To put a wrap on this year's Breeders' Cup, I put together a top 10 list of memorable moments. In the poll below, you can vote for your top three.
Jockey fight-This was one of the more astounding incidents I have seen in racing, especially on a national stage. To see a seething Calvin Borel lose his cool like that in the moments following the first Breeders' Cup race was a tell-tale indication that we were going to be in for a memorable Breeders' cup.
For what it's worth, I think Borel's punishment should have been more severe. I know $5,000 is the maximum allowable fine, but he should have been suspended. I like Borel, but there is no excuse, under any circumstance, to react in that fashion.
Awesome Feather's decisive Juvenile Fillies victory-Despite being 5-for-5 coming into the race, I was not a believer in this filly until she sailed past everyone in the stretch. It was nice to see a homebred from a fairly small operation and a veteran trainer from Florida win on such a big stage.
Filly & Mare Turf upset-Shared Account's 46-1 shocker had me reaching for the PPs to see what I had overlooked. Sure enough, I went back and looked and remembered that I picked her to win the Flower Bowl on Oct. 2 at Belmont when she was fifth. An opportunity lost on a filly that has been in good form for more than a year and should never have gone off at that price. Congrats to those that pulled the trigger.
Ladies Classic under the lights-The first ever Breeders' Cup race under lights was a memorable spectacle. Primetime racing for our biggest events is a no-brainer. The atmosphere takes on a whole different feel with night racing. It won't be long until the Derby is run under lights-possibly even in 2011.
Life At Ten debacle-If the jockey fight was one of the most astounding incidents I've seen, the Life At Ten incident ranks right up there with the most bizarre. To have jockey Jon Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher tell reporters live on TV just prior to the race that something was not right with the filly and yet not scratch the second betting choice in a $2 million race is very suspect. I'm not sure what will ultimately be determined by the subsequent investigation, but something clearly was mishandled. It certainly helped end a truly interesting first day.
Pluck's awesome Juvenile Turf win-I covered the Summer Stakes at Woodbine when Pluck showed a sensational turn of foot to stamp his ticket to the Breeders' Cup, so I was not shocked when I saw him roaring down the center of the course to open Day 2 of the World Championships. After watching the replay, I gained even more respect for the colt. Not only did nearly fall leaving the gate, but he encountered trouble on the first turn when Rough sailing slipped and fell, which forced Garrett Gomez to alter course. Last heading into the final turn, Pluck came four-wide into the stretch and ran all of them down. Amazing.
Uncle Mo dominates Juvenile-There is something extra special about watching a 2-year-old dominate the way Uncle Mo did, especially knowing that with any luck he will be back on the same track six months from now as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Since I was covering the race for the magazine and was fortunate to be in the paddock and trackside for this standout performance, it was the number one moment of the weekend for me. The energy of owner Mike Repole and his New York entourage made the Uncle Mo Show even more intriguing to watch.
Goldikova's three-peat-I somehow talked myself out of betting her after she drew post 10 earlier in the week. What an idiot I was. What can you say about her, other than she is the best horse on the planet?
Dakota Phone's Dirt Mile upset-A lot of late pick 4 tickets (including mine) were ripped up with this 37-1 shocker. Up until that point in the weekend, we hadn't seen a lot of winners from way off the pace. Seeing Dakota Phone roar from the back was pretty impressive, especially since he ws the longshot on the board in a pretty deep field.
Breeders' Cup Classic drama-The tension and excitement were truly palpable in the minutes leading up to one of the most anticipated races of this century. The amazing finish and subsequent hush of the crowd after it was over can only be described as surreal. It's one of those races where you will always remember where you were watching.