The Breeders’ Cup Classic was supposed to be a farewell party for Kentucky Derby hero Fusaichi Pegasus, who will now stand at stud. But in the end, it looked as if he hadn’t even been invited.
Tiznow was the horse of the moment for jockey Chris McCarron in the $4.77 million Classic today at Churchill Downs, while Fusaichi Pegasus was never in contention and finished sixth.
The Classic was the highlight of an eight-race Breeders’ Cup card featuring 106 of the world’s best horses.
Tiznow led a four-horse parade of 3-year-olds home, finishing a neck ahead of England-based Giant’s Causeway, who was 3 1/4 lengths in front of Captain Steve. Albert the Great finished fourth ahead of 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid. Cat Thief, last year’s upset Classic winner, was seventh in the 13-horse field.
“I thought he was as good as a horse could be,” said winning trainer Jay Robbins.
Macho Uno was numero uno in the Juvenile and faces the jinx of this race’s winner—never winning the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus runs for the final time when he starts in the Classic, the highlight of an eight-race Breeders’ Cup card featuring 106 of the world’s best horses.
The Breeders’ Cup program opened with a shock when trainer D. Wayne Lukas finished 1-2 with Spain and Surfside in the Distaff. Riboletta, the odds-on favorite who had won six straight stakes and was supplemented to the race for $400,000, finished seventh in nine-horse. Last year’s winner, Beautiful Pleasure, finished sixth.
There also was a big upset in the Juvenile Fillies when Caressing won.
The next three winners were War Chant, who won a four-horse blanket finish in the Mile on the grass; Kona Gold, who won the six-furlong Sprint in a sizzling 1:07 3/5; and Perfect Sting.
Tiznow led for the first half mile of the Classic, but was second, a length behind Albert the Great, with a half mile remaining. He was back in front at the quarterpole. Then Giant’s Causeway, making his dirt track debut with Michael Kinane aboard, looked as if he was going to pass Tiznow. In fact, he might have stuck his nose in front nearing the finish, but Tiznow would not be denied.
“He kicked in,” said McCarron, winning his fourth Classic. “If he has enough energy left, you’re not going to get by him. What a fighter.”
A crowd of 76,043 watched Tiznow win in 2:00 3/5 and earn $2,480,400 for his fifth victory in nine starts this year.
The day wasn’t a complete loss for Fusaichi Pegasus’ trainer Neil Drysdale. He won the Mile with War Chant.
In giving trainer Joe Orseno and jockey Jerry Bailey their second wins on the Breeders’ Cup card, Macho Uno took the lead from pace-setting Arabian Light with about a sixteenth mile left and held off Point Given for a nose victory at Churchill Downs.
In the previous race, Orseno and Bailey won the Filly & Mare Turf with Perfect Sting.
Macho Uno raced the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.
Point Given finished of Street Cry, with Burning Roma fourth in the 14-horse field. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who saddled Arabian (fifth) and Flame Thrower (eighth).
“I don’t have to look any further for my Derby horse,” said Gary Stevens, Point Given’s rider.
Favored A P Valentine finished dead last.
“We brought two good fillies and I thought that they were very close,” Lukas said after Spain ($1,227,220) and Surfside ($472,000) picked up $1,699,200 from the $2.36 million purse. It was Lukas’ fourth Distaff victory and his 16th victory in a Breeders’ Cup race.
‘Power Wasn’t There’
Surfside, ridden by Pat Day, broke on top and led until Spain passed her on the outside approaching the eighth pole. Spain won by 1 1/2 lengths, with Heritage of Gold another 1 1/2 lengths back in the nine-horse field. The winning time was 1:47 3/5 for the 1 1/8 miles.
Asked if he knew it was the other Lukas horse that he passed, winning jockey Victor Espinoza, said, “Yes, but I had to do it. I wanted to win the race.”
“I’m shocked,” said Chris McCarron, Riboletta’s rider. “I have felt the power under me. That power was not there today.”
“She did exactly what he (trainer David Vance) said she would do,” said John Velazquez after riding Caressing to a half-length win over Platinum Tiara. She’s a Devil Due was third in the 12-horse Juvenile Fillies field. Favored Raging Fever finished sixth.
Caressing raced fifth until the turn for home, moved to third with an eighth-mile remaining then stormed into lead to win in 1:42 4/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Dream Come True
“Neil Drysdale gave me a heck of an opportunity,” Stevens said after winning the Mile aboard War Chant. Until last month, Stevens had not ridden for nine months because of arthritic knees. “I’m ecstatic. I’m in shock just being here today. It’s a dream come true.”
War Chant got up in the final strides for a neck win over North East Bound, with France-based Dansili third and Affirmed Success fourth in the 14-horse field. The first four finishers were separated by a neck and two noses. The winning time was 1:34 3/5.
Kona Gold finally got the job done. He finished third in the 1998 Sprint and second in the race last year. The 6-year-old gelding passed pace-setting Caller One in the deep stretch and then held off 4-year-old filly Honest Lady. Bet On Sunshine, an 8-year-old gelding, finished third in the 14-horse field.
Jockey Alex Solis got his first Breeders’ Cup victory aboard Kona Gold.
Perfect Sting closed to win the 1 3/8 Filly & Mare Turf for a three-quarter-length win over Tout Charmant, with German-based Catella another three-quarter length back in the 14-horse field. The winner was timed in 2:13.
“With that win today, she should be the champion mare in America this year,” said Bailey, referring to the 4-year-old Perfect Sting, winner of six starts in 2000.
Spanish Fern, ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Bobby Frankel, was pulled up shortly after the start.
Kalanisi, based in England and owned by Aga Khan, charged from seventh place with a quarter mile left in the 1 1/2-mile turf and edged Quiet Resolve by a nose. John’s Call, a 9-year-old gelding and oldest Breeders’ Cup starter ever, finished another nose back, a head in front of Mutamam in the 13-horse field.
Kalanisi, ridden by John Murtagh, won in 2:26 4/5.