Breeders' Cup Wrapup: Second the Emotion

The 2012 Breeders’ Cup proved to be a buffet of emotions, with a wide variety of storylines, memorable moments, and equine and human stars to choose from. The ones which affect us the most on a personal level will dictate how we will remember this year’s event.

Some people were moved by the rags-to-riches story of Groupie Doll and the Bradley family’s mom-and-pop operation. Some were emotionally charged by the brilliance of Wise Dan. Others thrilled to the gut-wrenching stretch battle between Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man, whose human connections represent all that is good in the sport. Some will remember the courage of Shanghai Bobby, with Rose Napravnik aboard, and the herculean effort by runner-up He’s Had Enough. Still others were affected by Little Mike stretching his ability beyond what was expected of him or Royal Delta scoring her second consecutive victory in the Ladies Classic for two different owners. And what about the South American contingent of media members who went ballistic, cheering wildly for the 9-year-old Argentinian invader Calidoscopio?

And then there was Trinniberg, with his familiar red pom pom and the charismatic Parboo family, defeating the best sprinters in the country. Who would have thought that of all the star horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby, the one who would win a Breeders’ Cup race would be Trinniberg?

On the jockey front, how could you not feel good for veteran riders Aaron Gryder and Willie Martinez, who finally got to shine on the public stage or Brian Hernandez Jr, winning the Classic on his 27th birthday? I remember when Gryder was thrilled just to work an occasional Kentucky Derby horse for Wayne Lukas and now he adds a Breeders’ Cup victory to his 2009 Dubai World Cup score on Well Armed. I also vividly recall Martinez working Smarty Jones in :58 1/5 at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby in what I called the greatest Derby work I’d ever seen. And then he goes on to glory aboard Brass Hat, owned by the Bradleys of Groupie Doll fame. And how about Hernandez winning the Whitney on Fort Larned this year and then having to fly down to Kentucky after the race to ride in a $7,500 maiden claiming race at Ellis Park the next day for Ian Wilkes?

For me, however, the horse that stirred the emotions and provided a moment in time that will be remembered for years to come isn’t even among the 15 Breeders’ Cup winners.

He is Animal Kingdom, whose spectacular burst of speed to finish second in the Mile left me in awe of this horse’s ability and fortitude and the training job turned in by Graham Motion. It was only a few weeks earlier that I ran into Motion at Fair Hill while visiting Paynter, and we discussed his decision to run Animal Kingdom in the Mile off a 259-day layoff and only one allowance race in 17 months. That he even made it back after undergoing surgery for a fracture in his left hind leg suffered in the Belmont Stakes and then re-injuring the same leg this past March while preparing for the Dubai World Cup was amazing enough.

When Motion and Team Valor announced that Animal Kingdom would make his first start back in the BC Mile it raised eyebrows. Motion said that morning at Fair Hill he realized it was a bold move to attempt such an undertaking, but he was inclined not to rush to get a prep race in him, feeling the colt had the ability to run a big race first time back and he didn’t want to risk having him regress off that effort in the Breeders’ Cup.

When I saw Animal Kingdom walking the shed one morning after arriving at Santa Anita, I couldn’t believe how massive he had become since the 2011 Belmont Stakes. Standing about 16.2 hands high, he had to weigh over 1,200 pounds – all of it muscle.

Having faith in Motion and believing Animal Kingdom was always destined for greatness, I felt he was going to run a huge race in the Mile, despite the presence of Wise Dan and the top-class European milers Excelebration and Moonlight Cloud.

But as the field came to the head of the stretch, I had already resigned myself to the fact that Animal Kingdom was going to get nothing and would be extremely lucky to finish fourth or even fifth.

His troubles started after turning down the backstretch when Moonlight Cloud made an early run on his outside, trapping him down on the rail behind Willcox Inn. He tried to move with the French filly, but had nowhere to go and nearly ran up on Willcox Inn’s heels, steadying sharply and dropping about two lengths farther back and some eight lengths behind the pacesetting Obviously, who was tracked by Suggestive Boy. Wise Dan, racing in third, was getting the perfect trip in the clear about two lengths off the lead.

Rafael Bejarano, who was not exactly having his best day, rushed him up right behind a wall of horses, some four lengths behind the leader. With Bejarano unable to ride him because of the traffic in front of him, Animal Kingdom had his momentum stopped again just as the first three kicked in for their final run. Animal Kingdom now found himself six lengths off the lead and down on the inside again as they approached the head of the stretch.

Turning for home, Animal Kingdom was pinned down on the rail with nowhere to go and only one horse behind him. Wise Dan had dead aim on Obviously and charged to the lead, with Animal Kingdom still trapped down on the inside behind Mr. Commons and his outside path sealed off by Excelebration. Animal Kingdom now had his head cocked to the outside as if he were looking for a way out. All Bejarano could do at this point was just sit on him and wait.

Winning was out of the question, as Wise Dan was beginning to draw clear of the field. At the eighth pole, Animal Kingdom was still back in sixth with nowhere to go. Finally, a hole opened between Mr. Commons and a rallying Excelebration and Animal Kingdom showed a burst of speed unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time. He exploded past Excelebration and then Obviously and hit the wire 1 1/2 lengths behind Wise Dan, who was had broken the Santa Anita course record for a mile.

All Animal Kingdom did was run a mile in about 1:31 4/5 off nearly a nine-month layoff, coming home his final eighth in a breathtaking :10 4/5 and final quarter in :22 1/5, despite not being able to run from the head of the stretch to inside the sixteenth pole.

It was heartwarming to hear the round of applause he was given as he returned following the race.

No one is claiming he would have beaten Wise Dan, but you have to think he would have been a lot closer than 1 1/2 lengths at the wire, considering the nightmare trip he had and how little running he was allowed to do. For him to overcome that and finish second and run as fast as he did was truly exceptional, especially considering this was not his best distance. This is a horse who won the Kentucky Derby going away and likely would have won the Belmont Stakes had he not had a near-disastrous spill after the start that cost him all chance. As it is he still made a spectacular move on the turn in the slop to reach contention only to falter in the stretch, suffering an injury.

As a postscript to the BC Mile, as he was pulling up down the backstretch, he came up alongside Wise Dan and the two actually looked as if they wanted to get it on. But then the outrider grabbed hold of Wise Dan. Animal Kingdom, however, wasn’t ready to call it quits and ran with them stride for stride until a second outrider had to come and rein him in, with Bejarano standing straight up to slow him down.

Motion was very proud of his horse, but also disappointed he never got a chance to put in his best effort.

“I was naturally thrilled he ran such a big race, but the disappointment of what might have been was overwhelming,” Motion said four days after the race. “I’ve had some tough beats, including Breeders’ Cup races, but this one was the toughest. I’m not going to say he would have beaten Wise Dan, but he would have made a race of it. He’s an amazing, remarkable, extraordinary horse. People question me when I say he’s the greatest horse I’ve ever trained, but the raw ability I witness every day is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Motion sent Animal Kingdom directly to Palm Meadows in Florida, where he will point once again for the Dubai World Cup. He said the colt came out of the Breeders’ Cup in great shape. He was “perky and full of himself” the morning after the race and has already been out for a jog over the Palm Meadows track. He’ll be given some down time before returning to serious training.

So, while I will remember fondly this year’s Breeders’ Cup and all the memorable moments it provided, it was the remarkable effort in defeat by Animal Kingdom that will endure over the course of time.

More BC thoughts

-- It is a shame there had to be such a severe speed bias on racing’s biggest stage where championships are decided. Of the five two-turn dirt races, excluding the Marathon, three were won wire-to-wire and the other two were won from a half-length back and one length back. Even in the sprint races, no one came from farther back than two lengths. It was a sad and frustrating sight to see top-class horses such as Flat Out, Ron the Greek, Richard’s Kid, Dreaming of Julia, Grace Hall, and a number of other closers pretty much spinning their wheels trying to make up any ground. Even the closers who managed to get up for third were beaten between 5 1/4 to seven lengths. Only Capo Bastone in the Juvenile managed to get within 2 1/4 lengths of the winner, and that was mainly because they staggered home the final five-sixteenths in :34 1/5, compared to :32 2/5 in the Juvenile Fillies.

-- If you look at Power Broker’s race on paper, it appears to be a subpar performance. But from a visual standpoint, he had absolutely no chance after getting forced five-to-six wide on both turns, refusing to change leads in the stretch, and racing greenly. Even losing so much ground every step of the way, he actually pulled to within a length or so of the leaders at the three-sixteenths pole after making a long, sustained run, was still only 1 1/2 lengths back at the eighth pole, and was beaten five lengths for all the money. With a half-decent trip there is little doubt he would have been a factor. He definitely is still one to watch on the Derby trail.

-- Winning is great, but not everything. Samantha Siegel had to be thrilled to see Include Me Out finish third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, in the Ladies Classic at 12-1 after looking like a winner at the eighth pole, and the 7-year-old Rail Trip run a bang-up second in the Mile at 8-1. Although he came from eighth to get the place, he was only 3 1/2 lengths off the pace through most of the running, so he really doesn’t qualify as a deep closer. He did, however, finish nearly two lengths ahead of third-place finisher Delegation in an outstanding effort.

-- Talk about how close the world has become regarding international travel, Mikel Dezangles, trainer of BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Flotilla, flew from France to Australia to saddle Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden on Oct. 20, then returned home before flying to Italy to run in a group I stakes. He returned to Australia just to work Dunaden for a repeat try in the Melbourne Cup, then flew to California where he won the Juvenile Fillies Turf, leaving that same night for his third trip to Australia in two weeks to saddle Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup.

-- Now that Calidoscopio has made a shambles out of the Marathon, isn’t it about time the Breeders’ Cup opens the door to the classic-type horses from the Southern Hemisphere without having them pay outlandish supplementary fees? South America has proven time and again over the years that they produce outstanding horses who can compete with anyone in the world. Just look what they and other Southern Hemisphere horses have accomplished in Dubai.

-- If you’re wondering whether Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien might be inclined to point Juvenile Turf winner George Vancouver to the Kentucky Derby, be aware that his sire, Henrythenavigator, finished second in the BC Classic on a synthetic track and his dam, Versailles Treaty, won the Alabama, Ruffian, Test, and Gazelle, and finished second twice in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and second twice in the Beldame for Wheatley Stable. Versailles Treaty is by Danzig, out of a Buckpasser mare and her second dam, Exclusive Dancer, produced Travers winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up General Assembly. Exclusive Dancer also is a half (or three-quarter) sister to Exclusive Native, sire of Hall of Famers Affirmed and Genuine Risk.

-- Europeans in general didn’t fare as well as they had hoped, but overall, they did sweep both 2-year-old turf races and added two thirds and three fourths. Their main hopes – St. Nicholas Abbey, Excelebration, The Fugue, Ridasiyna, Dundonnell, and Shareta, all ran well, picking up a piece of the purse, with only Sky Lantern, the favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, failing to get a check, and she had a terrible trip, trapped along the rail with nowhere to run in the stretch.

All photos by Steve Haskin


Animal Kingdom heads to the track.


A final indignity, as a frustrated Animal Kingdom has to watch Wise Dan's jockey being interviewed after the race.


A statuesque Wise Dan is oblivious to all the turmoil around him, as he practices his winner's circle pose while being washed.


One of the great feel-good stories, as Groupie Doll storms home in the F&M Sprint.


Shanghai Bobby digs in to hold off He's Had Enough in the Juvenile.


Little Mike and Little Nick help lead in the Big Little Mike after his BC Turf win.

113 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Linda Waltman

Having visited Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill in June and feeding him lots of peppermints, I was so impressed with him and his run in the Breeder's Cup.  What a gorgeous horse with a great presence about him.  I thought for a moment when he burst out of the pack he may win, but that will be for another day.  Mr. Motion must be so proud of Animal Kingdom who has turned into a great champion.

07 Nov 2012 7:45 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

Animal Kingdom appeared to have sprouted wings when he finally got clear.  Among so many impressive performances, seeing him explode away from the other horses and try to catch Wise Dan will burn in my memory as the most courageous and spectacular.  Can't wait to watch this horse next year.  If he runs like that, the long wait for him to recover and strengthen will be worth it. I'm so glad they have let him recover and race and not go off to be just another stallion. Awesome horse and class act connections!  

07 Nov 2012 7:46 PM
SAK MAN

Little did I realize on 9-18-10 seeing ANIMAL KINGDOM come from last to finish a strong second in his first start at Arlington Park that I was seeing a future KY Derby winner. So glad he is back.

Speaking of tough racing luck the BIG BROWN babies DARWIN and BROWN ALMIGHTY both had tough runs being unable to show their true abilities. Keep an eye on these boys come 2013.

Thanks again Steve for a great column.

07 Nov 2012 8:30 PM
Steel Dragon

I thought the game effort of Include Me Out might've cost My Miss Aurelia the race as she kept her pinned in for a considerable part of the stretch. Maybe I'm wrong - can't bear to watch the replay.

07 Nov 2012 8:42 PM
Paula Higgins

A great column Steve and I needed it after my candidate didn't win. Lifted my spirits. Horses are something we all love and for good reason. Mucho Macho Man, Groupie Doll, Animal Kingdom, Royal Delta and Wise Dan all stood out for me. Win or come in second, they were magnificent.

07 Nov 2012 9:30 PM
Alex'sBigFan

As I sit here in the midst of a nor'easter snowstorm in New Jersey, like we really need this on top of what we already have, I was engrossed in this article and haven't digested it all yet.  I totally agree Steve about Animal Kingdom as I said in the last couple posts on your last 2 articles.  He ran HUGE.  Remember your photo of him at Fair Hill prior to that ill-fated Belmont, where he looked the picture of perfection fit for a crown?  He is an amazing animal too, a warrior with the heart and determination to know how to heal himself and go on.  I give Motion huge credit as well for getting him so fit.  I believe exactly what Motion says he is seeing, greatness.  Leroidesanimaux stud fee should be augmented as well now.  What he's done is nothing short of amazing, those 2 career injury setbacks, long layoffs, and a resolve to come back and fight to win.  I think what we're seeing is another extraordinary will to win and live in AK, the same resilience that Paynter has.

Resilience........that's what the NJ news keeps saying New Jerseyans are, resilient........well today driving to NYC my car got towed off of a major highway in the middle of the snowstorm, one of my worst fears and I am pretty much a wreck right now.  Resilient?  Hurricanes?  Nor'easters?  Car breakdowns?  Bring it on I'm still alive.  I don't feel resilient at all, just numb, and wish I had some of that fortitude that AK and Paynter have.  Brilliant article Steve, I am going back to read it over again.

07 Nov 2012 9:50 PM
LINDA MARIE

IF ANYONE MISSED THESE RACES YOUR COMPREHENSIVE RECAP COVERS IT ALL!

...NICE PHOTOS TOO WITH VERY HASKINESQUE CAPTIONS :)

...THANKS STEVE!

07 Nov 2012 10:41 PM
captainsmistress

Weep thee not, Animal Kingdom! You are a noble and accomplished gift from above, no doubt thoughtful and intelligent breeders will bring their lovely ladies to your door, in due time! Until that happens, we can look forward to and anticipate another racing season from you! You are loved!

07 Nov 2012 10:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

  You hang in there !!!! You are a champion and don't forget that. You have that fortitude that Animal Kingdom and Paynter have, and they are pulling for you just like you pulled so hard for them. You have had some setbacks. So what. Make a comeback. Fight hard like they did and be at peace with the little things you have like they did. Just be safe and stay alive. I posted on the Fort Larned blog a few minutes ago. You might want to read it too. Animal Kingdom, Paynter, Groupie Doll, Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man Wise Dan, Royal Delta, I'll Have Another, Bodemeister and more have all been amazing this year but along with Paynter what I will always remember most is when Steve wrote about when his Father asked him what he really wanted to do and Steve said, "horseracing" and his Father said, "well then do it." So here we are because Steve's Father was so wise and loving and Steve so courageuous to follow that path. I want to tell you Alex'sBigFan, you are a joy to us here and to be strong and to continue to persevere.

07 Nov 2012 11:06 PM
Wrensflight

I completely agree with you, Steve, regarding Animal Kingdom. His final run down the stretch was the highlight of the Breeders Cup races for me this year. It is unfortunate that his rider wasn't able to get him out of traffic trouble. I believe it would have been possible for him to catch Wise Dan if he had had a better trip. Hopefully he'll stay sound and be around to provide more thrills.

08 Nov 2012 12:14 AM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

Thank you so much.  What beautiful words you wrote and I will try to hang in there.  Cars can be fixed but at least I am safe and alive, you are right I am thankful.  We've been catapoulted into some strange survival mode in NJ but I will think of AK and Paynter and forge on.  You helped more than you will ever know.  I'll read the other blog.  And what a great thought, we are all here because of Steve's father!  Steve's blogs, what a wonderful place to "hang", we learn, we butt heads sometimes with others, we laugh, and share such wonderful horsey stuff, yep, Steve's blogs, a magical place in itself that we are lucky to be a part of.

08 Nov 2012 2:17 AM
ksweatman9

There is something about a derby winner. Like apple pie, the Kentucky Derby embodies American culture. The ponies who win the roses in May are dear to our hearts and we want to see them prevail. Animal Kingdom knows he's special, he wants to regain his celebrity status. He has the heart of a champion and I have faith he will bring us more thrills in the future.

08 Nov 2012 2:24 AM
KarenToga

Thanks for recapping some of my most favorite moments of the Breeders Cup as well. I had planned to go but due to Hurricane Sandy my flight was cancelled and I headed to my home in Saratoga from NYC< I was sure missing the warm California sun but enjoyed the races from Toga.

I have to agree AK was tremendous. I hope the connections will let us see him race in the States some. He is a sight to behold and such a warrior. I do agree with you about the dirt races, they left me wanting a little more due to such a strong speed bias. However, the turf races were amazing. Our American trainors did fantastic especially Chad Brown with his Zagora and his juveniles Noble Tune and Balance the Books. It is exciting to see the American trainors do so well this year in the BC. Can I say they truly "kicked butt" out there. Especially since it was their  first time off Lasix!

Thanks Steve for your heartwarming journalism about these magnificent warriors. Truly inspiring..

08 Nov 2012 3:13 AM
Cassandra.Says

"I'm not saying," "nobody's saying," he would have beaten Wise Dan . . ."

Let me correct the omission:

He would have beaten Wise Dan.

08 Nov 2012 5:06 AM
Cassandra.Says

"You sound like you don't know what your talking about, dear. You certainly no nothing about the greats of years passed." [Saratoga A J]

I AM one of the greats of years passed, kid, and even the nurses don't get to call me "dear."

08 Nov 2012 5:40 AM
Mike from Michigan

It seems Shanghai Bobby has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2 year-olds. Well, they can say what they want, All I know is he is undefeated, he won the BC Juvenile,  has bank-rolled $1,687,000 and should win an eclipse award.  WHO DAT?

08 Nov 2012 8:07 AM
Mister Frisky

Glad everyone enjoyed this years BC.Next year when the clowns that have ruined this event the past few years with unnecessary expansion strike again with their proposed Lasix ban for all runners.This event has gotten away from its original intentions,of crowning champions.Even the gamblers are dissappointed.Juv Sprint 5 runners,absolute joke.Marathon, a bunch of average horses at best in which for the second straight year two Euros don't even finish the race.Ladies Classic,Life at Ten the sequel with Questing.Godolphin embarrassed themselves with the performances of their horses.A speed favoring runway a and a turf course that was as fast as a pool table.Churchill needs to be the permanent home of the BC,one day only REAL grade 1 races.No more specialty trips like 6 and a half down the hill.Lets get this thing back on a major network where it belongs.

08 Nov 2012 8:57 AM
barryaksarben

I bet Animal Kingdom to win as I am a huge fan and was proud of the race he gave. I also had Trininberg and Fort Larned and Shanghi Bobby as I felt their records all year warrented it. So I needless to say enjoyed Saturdays races tremendously and thought it one of the best Breeders cup years in ages.Love your column Steve- your the best.

08 Nov 2012 9:12 AM
BadSaddle

Nice article.assume G. Motion does not use Dr.John Fisher FairHill 17 wk training program for 2yo, which GREATLY strengthens TB skeletons (AK pelvic fracture).would love to see you analyze why "top" trainers avoid science and stick with tradition and bucked shins and fractures.thanx.

08 Nov 2012 9:37 AM
Saratoga AJ

Yes, Animal Kingdom ran a huge race. Almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat like Da Hoss a few years back. Fabulous job by Motion.

Steve, one of the more perplexing performances of the two days was Awesome Feathers collapse in the turn for home. She never quit before, and the distance certainly wasn't a factor. Maybe she bled? Was there an injury involved? Have you heard anything on her?  

08 Nov 2012 9:51 AM
Love 'em all

Wise Dan is an exceptional racehorse ... and deserves respect. There was no way AK was going to outrun WD last Saturday!  You can bet on that!

Right, Wise Dan?  [smiling]

08 Nov 2012 10:24 AM
BadSaddle

Science of how to train to strengthen 2yo TB skeletons is factual (see Dr.John Fisher, Fair Hill, Bramlage,Nunamaker) yet "top" trainers ignore it,and bucked shins (Rolling Fog) and fractures (S.Precision,AK) continue unabated. why Stone Age trainers? blog it ?

08 Nov 2012 10:25 AM
Age of Reason

Alex'sBigFan,

Like Dr. D. and others, I join in expressing my condolences over the rough go you've had lately; but know that we are all rooting for you, and all bad things will pass in due time. "What doesn't kill you  makes you stronger!"

08 Nov 2012 11:14 AM
Alex'sBigFan

Guys, you gotta see this video.  Go to YouTube and see "Paynter in his round pen at Fairhill"  I found it on Justin Zayat's Twitter page.  Paynter is bucking and kicking and frolicking and playing and looks so happy!!!!  A miracle come true.

08 Nov 2012 11:22 AM
Susan from VA

When I was speaking with Graham Motion at Colonial Downs this summer, he said (with a smile on his face) that Animal Kingdom would be back.  Boy, he was right!  Kudos for Barry Irwin and Team Valor for being true sportsmen and keeping this great horse in training instead of retiring him to stud.

08 Nov 2012 11:30 AM
Bigtex

The question is not, what does the world need.  The question is, what makes you come alive, because what the world needs, and in our case, the racing world, is a journalist who has come alive (thanks to his father), Steve Haskin!

Steve, I don't know if you'll remember this, but when I met you at the BC, I asked you, if AK, WISE DAN, & EXCELEBRATION all got the perfect trip & had equal opportunity at the head of the stretch, who would have the turn of foot to win?  Maybe now we have our answer?

08 Nov 2012 12:17 PM
Bigtex

I was in the walking ring escorting Jeranimo's connections when the horses were brought over to get saddled.  I was really just mesmerized by AK's appearance!  He is visually stunning!  He's very regal, muscular like you stated, and he's quite long, too.  After seeing all the horses, and Wise Dan was impressive, too, I felt like AK was going to pull the surprise.  EXCELEBRATION didn't quite have the same stature and Obviously was full of muscle.  He looked like a powerhouse.

08 Nov 2012 12:26 PM
Bigtex

I have to just say as well, if you haven't seen Royal Delta up close, she is a sight to behold!

08 Nov 2012 12:27 PM
Karen in Indiana

Excellent wrap up, Steve.

With all the great horse racing going on in those 2 days, Wise Dan won and set a record doing it, but Animal Kingdom's race was awesome! And how can anyone not admire Little Mike and his always stepping up to the plate and doing so much more than is expected?

08 Nov 2012 12:42 PM
DailyNightly

I also had pretty much given up hope on Animal Kingdom midway down the stretch and was amazed at his sudden burst through the pack like he was shot out of a catapult. Really the most memorable moment for me from BC '12 as well!

08 Nov 2012 12:46 PM
Aluminaut

Alex'sBigFan,

Just read about your car trouble.  I second Dr. D's comments and hope all is improving soon on the East Coast.  In SoCal we are having some rain and expecting a major temp drop, but this is nothing in comparison to your reality.

Steve,

Thank-you once again for the great writing and photos.  Loved AK watching the Wise Dan jockey interview caption.  Just priceless.

I took lots of vid at the BC.  Mostly horses coming back and going through the tunnel after victory.  Shanghai Bobby was quite full of himself.  Wish I had been able to say hello to Lenny.  Please tell him he is appreciated.  For the friendly sparring, please tell him he is usually appreciated:)

08 Nov 2012 1:20 PM
Cigar96

Wise Dan is an exceptionally special horse, period. He is one of the most brilliant milers we've seen in a very long time and a lot should be said about his soundness and extraordinary ability to consistently run huge races.

Yes, Animal Kingdom had a rough trip and displayed a huge turn of foot. However, while he was getting his R&R at Fair Hill, Wise Dan was was making mincemeat of the best milers in both the U.S. and Canada.

Graham Motion is probably the one trainer that I respect the most and kudos to him for entering Animal Kingdom in BC despite most pundits questioning his decision (see Andrew Beyer). He was clearly second best.

If we're lucky, we'll see these two match up again next year.

08 Nov 2012 1:46 PM
Karen in Texas

On this and other sites, I had read comments prior to the BC lamenting the loss of our 3y/o stars and the lack of a clear cut leader in the older horse division as reasons for this to be a boring and lackluster two days of racing. That is certainly not what happened! To see Animal Kingdom and Wise Dan, Little Mike and Point of Entry explode on the turf was absolutely exhilarating! I was truly touched by the South American connections of Calidoscopio as they literally danced for joy after his win, as well. The surprises of the weekend made this a most memorable Breeders' Cup for me personally.

Alex'sBigFan---I, too, am happy to hear you are surviving the weather circumstances there in the NJ/NY area. My son has lived in Manhattan for about three years now, and we lost contact with him for a couple of frightening days. He is fine, but his description of the damage, particularly to the subway tunnels of the city, is hard to imagine. It will take time for all to get back to normal; and for many it will be a new normal....

08 Nov 2012 2:26 PM
White Plains Eric

Steve, PHENOMENAL photos of AK appearing to look at the infield screen and the finish between I've Had Enough and Shanghai Bobby.  

08 Nov 2012 2:57 PM
Barry Irwin

Attention Bad Saddle: first of all, Graham Motion did not train Animal Kingdom as a 2-year-old. Secondly, there are plenty of ways to train a horse and many different methods are successful. Excuse my complet ignorance on the subject, but other than being a pioneer in developing Fair Hill and being a pioneer trainer at that facility, Dr. Fisher is not a name one associates with horses that have won important races. Fill me in on what I am missing please, because I truly am curious. I am always willing to learn.

08 Nov 2012 3:28 PM
Ranagulzion

Steve,

Pardon me for throwing a monkey wrench into the hullabaloo over Animal Kingdom but that colt, by being over-rated on what some influential people think he could have done, stole the 3YO championship from Caleb's Posse a year ago and now appears to be stealing much of Wise Dan's thunder. Incredible!!!

His trainer's sentiments are understandable but I say lets see him win some races before we start handing the accolades of others to him.

Cassandra.Says

I say, based upon performance that we've all seen on the track so far, there is no way AK was going to defeat Wise Dan, thou great one (LOL).

08 Nov 2012 4:40 PM
happyticket

My comment has nothing to do with the breeder cup, but I just thought it would be cool to say that there must be something about champion race horses and their colors being teal and pink. Frankel and Zenyatta <3

08 Nov 2012 5:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigfan

  Thanks for the video. Loved it. That joy is the product of some very special people who had courage and perserverence to help Paynter survive. Keep going Paynter, and you too Alex'sBigFan. Hopefully you'll be frolicking and playing soon also.

Aluminaut

  Good to see you and glad you had a good time at BC.

08 Nov 2012 6:27 PM
arrrrgh arrrgh ARRRGGGGH!

Great weekend of racing, now to look forward to following the 3year olds on the K.Derby,Epsom Derby, Queen's Plate, and UAE Derby trail.  Giddy up!.  

08 Nov 2012 6:59 PM
arrrrgh arrrgh ARRRGGGGH!

ksweatman9- Look no further then the 1965 Arc.  Every Derby winner from every major racing nation took part in that race.  It was ultimatly won by SeabirdII in a canter, but that is what a top notch race is all about. don't see it all that often anymore.

08 Nov 2012 7:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

There isn't anything that Animal Kingdom isn't capable of winning. I think he is the greatest animal we've seen in training for a long time. I hope that after he wins Dubai he will be pointed to The Classic. He's had some bad luck in his career but hopefully that is all behind him and it is all good stuff now. What a warrior. They are probably taking it one race at a time but I am very curious as to what his future plans will be. At least three more big races before retirement would be fantastic. Good luck AK, be well and be safe.

08 Nov 2012 8:12 PM
Cassandra.Says

BadSaddle:

Science? We have a Democrat on the board?

You are absolutely right, but a couple of caveats. First, industry people aware of this deficiency are sucked in by a lot of junk science that is being commercialized. Second, ever on the alert for competitive advantage, trainers who do apply scientific findings (interval training comes to mind) don't talk about it, so we don't accumulate data or subject our practices to analysis and criticism.

Bone is not static; it is the body's storage cupboard for minerals and they shift in and out of the bones depending on the levels in the blood. A couple of weeks of stall rest and your horse's bone and tendons are kaput, however he was trained.

I haven't had a need to know, so I have not pursued it, but I suspect diuretics affect bone metabolism.

I've also noticed few breeders have Clue One about the biology of reproduction, when one hour-long course would debunk some huge bloodstock advisory services.

Lot's of junk science here too, with people sounding off who have studied agricultural genetics, which has no relevance for racehorse genetics. It's about pounds of food out per $ of input. It works best on fields of grain, where all the possibilities are expressed and contribute to the total. In sports genetics, we are not interested in the genes in the herd, we're interested in which of them were inherited by this here horse in front of us.

08 Nov 2012 8:19 PM
skyfire

Mr. Barry Irwin has proven to be a very shrewd horseman who made the right decision by consolidating his stable under Mr. Graham Motion's care.  Thanks to this great decision the racing world is blessed to be able to see Animal Kingdom again, 1 1/2 years after his Derby victory.  What other owner would have given AK time and  brought him back to the races?  

Thank you, Mr. Irwin, for not shipping him to Japan after the Belmont as you probably could have done.  US breeders:  please don't let AK slip away from here!

Mr. Irwin and Mr. Motion,  I wish you many more Derby and other  big race winners!  

08 Nov 2012 9:02 PM
Barry Irwin

I am formally accusing Dr. Drunkinbum of hacking my e-mail, otherwise how can he explain the accuracy of his speculation? OK, I understand that he is a doctor and that all doctors have been annointed by God himself, but only the hacking explains this!

08 Nov 2012 10:46 PM
Paseana

Thanks, Steve, for another marvelous piece.  The story that emerges from this Breeders Cup that gave me a truly warm feeling is the one about sires.  I believe that Tapit (Tapizar) is the only American-based "super sire" to score with a winner this year.  The rest of them were of the "blue-collar" variety.

To be sure, Mizzen Mast (Flotilla & Mizdirection), Henny Hughes (Beholder), and Harlan's Holiday (Shanghai Bobby) are all probably a bit above the "blue-collar" level, but none of them are at the lofty heights of Tapit, Bernardini, Distorted Humor, and the rest.

And then there's the others:  Bowman's Band (Groupie Doll), Teuflesberg (Trinniberg), Spanish Steps (Little Mike), Wiseman's Ferry (Wise Dan), and E Dubai (Fort Larned)

It says to me that you can pay any kind of money for horses out the wazoo, but the fact is that any horse can win a big race at any time.  Big money isn't necessarily going to win.......and thank gawd that it doesn't work that way.

09 Nov 2012 1:38 AM
Racingfan

When the race was over and I heard them announce Animal Kingdom was second I was shocked.  I had not seen him close like that and last I had heard he was far back. I had to rewind and watch the stretch run again.  I was amazed! I do think he would have won if he hadn't been trapped in for such a long time.

09 Nov 2012 7:58 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Barry Irwin

  I throw myself at the mercy of the court, and besides, I don't even have a hacksaw, and if I do the blade is too dull or broken.

09 Nov 2012 9:09 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

My dear colleague you again warrant a reminder to keep it real.

You continue to suggest that Caleb's Posse should have been voted the 2011 champion 3YO. While we are all entitled to our opinions, I believe opinions should be based on sound facts.

Caleb's Posse was hiding in his stall when AK and Shackleford were contesting the ultimate test for 3YOs i.e., the Triple Crown. You will recall that in spite of being subjected to much ridicule, I made a repeated case for Shackleford for the eclipse award. He defeated AK and all the other top 3YOs. In doing so, he displayed the requisite toughness, speed and tenacity of a champion thoroughbred. In spite of only recording two victories, he had the best body of work of any 3YO. I had no problem with AK securing the award as he also faced the ultimate test and was ultra impressive in the biggest race for 3YOs.

In an era of fragile thoroughbreds the Triple Crown has become a fleeting illusion to be perused but unlikely to be ever attained. Those who undertake this quest and survive are all champions. Caleb's Posse does not belong to this select group.

AK deserves the accolades. A race or two under his belt would have made him sharper and the out come of the race could have been different. Do not forget his sire was a champion miler. To return from such a long respite to face some of the top milers in the world and finish second is no ordinary achievement. It is an achievement that merits significant praise.

NB: AK should no longer be referred to as a colt.

09 Nov 2012 9:12 AM
Othello

Oh Mr. Haskins!  Oh Mr. Haskins.  What a nightmare of a trip. These Pinheads.  Referring to the term Andy Byer used in one of his books.  A matter of opinion: I think had the jock used his judgement correctly, Animal Kingdom would of eat-- yes eat-- Wise Dan up, chewed him and then spit him out.  Take nothing away from the winner, he won on an errant by the runner up jock.

Their are bigger things to come with this horse.

I lost in disgust.  But cashed on the placed.  

Please continue your good works.  

09 Nov 2012 9:31 AM
Pedigree Ann

Frisky - Questing's non-participation has an explanation: she injured her left eye, possibly coming out of the gate. She was in pain and did not want to run. By the time they got her back to the stable, her eye was swollen shut. With medication and time, the eye will be fine, last I heard. No mystery, just a freak accident. #845 in ways to lose a race.

A J - Do you realize that, for all the hype she has received, Awesome Feather has run in only two graded races in her three years of racing? The first was the BC Fillies Juvie, before the first injury, and the second was the faux-Gazelle at 3. (I call it 'faux' because it has the name and rating of the Gazelle Hcap, run at Belmont's first weekend in September, but was run at Aqueduct in November.) Her two runs this year were against wildly outclassed animals, in overnight-type races. She was stepping up in class big-time and couldn't keep up with tested, G1-proven older mares.

09 Nov 2012 9:33 AM
Footlick

Dancing Brave injured his eye in his 4th place finish when he came over for the BC.  Steve could tell me if the American press reported it or not.  All I remember is alot of comments about an overhyped European-lol.  

09 Nov 2012 11:23 AM
Footlick

Just to be fair, he also did not adapt well to the heat nor to the tight turns, but they eye injury could not have helped and as good as he was he still may have made a better showing than he did.

09 Nov 2012 11:27 AM
Aluminaut

Dr. D!  Thanks for saying hello to me on the blog.  Although I don't always add my two bits, I always read yours.  

Barry Irwin,

Dr. D a hacker?  Maybe if he gets the flu:)  Thanks for bringing Animal Kingdom to Santa Anita for the BC.  What a turn of foot he had.  I'll have to show my fillies video of his race.

09 Nov 2012 11:32 AM
Bold Lad

I can't help wonder what may have been if Chantall had been allowed to be aboard Game On Dude.

09 Nov 2012 11:36 AM
Age of Reason

Dr. D., you may not be the sharpest hacksaw on this blog, but you shore ain't the dullest either, if you catch my drift. =P

09 Nov 2012 1:11 PM
Ranagulzion

Coldfacts,

You're wrong again. A 4YO male thoroughbred is a colt. That is a conventional fact. The Caleb's Posse vs Animal Kingdom is exhausted and has expired. I only raised it because of whats happening with AK vs Wise Dan.

09 Nov 2012 1:39 PM
Slew

I loved Little Mike winning his race.  He's always been a favorite of mine...even though (bite my tongue) I didn't pick him to win.

Animal Kingdom, I thought, was awesome...but I also believe that if he had more track left, he might have won...we know he's used to distance.  So great to see him back.

Strangely enough, as much as I love the horses, my most memorable moment of the BC was on Friday.  With only days to go to the general election, the "well-informed?" fans at Santa Anita rose to their feet and placed their hands over their hearts as though "God Bless America" was the National Anthem.  (Even though the Aussie horse, Starspangledbanner, was on the racing card.) It made me quite sad, actually.

Alex'sbigfan: Hang in there.  NJ was really a target for Mother Nature...I'm guessing she wasn't fond of that MTV show...or maybe she didn't want it cancelled?  Just think ahead to next summer when you'll get to enjoy your state again. (Bet AK was happy to be in Calif for a few days.)

PS: with such a good showing, does anyone else wonder why He's Had Enough wasn't led to the track by Lava Man?  I keep wondering how my rowdy boy is doing...maybe HHE stole Lava Man's shadow roll?  

09 Nov 2012 2:21 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Aluminaut

  I'll send you a few bucks so you can post more often, and if you put in your two cents instead of two bits you'll be able to make even more posts. Been coughing like crazy today. Since I haven't been anywhere the only thing I can think of is that someone sent a virus to my computer and I picked it up that way. I don't think you can teach what AK has eventhough Motion did a phenominal job of training up to the BC, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Maybe your filly will pick up on something. AK's turn of foot sure turned some heads. Watching it on the computer I didn't see him get second, I was focused on Wise Dan and Obviously but I knew where AK was earlier so I didn't think it was him. When I heard the results I said, Huh? How could Animal Kingdom have gotten second. He didn't have time to get second. I wondered if it was a mistake. Monster. Not to take anything away from Wise Dan who was and has been spectacular. The greatness of one does not detract from the greatness of the other. Now, Groupie Doll I did see and it was jaw dropping.

09 Nov 2012 3:38 PM
Bigtex

Why the difference in turf firmness or lack thereof between the U.S. and Europe?  Do the Euros have a similar number of breakdowns as we do here?

09 Nov 2012 4:17 PM
Barry Irwin

Bigtex, horses racing in Europe die from racing and training breakdowns at a significantly lower rate than their American counterparts. Want proof? Check the insurance rates, which are significantly higher in North American than in Europe.

09 Nov 2012 6:23 PM
Saratoga AJ

Time to stretch Wise Dan out a bit? He wins on everything, but ran the his best Beyer (and best one of 2012... 117) on synthetic at 9F. Can he get 10F on syn? Dubai World Cup?

You heard it here first!

09 Nov 2012 8:26 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

Your are welcome for the video clip.  It is great isn't it.  Brings tears of happiness to the eyes to watch Paynter play.  It is a prayer anwered for sure.  Paynter has his blankee on still and I want Justin to embroider on it "I AM the great Paynter and I AM off to Paynt The Town."

Love that name that our Fran originated.

Thanks so many of you for the well wishes.  I'm a little better, car got fixed 2 days later and much money later but I am ok, frazzled but ok.

Mr. Irwin,

You gotta bring AK over by Paynter over there at Fairhill.  Paynter was looking to take off with some Motion horses the other day!!!  These two great, great warriors in the same place have to have a conversation together!!!!  All the best with Animal Kingdom.  If only that ill-fated Belmont never happened, but it did and Animal Kindom has risen above it like a hero.  His BC race was awesome!

Happy weekend to all.

09 Nov 2012 10:06 PM
Mike from Michigan

I agree with Ranagulzion absolutely in regards to Caleb's Posse not being awarded 3yo honors and I think the majority agrees.  I mean, what more did Caleb have to do?  I was absolutely flabergasted last year when they denied Caleb.  Just unbelievable.

On to another subject, the banning of furosemide at the BC.  I would like to hear from trainers and/or veternarians how the BC horses handled racing without it this year during the BC.  I personally have not heard any negative reports concerning this and was curious as to the general concensus among trainers and veternarians.  It would be interesting to hear about this from them.  In lieu of furosemide, I think it would be beneficial and adventageous for a trainer to use applecider vinegar as a 'natural' replacement.  Just a thought.

10 Nov 2012 3:07 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

My friend, in my world there are 2YO & 3YO colts and fillies. When they turn 4 they are referred to simply as 4YOs.

Mike from Michigan,

I am not trying to relitigate the decision made for the 2011 Eclipse Champion 3YO male as it is not in keeping with the theme of the Blog. However, when some are convinced that the award was stolen from Caleb Posse the cold facts should be presented.

Caleb Posse was unable to contest the Derby because he did not have the requisite earnings. He was not good enough to win a major Derby prep. The only G1 Derby prep he entered he finished 12th. He did not contest a major G1 race for 3YOs subsequent to the AK Derby. He was either not good enough or avoided all the top 3YOs in the major races for the group i.e., Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Jim Dandy, Travers and Haskell.

The only G1 race restricted to his peers that he won was the 6 1/2F Kings Bishop. How can anyone be truly convinced that Caleb Posse was worthy of being voted Champion 3YO?

If he had secured the eclipse award, the cold facts would  reflect a champion who spent most of his time in hiding when the major races were being decided. In short he would have been a paper champion.

10 Nov 2012 9:35 AM
Ranagulzion

Racingfan,

Don't be fooled about Animal Kingdom's late rattle in the BC Mile my friend.  He saved ground and energy on the rails and was kept out of the gruelling mid-race pace that took a toll on the closing kick of others like Excelebration. The dynamics of the race says a lot more about the quality of Wise Dan, breaking the track record.  Had AK been closer to the pace he would not have hit the board, coming off that long layoff.  Wise Dan also won with a lot in hand and galloped out strong.  Animal Kingdom is very good and his trainer Graham Motion deserves a lot of credit but to think that he could have beaten Wise Dan is really baloney.  

10 Nov 2012 9:36 AM
Karen in Texas

Mike from Michigan----Several of the 2y/o's apparently bled without the Lasix. Trainers Casse and Sadler reported three incidents of this having occurred. Here's a link.

www.drf.com/.../2012-breeders-cup-lasix-ban-results-trio-2-year-olds-bleeding

10 Nov 2012 10:39 AM
Pedigree Ann

Bigtex - Most of the European countries from which we see racers have a Marine-type climate, Italy being the only exception. In a Marine climate, the temperature variation between summer and winter isn't large - I went to the Irish Oaks last year in July and it was COLD (like 50F) but snow is rare in Britain and France except at elevation. Air conditioning is not common because it was rarely needed in the past (changing now). And it is wet, the prevailing westerlies bringing moisture in from the ocean. Think San Francisco or Vancouver, BC. They don't trim the turf as low as we do, either. And nowadays, if there hasn't been rain for a while, they water the courses. Fast times are not as important as stylish and dominating wins.

10 Nov 2012 10:53 AM
Barry Irwin

Mike,

I think the reason AK won the Eclipse over Caleb is based on the races he contested. They were the most prized races and he was given credit for them.

As for Lasix, the HBPA speaks for most horsemen and the HBPA is solidly pro Lasix. Of the vets I have spoken with, they seem pro Lasix, but less so.

What I would like to know is which Turf Writers are in favor of Lasix so that we may better understand the things they write about it.

The typical Turf Writer wants to be liked by trainers, because it makes their job easier and makes them feel better about themselves and their jobs. So most of them I would imaging are pro Lasix.

The ones interested in banning Lasix are those interested in elevating the game in the public eye and looking out for the best interests of the sport.

America has become the laughing stock of the world because of our drug policies. I read today in an e-mail sent to me by the breeders association in Eastern South Africa, in which it listed the qualities they demanded from a sire prospect they were seeking.

On this list is a comment that reads something like "no American medicated horses."

Lasix is bad for the horse, bad for the sport and bad for business.

10 Nov 2012 11:38 AM
Barry Irwin

Ranagulzion, based on your logis, I guess we shouldn't listen to what Rafael Bejarano said about almost being knocked down to the ground when the French filly inexplicably came over on him at the five-eighths pole and all but eliminated his winning chances in the BC Mile. Because, based on your theory, it probably allowed him to save more energy.

10 Nov 2012 5:01 PM
robinm

Great BC recap and I've enjoyed reading the comments.  My picks for memorable BC moments are the win by Groupie Doll; Trevor's call "Shanghai Bobby is exhausted" only to find he was either waiting on horses, or caught his second wind; and Wise Dan's dominance of the best grass milers willing to show up. Yes, Animal Kingdom's turn of foot when free to run was amazing, but Wise Dan was near the lead on a fast pace throughout the race and still kicked away and won with plenty in reserve.

Regarding no lasix allowed for 2-yr. olds; what didn't happen had the biggest impact on the juvenile races.  By that I mean, look at the small fields.  Clearly, several trainers were unwilling to run their colts and fillies without the aid of lasix.  Frankly, I have very mixed emotions regarding this particular "drug".  Even noted veteranarians, such as Larry Bramblage, feel that lasix should be allowed.  Right or wrong, the need for lasix is now "in the blood" (no pun intended) of the modern day thoroughbred in America.  If lasix is banned, it will take several generations of breeding away from "bleeders" before our horses will have the ability to compete at their best without aid.

10 Nov 2012 8:50 PM
Cassandra.Says

A parking lot is not a pasture. Our horses compete breathing the fug of tens of thousands of automobiles, and live in the same atmosphere rather than going home to the country between races. So I am pulled by that towards support for something that helps them.

But I'd rather see something less effective -- a serious bleeder should not go to stud. In Germany, it's forbidden by law. (One up for Animal Kingdom.) What happens when we try to race horses all four of whose grandparents were bleeders?

In the very early days of racing, they used to keep horses lighter in flesh and sweat them under blankets overnight before a race.

11 Nov 2012 12:45 AM
Davids

robinm, which trainers were "unwilling to run their colts and fillies without the aid of lasix" ?

Not sure what the trainers in Europe, Australia, Japan et al have been doing over the past couple of decades are doing with their imported US bred horses but they manage without lasix. Same bloodlines, different ethics?

Perhaps, as Barry Irwin has mentioned above, the only way to universally change tact, with regards to the use of lasix in the US, is to be shamed from afar.

11 Nov 2012 2:22 AM
Pedigree Ann

"If lasix is banned, it will take several generations of breeding away from "bleeders" before our horses will have the ability to compete at their best without aid. "

IMHO bleeding is a result more of management than genes. Today's racehorses don't get nearly enough exercise in their preparatory training that they need for the stress of racing. Works two, three, four times a week, works at the full distance of the race being prepared for, a blow-out of 3f the day of or before the race - this was the norm in the US not so long ago. Today's stakes horses are not racing fit in many cases and their bodies react to the stress. And don't forget that the routine use of Bute when not medically indicated is a possible cause of bleeding. Race-day Bute  is so common that some states don't even note it in their programs anymore.

And I don't buy "the air is worse today than it was then." I remember being at the C.H. Strub S at Santa Anita in 1971. The mountains were totally obscured by a thick layer of dirty-yellow smog that stung one's eyes; the horses in the gate up in the 10f chute were barely discernible in the murk. None of the horses in that race bled and most if not all had long careers. The air in urban areas in most areas is appreciably cleaner these days, thanks to mandated efficiencies in internal combustion vehicles.

11 Nov 2012 8:43 AM
El Kabong

Great read, but again, your pics are worth a thousands words. Especially that great shot of AK looking at Wise Dan. He looks genuinely hurt and pissed off. I can't wait to watch his next race. Look out.

What struck me about this BC was the emergence of new names in the winners circle. This was not a dominated event by the usual suspects. Watching Gryder, Nakatani, Maragh, and the invaders walk away with the spoils was refreshing. I did feel bad for Speedy Bob, he's a class act, but the new faces and the great group from Argentina were all nice surprises. (ok full disclosure, I had Calidoscopia so that was a completely biased opinion).

That was my first Breeders Cup. It couldn't have been a better experience(unless I had run into you and Lenny... next time). I promised my brother after my Derby hit we were going and I know we will be back next year. Santa Anita is a classic venue. The paddock is the place to be. Don't sit still. That track offers so much to the mobile wandering type. Used my seats for maybe the last 4 races on Saturday from pure exhaustion of wandering for 3 days like a kid in a candy store, but it was worth it.

11 Nov 2012 11:51 AM
Eight paws

Thank you Steve for a wonderful recap of the Breeders Cup series. You were spot on in describing AK's trip. He ran a remarkable race and will only get better against these top-rated world class horses. I truly believe that we only saw a glimpse of what this horse is capable of. Mr Irwin - thank you so much for keeping AK in training. He is truly a once in a lifetime horse and exactly what the sport needs right now. I can't wait to see that majestic beast run again. Cheers to an amazing 2013 with our superstar ANIMAL KINGDOM!  

11 Nov 2012 12:00 PM
robinm

I should have been more specific; it's obvious from the small fields of 2 year olds in this years BC. that requiring the 2 year olds to run without lasix had an impact.  Whether it was the owner's decision or the trainer's decision to keep certain colts and fillies in the barn, I do not know.

As to genetics, versus training, versus air quality, I suspect that no one issue is solely to blame, but there is no doubt that genetics plays a part in the preponderance of "bleeders" in the modern day Americann thorougbred.  

Also, there is a wide range of severity of bleeding.  I think I remember reading that a number value is assigned to the severity of the bleeding when a horse is found to have bled during a race.  A severe bleed can result in a horse unable to finish a race, where a moderate to mild bleed will affect performance.  A horse that may run "lights out" on lasix, may run well below expectations without it.  I'm not a gambler, but I think most bettors would prefer to wager their money when they can count on horses running true to form.

This is a bit of "Catch 22" isn't it?  

11 Nov 2012 3:03 PM
Linda in Texas

El Kabong - i too took a double look see at the expression on Animal Kingdom's face, eyes, position of head etc. I thought to myself Wise Dan has no idea just how close he is to having the

stuffing knocked out of him if Animal Kingdom gets close enough!:)

Being the empath i am, i was thinking a few choice words that

shall not be reproduced in black and white here. Especially on Sunday. Even his eyeballs were fixated peculiarly, like looking at him without Wise Dan knowing.

I love all the fillies, mares, colts and horses.  And we don't give them near enough credit for

thinking more like us than not.

Right Alex'sBigFan?

You should take a look at the (Chapeaux) hat being auctioned  for Old Friends on Ebay. It is gorgeous and i could just picture you at the Kentucky Derby or Preakness or Belmont wearing that bright watermelon pink number. Auction is over at 7 est. Sunday, the 11th, today. This is liable to not be posted in time as it is Sunday.

The hat is a looker though and created in Rapid Redux's honor. Maggie what's her name makes the marvels.

Hope someone bids it up over $560.

Proceeds go to Michael Blowen and

our Old Friends.

Last Friday the 9th you should have

seen the unbelievable horses in vans to match traveling up 377 North in Texas. Figured most were going to Delta Downs. I waved to all of them with the thumbs up.

To me they are the prettiest sites around my area.

And a Peaceful Veteran's Day Thanks and Best Wishes are sent to everyone present and past who served our country in any way. And thanks Steve. You are the best.

Linda

11 Nov 2012 3:31 PM
Ranagulzion

Barry Erwin,

I saw Bejarano on Animal Kingdom checked at about the five-eights pole but nothing remotely close to being knocked down to the ground. His comments might have been his way of deflecting criticism for what he thought others might perceive as poor riding aboard the 4YO colt.  My thinking is that it worked out pretty good for Animal Kingdom, in terms of saving him from the torrid mid-race pace, because he was never going to be better than second best in that race.  As the saying goes, HOTY candidate, Wise Dan, was much the best.  Rafael Bejarano's post race comment was not objective and the camera evidence does not support his remarks.

I will say that Animal Kingdom is obviously an exciting prospect for to 2013 season on any surface and on any continent, at any distance from a mile to a mile & a half.  Congratulations to you and your team for bringing him back to the races in the pink of condition.  I certainly look forward to your international sporting exploits with him and others in the coming year and wish for you all the very best.

In many of my posts I like to bring not only a balanced

perspective on the issues that interest me but I have an acute sensibility for fairness and honesty amidst the passion and banter that we enjoy in discussing this great sport of kings.  I trust that you understand that my support of Wise Dan here and defence of Caleb's Posse against AK's racing resume does not mean that I dislike the horse (nothing could be further from the truth).  Peace.

11 Nov 2012 4:27 PM
Exbourne

I know Steve Haskin really doesn't like to go out on a limb, so I will for him, I can say Animal Kingdom was the best horse in the Mile and if had clear run would have most definitely won the Mile.

Really, he was only allowed to run for the last 80 yards or so and when he did get out, he kicked so hard, you really think Wise Dan was going to hold him off? Come on man! Simply laughable! I wish Mr. Irwin would keep "The King" in America and crush everyone. Bring him back to SA and complete the job he wasn't allowed to finish.

12 Nov 2012 12:09 PM
an ole railbird

1st i would like to think mr. irwin for his input in this blog.(although i dont agree with you).

this is what these blogs need is commenters who actully have hands on experince in the racing world.

i said that i was going to stay out of any discussions. but cassandra. says ,struck a nerve, with her (or his )statement. " we are not interested in the genes of the herd. we are interested in which of them were inherited by this here horse in front of us".

 in that attitude& theroy, lies the greatest fault, in the breeding industry, today.

herd & family gentics have the upmost importants, in the breeding industry.

the culls of each crop should be tested & tried, to the extent that their faults & short comings,are identified. these should be recorded by the breeder. & be made avilable to the breeding industry.

when these faults are identified ,if they are bad enough they should have the papers pulled, & taken out of the gentic pool.

this can be done thru gelding & spaying. or as it has been done since the begining they should be sent to slaughter.

 if bleeding is a heredity problem (which i dont think it is ), the slaughter industry is the answer for cleaning up the problem.

and is the answer to all of our heredity problems.

 if they are not sound enough to breed, we shouldnt be forced to feed them.

 im sure there are hungry people in 3rd world countrys that have little problems with horse meat. to a hungry person a meal ia a meal.

enough said.

 "an ole railbird"

12 Nov 2012 12:30 PM
Karen in Indiana

Pedigree Ann, I agree totally about management of the horse being the issue, not genetics. US horses do just fine when they are trained and raced in other countries. If it was genetics that caused a 'need' for lasix, they would do poorly in countries where they don't get it. Today's horse has issues because they are warehoused for 22+ hours a day in a stall, pulled out for maybe a couple of hours in the morning and get maybe 5 or 10 minutes a day on the track. To expect them to not have issues is like expecting a couch potato thrown into the NBA finals not to get sore or injured. It's not realistic.

12 Nov 2012 1:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Velazquez rode the perfect race but I think Wise Dan is being underestimated. He cruised along for most of the race and exploded for the win with plenty of energy left. For only a very short period of time did he need to extend and speed up his stride. The early check may have hurt Animal Kingdom quite a bit but it would still depend on the path Bejarano took after that. He had the opportunity after the early check to go around horses for better position but continued on the rail getting into further trouble. It was getting blocked and not having the room to gain better position in the race that cost him most, not getting bumped, in my opinion. Even with a good trip there is no guarantee that AK would have won but we'll never know. He could have won but my best guess is that Wise Dan would have still won unless caught just at the wire. I do think AK is more versatile on all distances and surfaces but I think Wise Dan is a major force, one of the greatest ever in the mile turf on any surface condition. Anyone that doesn't have AK in their top ten of older males is naive and shortsighted. This was just the beginning with amazing performances to come. I wouldn't put anything past Wise Dan either. Both are stunning champions with incredible skill, strength and heart. May they meet up again is my hope.

12 Nov 2012 2:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Classic 2013 Possibles

Wise Dan

Animal Kingdom

Royal Delta

Fort Larned

Mucho Macho Man

Game On Dude

Uncaptured

Awesome Feather

Nonios

Ron the Greek

12 Nov 2012 2:14 PM
Coldfacts

Listed below are the times for the BCJs contested on dirt at SA Park.

1986 Capote           1:43.80

1993 Brocco           1:42.99

2003 Action This Day  1:43.80

1986 Shanghai Bobby   1:44.58

The class of 2012 staggered home like drunken sailors to record the slowest time for the race on dirt at SA. Track conditions and wind directions could have impacted the final times for the races  contested with Lasix. However, all the times were below 1:44. The final time for the 2012 BCJ contested on a super fast track has to be viewed as unimpressive.

Did the absence of Lasix impact the final time?  

12 Nov 2012 2:36 PM
Alex'sBigFan

The Lasix problem is still as intricate as ever.  Horsemen and veterinarians seem to be for it.  I'm still on the fence on it, still thinking it may be the one beneficial med they need and stop all other meds, or not.  If they stop it altogether, what will happen to the crops of 3, 4, 5 year olds still on it if they bleed significantly?  Will those careers be lost?  If bleeding is not entirely genetic, then has research been done to get at the root cause of the pressure in the lungs after exercise exertion?  Have they studied why they get EIPH?  Have they come up with other natural diuretic remedies like green tea, maybe they should drink that.  Don't know what the best answer is but I do know that Lasix is monitoring the EIPH for now and reducing the pressure on the capillaries in the lungs by elimination of urine.  Can you imagine the horses though, hours prior to a race getting injected with the Lasix?  They must be thinking oh no, not this again, I'm so tired of peeing!!!  

I was watching International Racing from Japan on TVG late Saturday night.  There were some major races going on and it was raining heavy there.  There was one race, I think it was fillies and mares, and they come out walking in their post parade circle in the rain.  I don't know any of these horses from Adam, but I see #9 and it had it's head up high, looked grand, and didn't flinch a muscle.  I said that's your winner here, wouldn't you know it, #9 comes flying home for the win.  I was shocked!  Too bad I didn't bet big on it.  How's that for handicapping a Japan race from your American living room!!!!!

12 Nov 2012 6:38 PM
El Kabong

I spent most of my time thurs-sat hugging the rail of the paddock at Santa Anita. I was viewing horses being schooled in the paddock in between races as well as those running. One horse really stood out. A massive tower of muscle, sculpted like Discobolus, rippling waves with every step. It was impressive beyond the others. I called out to the groom for his name...........Wise Dan he replied. He is as fit as can be. I wouldn't bet against this guy. I think he has more gears when he needs them.

12 Nov 2012 11:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

El Kabong

   Enjoyed your post Queek Draw. That's what I think, Wise Dan only used three gears, saving fourth gear in case he needed it.

13 Nov 2012 1:35 AM
Sue MacGray

I LOVED the way Animal Kingdom burst through and made a race out of it!! I also loved the Classic Duel. This year my favorites weren't the winners, although the winners (like Wise Dan, Fort Larned, RD) were obviously deserving. Regarding lasix, I'm hoping they will eventually wean them off it, even if it does take time. It will be better for the breed in the long run. I agree (with PA and Kathy) that the issue is more in the management of the horses. I have to think that some are against weaning them off it because it will most likely be inconvenient, time-consuming and more expensive possibly to change habits (training/management practices, etc.) and the way things have been done for the past few decades. Whatever is the final decision, I'm glad the industry has made a start at tackling the issue. And now comes the 'quiet' (for the most part) time. Although I am curious about Z's half-sister's debut this Friday. Does anyone know what will happen next with Awesome Feather? Although she's 10-1, it seems she's quite fragile and maybe it would be a good idea to retire her. She's a very good horse who has limitations. I'd rather see her making babies than trying to eke out a few more races. I don't think she can run hard enough to beat the best (at this point).

13 Nov 2012 7:33 AM
Louisville Native

Ditto to Steve's comments about the speed bias at Santa Anita and its effects on the closers. The Classic was decided in the first quarter mile and ended up a two horse race with the closers unable to mount any kind of assault on the two leaders in the stretch. In his video discussion with Lenny Steve mentioned the addition of sand to the Santa Anita surface so that it played much like Belmont. What Steve did not do was explain why this decision was made to alter the track surface and create the bias. Would really like to see a column on why this alteration was made, a description of the decision-making process behind that alteration, and who were the players in that process and why they may have wanted to create such a bias. Sounds like the stuff from which a good piece of investigative journalism eventually emerges. On another note, never did a trainer know his horse better than Motion did Animal Kingdom nor did Bejarano ever have a rougher day than this one with his rides on Animal Kingdom and Game on Dude.

13 Nov 2012 9:04 AM
Lori M.

I didn't read all the comments, so don't know if anyone else mentioned this but - wasn't it just horrible that for the first time, at Santa Anita, famous for its expansive paddock and sweeping grounds, had half the paddock barricaded off by BC Ltd.?   Yep, for "VIPs."  I would have expected this at Monmouth for example, but SA?   Shame on them.  The VIP half was sparsely populated as far as I could tell, and the fans were crammed 15 deep on the rail along the other half.  My fave spot to be for the BC was always the paddock rail next to the saddling enclosure.  Well, no more.  I'm just not VIP enough.  Remembering Curlin emerging after being saddled, w the photographers lined up like soldiers, a hush over the crowds - and then there he was like an equine God....what a moment!!!   Remember Zenyatta, filing in last to enter the enclosure so she could prance?  Wow!!!  Alas, no more moments.  All we EVER read or hear about is how racing needs and wants fans.  I guess BC only wants silly celebrities and "VIPs."  They can have them.  I won't be back next year.  This opinion was expressed even by the staff barricading the "off limits" half - every SA staff member I spoke to ditto'd that this was a rotten way to treat we fans that racing "wants."

13 Nov 2012 12:44 PM
Slew

On one discussion, I'm really a big fan of Caleb's Posse.  I, too, thought he earned the 3 yr old title.

However...

Caleb's Posse is a great sprinter, who never competed over 8.5f.  Animal Kingdom took on the classic distance, ran in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown, won the Derby...Love AK too...and think he came back stronger than ever.  Tough choice.  But it seems to me, the Classic winner usually takes the 3 yr old Eclipse.

As for Lasix...if the rest of the world can do so well, and produce so many Champions, without race day lasix, why can't the USA?  If we want to remain competitive internationally, we need to wake up to present realities...and a simple question...if a horse cannot compete without bleeding, why is he competing at all?  

13 Nov 2012 2:17 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Another chestnut to Japan, I guess it's time to say "Bye Bye Birdie" as Summer Bird will stand stud in Japan.  My theory on it is that although Japan may have IHA and now Summer Bird, we have the upper hand on it because we have their sires with the proven genetics, Flower Alley and Birdstone respectively.

Speaking of globetrotting equines, is Smarty back at the hacienda yet here?

13 Nov 2012 7:13 PM
Uncle Smiley

Steve, yet another great season round up under your literary hand ride!

Dr. DB... Mucho Macho Man. Way to go in 2013.

As an old rail bird out of Delpark, Hip Hip Hooray for Ramon Dominguez and Rosie Napravnik.

Triple Crown Future Contenders, who earned their props in the Breeder's Cup, and cut their teeth at Delaware Park!

Uncle Smiley

13 Nov 2012 7:57 PM
Mike Relva

Exbourne

Sounds like from your bitterness you bet on the wrong horse.

13 Nov 2012 11:30 PM
Greg R

An otherwise exciting B C was marred for me because I only had HRTV, not NBCSP or whatever.  HRTV usually does a good job, but they were very clumsy this time in throwing it back and forth between their own and NBC's coverage, especially in the sound department.  They couldn't switch to the right sound track at the right time and kept it jumbled all the way through, as though the audio engineer was on strike and the janitor was running the board.  Even the graphics were much more confused and messed up than usual.  Why the unprofessional lack of coordination?  Again, this is coming from someone who normally appreciates HRTV and admires a lot of what they put on.  Quite disappointing.

Beyond that quibble, my faith in Animal Kingdom was vindicated - not that he would win (I doubted it under the circumstances), but that he is supremely gifted.  I still have reservations about Dubai, though.

What would make the ideal setting for AK and Wise Dan to meet again?  Here's hoping it won't take a full year for the rematch to occur!

I don't suppose you think, Steve, that this year's Juvenile will be as productive as last year's!  That was probably the biggest key race that the B C has ever hosted.  

14 Nov 2012 12:18 AM
Coldfacts

Caleb Posse contested the 1 1/8F AK Derby where he recorded as 12th place finish.

14 Nov 2012 10:57 AM
ksweatman9

Hmmm, Cigar Mile in the company of the boys before 2012 closes the door. Would Groupie Doll be trying to "steal" Horse of the Year away from Wise Dan? I hope not, because it's time for a male horse to take the honors, and I do love you "Doll Face", you are my favorite girl running today. It's just that, well, this one belongs to "Danny Boy".

14 Nov 2012 6:35 PM
Slew

Coldfacts: re Caleb's Posse...18 races, 14 in the money finishes.

Yet when you point out that ONE race was 9f, by noting his 12th place finish, you confirm the fact that Caleb's Posse is a sprinter/miler.

Exactly what was the point?

To point out that a slight error was made?  

The 14 in the $$ finishes were contested at 5f to 8.5f.

15 Nov 2012 8:56 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Barry Irwin

   I really like the pedigree and looks of Throckmorton. Good luck with all of your youngins and veterans.

Slew

  There have been HOY sprinters I do believe but off of the top of my head I can't remember who. Wise Dan is my HOY this year, next to Paynter, or maybe they could give a special award to Paynter for "Most Courageous and Inspirational."

15 Nov 2012 8:12 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

Agree.  And if the Travers this year can end in a dead heat so too then can HOY - Paynter and Wise Dan is fine with me too.

16 Nov 2012 12:04 AM
Helene

Mr Haskin - once again your blog is fantastic - and I completely agree with you - ESPECIALLY about Animal Kingdom.

When I saw him in the post parade  (on my laptop), I too was ASTOUNDED. Thank you for providing the current specifications on him; most interesting.

Helene Conway

16 Nov 2012 9:50 AM
robinm

I love Paynter and his story; but he didn't do enough on the track to have earned a year-end championship or HOY.  I think a special award might be in order though.

16 Nov 2012 11:18 AM
JoyJackson21

Animal Kingdom, if he had had a much cleaner trip, would have won the BC Mile.  Even though that is not his favorite distance in a race, he would have won that particular race.  If the race had been 1-1/8 miles or 1-1/4 miles he would have easily passed by Wise Dan.  Animal Kingdom just simply ran out of real estate before he could run down the winner.  Animal Kingdom was absolutely FLYING at the end of that race, looking all powerfully muscular and magnificent.  I was SO proud of him in accomplishing what he accomplished in this comeback.  I was also highly impressed by Graham Motion's guidance of Animal Kingdom in helping AK train back into such marvelous condition from a VERY concerning injury.  The musculature on Animal Kingdom was incredibly impressive.  I am looking forward to seeing more greatness from Animal Kingdom in the future.

I had some of the same vivid memories you had of the Breeders' Cup races, Steve.  My favorites:  Watching Her Highness, Royal Delta, display her complete dominance over a spectacularly-gifted group of her peers, proving to everyone that she is at the pinnacle of her game; Trinniberg winning his BC race, his connections wonderfully going absolutely BANANAS in joy & celebration seeing him win the race; then just one minute later, seeing Willie Martinez lovingly caress and kiss Trinniberg's neck in gratitude on the way back to the winner's circle, then, with tears in his eyes, pointing to heaven and giving thanks to God for this victory.  Watching those very private moments of Mr. Martinez's brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I was intruding on a very private moment, but yet, at the same time, I was awestruct at the powerfulness of that moment.

I loved watching Calidioscopio's win and watching a large portion of the stands erupt in raucous joy when his connections began a five minute celebration. - LOL.  It was funny, fun, and lovely to see.  I loved watching Groupie Doll, Flotilla and Mizdirection win their races.  Exciting and impressive, each one of them.  And then we have the glorious Zagora.  What a blaze of glory she went out in!  Fabulous stuff!  Watching her win triumphantly was uplifting to the spirit.

I love a great stretch duel, it quickens the blood and excites the brain.  And we were treated to some incredible stretch duels during the 2012 BC weekend, including the fabulousness of the duel between Shanghai Bobby and an extremely game He's Had Enough.  Watching both of these neophyte warriors test the mettle of the other was thrilling.  That promises to be quite a rivalry in 2013.  

And watching Mucho Macho Man run the best race of his life against  a tenaciously brave Fort Larned was thrilling, thrilling, thrilling.  That was a race for the ages to me.  Mucho Macho Man ran an incredible race.  Fort Larned looked determined, stubborn, flint-like and indominable in his dig-in-his-heels-with-determination victory.  I don't know who was screaming louder during this tour-de-force battle, the lady next to me in the stands, or me! - LOL. I don't know why I was screaming at the top of my lungs because no matter which one of them came in to win I would have had the winner & the exacta, but I always get caught up in the thrill of a duel to the wire.  And I seriously hope Brian Hernandez, Jr. went out that day and purchased a bunch of lottery tickets, because he was having one of the best days anyone could ever ask for winning stakes races on both Neck 'n Neck and Fort Larned in one 24 hour period, flying cross-country, during a very magical, very lucky 27th birthday.  

I had a ton of fun during the two days of sparkling Breeders' Cup racing. It totally lived up to all of my expectations, and more.  I had a fabulous weekend.

Thanks for writing such as vibrant, alive article on the Breeders' Cup races, Steve.  You wrote a very fine column, as usual.  I also loved the accompanying pictures, especially the picture of Animal Kingdom watching Wise Dan's jockey being interviewed.  Animal Kingdom looked incredibly regal in that photograph, almost breathtakingly so.  Your article brought back all of the emotions and experiences I had in attending these races, which was my very first time seeing the Breeders' Cup live, in person.  I want to go again to next year's BC races, too.  I'm already planning the trip! - LOL.  

Before I wrap it up, I would just like to comment on some of the posts that were written before mine here.  I'll Have Another should absolutely win HOY honors for 2012.  He won his all of his graded stakes races, including all of his G1 races, at CLASSIC distances, on dirt, in spectacular fashion each and every race. If he had remained uninjured, the way the Belmont ultimately was run and played out, he would have won the Triple Crown. Yes, he only ran against three year olds, but so did Point Given in 2001 when Point Given was awarded the HOY Eclipse Award.  It is not necessary, nor a requirement, for a 3 year old colt to beat older horses in order to win HOY honors.  Point Given has proven that to us, so that particular urban legend has been negated. I'll Have Another's rae record stands up very well against Point Given's 2001 HOY Award record AND against all of the other horses that will be in nomination against him for HOY honors.  In fact, his record is slightly a little more superior.  IHA has also impressively won on both polytrack and dirt during his career. He was not limited to winning on just one surface as others who are being considered for 2012 HOY honors have been limited to.  I'll Have Another DESERVES and HAS EARNED the honor of winning both the 3-Year-Old Male Eclipse Award AND the 2012 Horse Of The Year Eclipse Award.  

Horses who I believe will ultimately win in other categories for the Eclipse Award are Royal Delta, Little Mike, Fort Larned, Groupie Doll, Wise Dan, Zagora, My Miss Aurelia or Questing for 3 Year Old Female, Executiveprivilege or Beholder for 2 Year Old Female, and Shanghai Bobby.

I also believe that one of the bravest horses it has been my privilege to have ever greatly admired, the incredible Paynter, should be given a special 2012 Eclipse Award honoring his inspirational, miraculous recovery.  And, that Eclipse Award should be named the "Profiles In Bravery and Courage" Eclipse Award, because that is what Paynter showed all of us in his awesome triumph over death and quest for life - profiles in bravery, courage and good-naturedness.  Power Up Paynter!! We all love you!

Thanks again, Steve.  I love your columns.  Happy, joyful Thanksgiving to you and your family.    

16 Nov 2012 6:23 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

With no more Twinkies I thought they maybe the world really was coming to an end, but then I saw Ebby (pronounced Ebb-Bee) win her race and I had faith again that we'll survive. I think she's better than Rachel. (just kidding).

16 Nov 2012 8:18 PM
Age of Reason

Joy Jackson, your comments are always so uplifting. I wish everyone in the world had a little of your optimism and bright spirit!

17 Nov 2012 11:10 AM
ksweatman9

I would like to comment on why I'll Have Another should NOT walk away as 2012 Horse of the Year. He was indeed the horse who stirred up every emotion horse racing fans had. He was tremendous in his bid for the triple crown, sweeping the first two legs in dramatic fashion, as many did before him. Then, for whatever reason, they fell short at the "Big Sandy". I'll Have Another never got his shot at Belmont, but we all presumed, including myself, that he would've won the mile and a half. 45 years of watching this sport tells me, "DON'T PRESUME ANYTHING", this is horse racing. All that being said, IHA did have a great year up to that point. "Red" as I like to call him, is a real gem of a horse, but he needed to prove himself beyond mid May to capture Horse of the Year honors. Perhaps I would feel differently if we didn't have horses like Wise Dan and Groupie Doll, who worked hard ALL Year and proved themselves to be worthy champions. How fair would it be to deny these horses? They stayed sound. We MUST start rewarding horses for being strong and healthy as well as being winners. It's crucial to the sport. I can say in sincere honesty that my displeasure with "Red" being sold to Japan has nothing to do with how I feel about nominating him for Horse of the Year. He did no more that Wise Dan has done, and "Danny Boy" finished the year on his feet in good form , healthy, strong and sound. That wraps it up for me, and I hope it's as clear a choice for others, the ones who can vote. Believe it or not, there is life beyond the triple crown races. We have to stop being so narrow minded. Horse of the Year 2012 SHOULD be Wise Dan, now let's see how fair the industry really is.

17 Nov 2012 6:09 PM
Slew

Dr D: Try Ghostzapper...HOY, basically a sprinter but he did win the BC Classic at 10f.

I still favor Royal Delta for HOY.  She's continued to prove her mettle, 2 years in a row.  And she'll be back next year.

Now I have to find a replay of Eblouissante's race.  I missed it, and I could kick myself.  But I heard she was awesome!

17 Nov 2012 7:07 PM
spectacular bid

sometimes i question my own observations but as i went to the track every morning, the horse that grabbed my attention more then any other was animal kingdom..he just had that "it" factor all week. i wasnt surprised that it took a sub 1:32 mile to beat him.. side note QUESTION as she was mentioned in the story, does anyone know if VERSAILLES TREATY is still alive?. and if so, where she resides?

18 Nov 2012 12:09 AM
Diego Conde

Genius. Animal Kingdom's performance is one of the best three performances in the history of the BC. What a horse! Weird that my two favorite performances of the last decade are "losing efforts": Animal Kingdom and Zennyata's 2nd to Blame. That's horse racing!

20 Nov 2012 1:01 AM
Alex'sBigFan

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I'm thankful that we have Steve to inform us and entertain us all year, thankful Paynter recovered, thankful I made it through the hurricane unharmed, thankful I was saved on the highway, thankful for horseracing at all, thankful for Bloodhorse and all the great bloggers here, thankful for so many things and hopeful that somehow the economy in New Jersey turns around as there are so, so many people struggling even before the hurricane, now it is even more horrendous afterward.

Keep the faith and PowerUpPaynter!

Turkey for all and peppermints for Paynter.

21 Nov 2012 10:04 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Everybody don't forget to watch the Cigar Mile on Saturday.  Thirsty goes up against Groupie Doll and Coil.  Should be a good one.  I'm going for Thirsty for the win.  I'm proud of him how he's gone on without Mo.  Hope Mo is doing well too.  The way Thirsty ran in the JCGC was awesome against Flat Out.  This is at Aqueduct I think, different track but Thirsty is still on his home turf.  Good luck to all.

21 Nov 2012 10:13 PM
JoyJackson21

Thank you, Age of Reason, for your kind compliments.  They have truly made my day!  Remembering to be grateful for all I have been blessed with in life, and all I have survived in the past, makes it easier to be optimistic about today and the future.  I hope that is the same in your case, too.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and may 2013 be a fabulous year for you (and for us all)!

27 Nov 2012 1:04 AM
JoyJackson21

Hi, ksweatman9.  Thank you for your post.  I appreciate your point of view.  We both agree that I'll Have Another is quite a gem of a horse - he's the combination of top quality diamonds & rubies to me, but we will agree to disagree about who should be Horse of the Year. I still believe it should be I'll Have Another.  I don't believe I'll Have Another should be penalized from winning Horse of the Year honors simply because a lot of people loathe his former owner, because that is what a lot of the objections are really about in allowing I'll Have Another to win the award - they don't want to see the award go to J. Paul Reddam, it is not that they object to the award rightfully going to I'll Have Another.  They actually like I'll Have Another.  They object to Paul Reddam, owner of a loan company they have run afoul of, and person who sold I'll Have Another to the highest bidder and sent him overseas where his fans can never hope to see him or his progeny run.  Some also object to IHA winning the HOY award because they don't want to see a West Coast horse win the award, they believe only East Coast horses should be honored with HOY awards.  Both are misguided reasons to deny I'll Have Another the HOY award.  One hundred years from now, there will not be many people around who remember all the things that make Paul Reddam, to some, a not very likable man at this moment in time, but there will be video around showing the greatness of the horse he owned.  People of that era will still go, "Wow!" when they witness all of IHA's races, and they will acknowledge they are seeing a very special, extremely talented, remarkably charismatic horse.  They will also see his name on the list of Eclipse Award winners, hopefully listing him as both 2012 Horse of the Year along with 2012 Three-Year Old Male of the Year, and say, "IHA deserved to win those awards."  I never personally witnessed Seabiscuit win a race, but I have seen his races on film and knew I was witnessing a very special horse and that he deserved all of the accolades and awards that he won.  It's the same way with I'll Have Another - people will see the tapes of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and marvel at what they are witnessing.  I know you feel the same about Wise Dan. So, like I said, we will agree to disagree on who should win the 2012 HOY Eclipse Award.  

I also think it's not fair to compare Wise Dan to I'll Have Another in terms of soundness.  It is certainly not I'll Have Another's fault that he was injured just before the Belmont Stakes.  You will agree that constantly racing on dirt at the much longer distances of 1-1/8 miles, 1-1/4 miles I'll Have Another raced at is much, much harder on a horse's legs and health than running at shorter distances of a mile or less on grass.  Everyone knows running on grass is much, much kinder to a horse's body and legs than running on hard dirt.  That's just a fact.  Running only on grass is more attributable to Wise Dan remaining sound than anything else.  If he constantly ran on dirt it would significantly increase his chances of getting injured.  I have never understood blaming the horse for getting injured.  That is never their fault that they become injured, it's always happenstance that causes it.  The kind of thought process that attributes blame to the horse for its own injury makes absolutely no sense to me.  It's not in the least bit logical.

And, to be honest, I think Royal Delta is being overlooked by some - her body of work is very close to I'll Have Another's.  She is the REAL Dark Horse (no pun intended) in this race for Horse of the Year honors.  She is very formidable competition.  Don't discount Royal Delta, because I am certainly not doing so.  I think there are many, many members who actually vote for the HOY Awards who are solidly in I'll Have Another's camp, and many of who are in Royal Delta's camp.  There are those who are in Wise Dan's camp.  There are those who are in Fort Larned's camp.  And a few in Groupie Doll's and Little Mike's camp.  I think Wise Dan fans automatically started awarding the HOY Award to their horse, and absolutely threw away without one thought I'll Have Another and Royal Delta as incredibly SERIOUS contenders for the 2012 Horse of the Year Award.  It certainly appeared that way, especially after the BC races.  All of the talk was the HOY Award belongs to Wise Dan, end of discussion.  

Not end of discussion.  Both I'll Have Another, Royal Delta and their records definitely have something to say in regard to that.  It is my hope that those who vote for the Eclipse Award will remember what G1 stakes races are TRULY considered the most prestigious races in the world and have ALWAYS been considered the most prestigeous races in the world (top three among them Triple Crown races), who won those races this year in the United States, and that that horse is rightfully awarded the 2012 Horse of the Year Eclipse Award.  That horse is I'll Have Another.  

27 Nov 2012 9:17 AM

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