for the year and concentrate on the spring.”

Texas Red delivered the most emphatic victory in the 13 races of this year’s Championships, winning by 6½ lengths.

“It was impossible to expect something like that against the best horses around,” Desormeaux said.

Texas Red was ridden by Keith’s brother Kent.

“He lives for the Derby dream and it looks like he is going to get to do it again,” Desormeaux said. “He has had a rough couple of years and it looks like that is behind him now and he can concentrate on what he does best and that is riding races.”

For Kent Desormeaux, it was his fifth Breeders’ Cup victory and first since the 2010 Distaff with Unrivaled Belle.

“I am still in shock,” Kent Desormeaux said. “It seems so surreal; like ‘Did we just do that?’ It was like a slide show going through my mind of competing against my brother with Quarter Horse yearlings. Now we are on the same team.”

Desormeaux, who has three Kentucky Derby victories on his resume (Real Quiet, 1998; Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000; and Big Brown 2008), said he had a lot of horse left after his runaway victory.

“He was just getting into gear,” Desormeaux said. “When he got to the wire, he was like ‘Is that it?’ The road to Kentucky leads through here.”

Wesley Ward – Blake Heap, who oversees trainer Wesley Ward’s horses at Santa Anita, said that Filly & Mare Sprint winner Judy the Beauty was on a 4:45 a.m. Tex Sutton charter bound for Louisville on Sunday.

“They all came in here looking good and they are looking good coming out,” said Heap, noting that No Nay Never and Undrafted, second and third respectively in the Turf Sprint, remained at Santa Anita.

For the weekend, the Ward raiders posted two victories, three seconds and a third. On Friday, Hootenanny and Luck of the Kitten ran 1-2 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Sunset Glow was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“Do you realize how lucky we could have been?” Heap said. “Undrafted had to weave his way through horses and (jockey) Joel (Rosario) gets clear (on Bobby’s Kitten) and zings on by on the outside. No Nay Never never saw him and (jockey) Frankie (Dettori) said when he did, he fought back.”

“I don't know if I could feel any better,” added Wesley Ward when reached by phone from Florida. “It was awesome.”

“All of them except for maybe No Nay Never will stay in training,” Ward said. “With him being owned by Coolmore, we will see what they want to do. With the Breeders' Cup being at Keeneland (in 2015) and how well he does there, I would love to give him one more go. All my horses do so well at Keeneland and I think (No Nay Never) definitely has some good racing left in him.”

Ward, who did not make the trip to Santa Anita opting to remain in Florida for his son’s run int the state’s cross-country championships, has no regrets for not attending the Breeders’ Cup.

“My being there wouldn't have made them run faster and the smile on my boy's face being here couldn't make me happier,” he said. “Everybody's happy.”

Graham Motion – Trainer Graham Motion celebrated the 10th anniversary of his first Breeders’ Cup success in the Santa Anita winner’s circle Saturday after saddling Main Sequence for victory in the Turf.

Motion’s first career Breeders’ Cup victory came with Better Talk Now in the 2004 Turf at Lone Star Park.

“It’s pretty neat. It’s amazing that it would come around full circle like that, especially since he was the horse that kind of put me on the map and is probably the reason I have horses like this,” Motion said.

Main Sequence closed from off the pace to register a half-length victory in the 1 1/2m Turf under jockey John Velazquez. It was the fourth straight Grade I victory scored by the 5yo gelding since being shipped to Motion and the U.S. by Flaxman Holdings Ltd. and trainer David Lanigan.

“I never could have anticipated these things. My original plan was to find the easiest race for him. David and I talked about it. We just wanted to get him back on track, and the best way to do that was find the easiest spot possible,” Motion said. “When he won the United Nations the way he did, he was really impressive that day. He showed something that we hadn’t seen before – that turn of foot. With every race, he’s gotten better; he really has.”

Motion expressed pleasure with the manner in which Main Sequence came out of his Turf victory but has no set plans for a next start or when the son of Aldebaran would be shipped back to his Fair Hills, Md., barn.

“We haven’t decided anything yet. We’ve been invited to Japan (Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 30) and Hong Kong (Hong Kong Vase or Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on Dec. 14). I don’t know, I just might take him back to Fair Hill and regroup,” Motion said. “It’s a good shot we could do Dubai. The world is his oyster at the moment. I’m not sure what to do.”

Motion is confident that Main Sequence has done more than enough to earn an Eclipse Award as North America’s premier turf performer of 2014. He also regards his Turf victor as a prominent candidate for the Horse of the Year title.

“He has won four Group Is. No other horse has done what he’s done,” Motion said. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. He certainly deserves consideration. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of split opinions because of the dirt and turf. I get that. It’s America, we race on dirt.”

Motion and his family celebrated Main Sequence’s triumph with a dinner with the gelding’s owners, who also visited the winner’s circle with the Jonathan Pease-trained Karakontie, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Mile Saturday.

“We had a big dinner with the Niarchos crew and Jonathan (Pease),” Motion said. “I worked for Jonathan, so it was pretty cool. I haven’t spent much time with him, so it was really neat.”

Motion reported that Rainha Da Bateria (ninth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Rusty Slipper (10th in the Filly & Mare Turf) came out of their respective races in good order and would remain with his division at Santa Anita for the fall and winter months.

John Sadler (Candy Boy, 6th, Classic; Iotapa, 3rd, Distaff; Sweet Swap, 5th, Turf Sprint; Daddy D T, 3rd, Juvenile Turf) – “They all came back healthy,” said Larry Benavidez, chief assistant for trainer John Sadler. “We didn’t win a race but they all tried. All were reaching out at the wire.”

“Candy Boy had a good trip and could have used a little more pace to run at,” said Benavidez of the 3yo colt for whom there were no immediate plans.

Iotapa was flown to Kentucky for the Keeneland Select Sale Tuesday. “I gave her a big hug and lots of carrots,” said Benavidez, who said the 4yo filly should remain in the conversation for divisional honors. “She ran a great race.”

Benavidez was encouraged by the strong finish of Daddy D T. “What a late surge the last 50 yards,” said Benavidez. “He has a bright future.” The colt could resurface in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar or the Delta Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana.

Sweet Swap continued his love affair with the hillside turf course. “He got wiped out at the start and only got beat a length,” said Benavidez of the 5yo’s first start in seven months. He said the stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita this winter are a likely goal.

Leandro Mora – Party time was planned for friends and fans at 12:30 Sunday afternoon in Barn 88 in honor of Goldencents, the two-time Dirt Mile winner who was scheduled to be vanned to Ontario Airport at 1:30 for an afternoon flight to Kentucky, where the 4yo colt will begin a stud career at Spendthrift Farm.

Sharla Sanders, operations manager for Team Mora, walked to the entrance to Stall 1, where Goldencents stood in the back. “He’s number one in our hearts too,” said Sanders of the colt who overcame the number one post position to become the first repeat winner of the Dirt Mile Friday. “It will be hard to find someone to fill his stall, that’s for sure.

“We’re going to miss him, but it’s so nice to retire him sound,” added Sanders. “He’s getting brushed and spit-shined and ready for departure. I’m so happy he is going to Spendthrift. The people there are so wonderful, and we will be able to keep in touch with him. It’s a happy day but a sad day for us too.”

Goldencents pushed his earnings over the $3 million mark for owners Glenn Sorgenstein and Josh Kaplan.

European Report

All the European challengers were reported to be in good shape and had eaten up after their respective races at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The first flight out of California is due to leave on Sunday afternoon and will consist of all the English challengers and the Dermot Weld-trained Mustajeeb.

Monday morning sees the remaining two flights leave Los Angeles International Airport. The Aidan O’Brien team, which will consist of The Great War, War Envoy and Qualify, will go back to Ballydoyle in the very early hours of the morning and will be followed at 6:30 a.m. by the successful French contingent. O’Brien’s other two traveling horses, Magician and Chicquita, will both be heading off to Ashford Stud.

Jonathan Pease was at the quarantine barn early on Sunday morning to check on his Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie and was pleased with the son of Bernstein and reported that the 3yo would remain in training.

The French Mile runners Anodin and Veda are both reported to be off to stud by their connections.

Trade Storm, trained by David Simcock, who ran a gallant third behind Karakontie and Anodin, will be leaving on Sunday afternoon and his participation in Hong Kong in December is yet undecided.

Toast of New York, who was narrowly defeated in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, has finished his racing for this year and will be given a break before being aimed at next year’s Dubai World Cup.

Sir Michael Stoute’s pair of Dank and Telescope have both been retired and will be sent off to their respective studs on their return to England.

The Andre Fabre-trained Flintshire, who battled very gamely to finish second to Main Sequence in the Breeders’ Cup Turf is a definite possibility for the Hong Kong Vase in December. Teddy Grimthorpe, Racing Manager for Juddmonte Farm, was hopeful that the son of Dansili would remain in training in 2015.

“He is still coming good,” Grimthorpe reported after Saturday’s race.

Caspar Netscher, David Simcock’s other runner at the Breeders’ Cup, will remain in training next year. Simcock said after the race, “He has run very well and it is nice to have something to go to war with next year.”

Revised Common Pool total With the addition of the wagering totals on the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-Breeders’ Cup Classic double of $635,360, which was not included in last night’s grand total common pool figures, the new common pool total is $151,794,174.

Wagering on this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic was $28,776,535, a 15% increase over the 2013 Classic betting of $25,116,192.

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