2012 Breeders Cup brought Thrills and Chills

November 04, 2012 03:22pm
Wow…after watching a weekend of nothing but the best Thoroughbreds duking it out, a weekend of upsets jumping up and favorites proving their mettle, all I can say is what a fantastic Breeders Cup.
The 2012 Breeders Cup had anything and everything happen. In the very first race to kick off the series we saw the heavy favorite, Merit Man, have the race stolen from under him as the 0 for 8 maiden, Hightail, slipped up the rail to win the race in a thriller.
Hightail’s performance was the only upset, in fact it was only the beginning of longshot domination that nearly lasted the entire day. The next upset provided a little bit of international flavor and rewrote some Breeders Cup history as the Argentinian bred Calidoscopio took the Breeders Cup Marathon, in turn becoming the oldest horse to win a Breeders Cup event, at nine years old.
The Juvenile Fillies was supposed to be East against West, but as it would turn out it would be a rematch of the West’s two best Juvenile fillies as Executiveprivilege ran at Beholder, who simply refused to let her rival pass. The two eastern fillies, Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie would finish third and fourth.
In the Filly and Mare Turf, the very consistent but underrated Zagora slammed her doubters mouths shut, proving that over the Santa Anita Turf course she could indeed run 10 furlongs very effectively. In winning she became the first major East Coaster to strike a blow, beating Marketing Mix and Lady of Shamrock, who had dominated out west, as well as international invaders The Fugue and Ridasiyna.
Friday would end with the crowning of a champion as Royal Delta rewarded her many backers when setting a blistering pace under Mike Smith, far from her customary closing position, before holding off every challenger including a stubborn, previously unbeaten, My Miss Aurelia. It was a great race, with the only downfall being that a key contender Questing was pulled up not far out of the gate.
On Saturday, the day started with an upset again, as George Vancouver beat out highly regarded Noble Tune, but in the very next race, Groupie Doll showed her brilliance once again. After being farther out of the early fray than normal, she made a bold, sustained move around the turn and into the stretch. She won in dominating fashion in a sharp 1.20.72 for the seven furlongs earning her fifth consecutive graded stakes victory.
I will say, while the Dirt Mile was a surprise, it in some ways was not for me. It seemed to be more of Karma, as I had backed Tapizar several times in the past with inconsistent results. The one time I decided to leave him he runs the most brilliant race of his career, beating some of the best milers in North America. The Irony of racing, don’t we all love it.
In the Juvenile, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Shanghai Bobby slow to what looked like a walk after having a commanding lead coming off the turn. At the top of the stretch I thought he would be swallowed by the entire field as he came to a crawl, but in the next instant, the colt re-broke and engaged He’s Had Enough for a thrilling stretch duel. That is one race I can say that I actually felt my heart slam into my throat. Simply amazing.
Later we saw a Rags to Riches story, as Little Mike held off a hard charging Point of Entry, the heavy favorite, while also tying the world record for 12 furlongs over turf. Little Mike also became the first American to take the race since 2003. The unexpected “little” horse with a big heart overachieved and surprised again.
The American dominance didn’t stop there as Wise Dan beat Excelebration and Moonlight Cloud, two of the best Euro milers in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Wise Dan stopped the clock in course record time and it should be noted he was not far off the world record. While Wise Dan was star of the show and most likely earned Horse of the Year with his scintillating performance, one cannot let the performance of Animal Kingdom go unnoticed. Off an injury and an eight and a half month layoff, the Derby winner demonstrated greatness, coming within 1 ½ lengths of Wise Dan after a troubled trip. That was nothing short of brilliant.
The final race, which was one of the most exciting, was the Classic. Game on Dude may not have brought his A-game, but the two who did, Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned, put on a show that we will never forget. In a move reminiscent to that of his Whitney win, Fort Larned spurted away from the field around the turn, but instead of going on to a dominant win, this time Mucho Macho Man began to close into his gap with giant strides. The two flew down the stretch distancing themselves from the field. The Macho Man on the outside, Fort Larned on the inside, both fighting stubbornly, but in the end Fort Larned’s neck was the one to cross the wire first.
The Classic, was my favorite race, as I believe that was racing at its finest, but there is no denying that the other races didn’t provide thrills and brilliance. I said before the Breeders Cup that this was one of the best in years, and I stand by that statement now that the chips have fallen. History was rewritten, champions showed their brilliance and their heart, there were heart stopping stretch duels and races of complete domination. This is was easily one of the deepest, most exciting Breeders Cup series, and I will likely never forget it.


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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders Cup brought Thrills and Chills...

With that in mind, we'll call it a tie, then. Kudos to Little Mike and Ramon Dominguez for a well run race.
That is interesting other than Groupie Doll my 4 other hits were my "long shot" or just for fun picks.
Florida, another thing to note is that Hawksters time was done in fifths of a second, before they started using hundreths. That is the one thing i dislike about times today vs years ago, you can't compare accurately, since 4/5th could have been .90 in today's world, while still measuring 4/5ths 20 years ago. Mike ran very well, very very quick.
Three-hundredths of a second off is pretty darn close to being a tie. I hadn't realized just how fast Little Mike's time was until I read this.
Thats funny mike, my brother hit hightail right off the bat because it was the highest price on the board, little mike cuz of his friends name, and also hit with Jim Roames horse, cuz he likes his radio show.
Sorry wrong button, those horses would have helped the western cause. On a personal note, this Cup showed how far I have fallen as a handicapper, my two big wins were Little Mike because well my name is Mike and Fort Larned because I grew up 30 miles from the real Fort Larned.
A great Breeders Cup, but not a great showing by the western horses, it shows the effect of the early retirement of I'll Have retirement of the top 3 year olds I'll Have Another, Bodemeister and Paynter, those horses would have
A bit? I'd say a little more than a bit since the East took the Ladies Classic, Filly and Mare Turf, Filly and Mare Sprint, Sprint, Turf, Mile, Classic and Juvenile. But, honestly, shouldn't matter where they come from. These horses gave their all and just wowwed us.
The West and the Euros did not have that much for which to cheer. BC12 provided a bit of redemption for the East.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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