Even though the Breeders' Cup is a fond memory for most, Tony Bada Bing still can't stop thinking about the highs and lows from those 2 days of championship racing. Here's his list of Top 10 Moments.
By Tony Bada Bing
No Dancing with Stars kind of vote, internet polling or asking of the experts here, just one man’s opinion of the top ten 2011 Breeder’s Cup moments. Enjoy… 1. Classic Mott Double – In the quiet and understated way he goes about his daily business of training horses, Bill Mott took the biggest races of the weekend with Royal Delta in the Ladies Classic and Drosselmeyer in the Classic. And while too many in our sport jump to hyperbole or anointment at the next great thing – jockey, trainer or horse – Mott simply exudes steadfast class through years of winning. 2. Battle of the Exes Part 2 – Either in a shameless stunt or marketing genius, the racing folks at Del Mar set up a Battle of the Exes match race between the off-again, on-again, off-again pair of Chantal Sutherland and Mike Smith. As he did three months earlier, Smith reached the wire before his ex-fiance, who could only sigh to herself, “Ugh, Mike Smith…” as his white silks flew by on Drosselmeyer beating Sutherland’s steed, Game On Dude. 3. The O’Briens – The Irish duo had the feel good story of the two days of racing. Dad, Aidan, who hadn’t tasted Breeder’s Cup success for a while and son, Joseph, who is just one more growth spurt out of jockey conditions, teamed up for the classiest of wins. Who couldn’t cheer for St. Nicholas Abbey’s rousing victory?!?
4. Churchill Stewards – While taking more time than your average NFL referee during their replay reviews, the stewards under the twin spires missed the confusion and havoc created by Olivier Peslier’s recklessness, refusing to take the Frenchmen down. Switch countries – an American jockey riding in France - and there would have been a work stoppage in protest for at least a month!
5. Pesiler’s Right Hand Turn – Bad drivers and those victimized by them everywhere, could empathize with Goldikova’s jock changing four lanes in two strides. Well, maybe not Pat Valenzuela, who aboard Courageous Cat, had to both put on the brakes and veer off course to avoid danger. His horse went from fifth to last in the wink of an eye or a non-flash of a blinker. 6. Goldikova – Four-peat failure earns three spots on this board. Nothing against the regal mare, who is the only Thoroughbred to take three straight Breeder’s Cup races, but she didn’t deliver as her human connections thought she might. 7. Bombs Away – Perfect Shirl, Afleet Again and the biggest bomb of the them all, Court Vision all helped light up the tote board and destroy well-thought out bets everywhere that didn’t include them. 8. Dark Horses – Can’t a case be made for either the winner of the Dirt Mile, Caleb’s Posse, or the runner up, Shackleford, for three-year-old Horse of the Year? While Repole stable mates Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty showed up in spurts, Caleb’s Posse and Shackleford ran well throughout the entire season. 9. History Repeating? – A rousing, coast-to-coast win in the Juvenile by Hansen just one year removed from Uncle Mo has probably taught odds-makers and the betting public… nothing. At least Hansen’s daddy, Tapit, has passed on his classic distance genes several times over. 10. Uncle Mo No Go…Again – As if he failing to fire in the both Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby weren’t enough, Uncle Mo’s human connections send him to the Classic off a win at one-turn mile. Not smart. See more Breeders' Cup Top 10 Moments in this slide show.