LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Drosselmeyer capped a day of upsets at the Breeders' Cup World Championships Saturday, winning the $5 million Classic with a late rush.
Long shots also filled the second and third spots in the Classic, leaving such favorites as Uncle Mo, the great filly Havre de Grace and former Australian champion So You Think well in their wake.
Drosselmeyer went to the post at odds of 14-1 and won with a stretch move down the middle of the track. Game On Dude, also 14-1 with Chantal Sutherland up, led late and finished second. Ruler on Ice, dispatched at 17-1, was third.
"He was coming off his best race of the year," said winning trainer Bill Mott, referring to Drosselmeyer's second-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. "We were taking a chance. We knew there would be a good pace up front and we knew he could get the distance."
The winning jockey, Mike Smith, who formerly dated Sutherland, found some redemption for last year's Classic when his mount, Zenyatta, was unable to catch Blame in an historic stretch battle. Saturday's win was his 15th in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, tying him with Jerry Bailey.
"Last year I was devastated. To come back and win today is just amazing," Smith said.
"Even though he was far back early, he was happy and I was confident we could get there," Smith said of Drosselmeyer. "He wants every bit of a mile and a quarter."
This year, Smith let his mount settle well off the early pace, then asked him to make one big run down the middle of the track in the stretch. It appeared Game On Dude had the race won inside the sixteenth pole before the winner swept by. The final margin of victory was 1 1/2 lengths and the 1 1/4 mile over the fast Churchill Downs track went in a modest 2:04.27.
Despite the long odds, each of the three top finishers had class in his background. Drosselmeyer, a 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt, won last year's Belmont Stakes. Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap and the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita this year. Ruler On Ice was this year's Belmont winner.
Drosselmeyer's owners, WinStar Farm, said he likely will be retired. They bred both the colt and his sire.
Havre de Grace, the filly trying to make a case for Horse of the Year honors, finished fourth and the favorite, Flat Out, got home fifth. Uncle Mo, last year's juvenile champion, chased Game on Dude early but faded to finish 10th of 12 starters. So You Think, who raced close to the pace, finished sixth, missing third by less than a length.
Even before the gigantic upset in the Classic, the second day of the Breeder's Cup World Championships was full of upsets and family stories.
Among them were a father-and-son, jockey-and-trainer team winning the $3 million Turf; a horse named after his owner winning the $2 million Juvenile; and Goldikova being denied in her bid to win the $2 million Turf for a fourth straight time.
$2 million Mile
Goldikova came up short in her effort to win a fourth straight Breeders' Cup Mile, finishing third behind an extreme long shot. The winner, Court Vision, had not finished in the money in more than a year and went to the post in mile at odds of 64-1. He paid $131.60 to win. Goldikova, meanwhile, is one of the world's top horses and was gunning for an unprecedented fourth straight Breeders' Cup win. With regular rider Olivier Peslier up, Goldikova raced close to the pace along the hedge. She got to the lead early in the stretch run after some contact but could not sustain the run. Court Vision came down the middle of the course under Robby Albarado and got home a nose in front of Turallure. Gio Ponti finished fourth. The mile on the firm Churchill Downs turf went in 1:37.05. Patrick Valenzuela, riding Courageous Cat, filed an objection against Peslier, alleging interference at the top of the stretch. The stewards looked at the replays for several minutes before letting the result stand. Trainer Freddy Head said Goldikova "had a perfect run."
"We had the race I wanted to have," Head said. "She looked like she was going to win for a moment but now I don't think she can sustain the same speed" as she had in previous years.
"She's done that the last couple of races," he added. "That's life. Maybe the mileage and the years have taken their toll."
$3 million Turf
St Nicholas Abbey took the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf with 18-year-old jockey Joseph O'Brien riding for his father, trainer Aidan O'Brien. O'Brien, who became the youngest jockey ever to win a Breeders' Cup race, kept the Irish-bred 4-year-old close to the lead throughout the 1 1/2-mile race. At the top of the stretch, he swung the Montjeu colt to the outside and he quickly went by the leaders, winning off by 2 1/4 lengths. Sea Moon, a British-bred colt, acted up before the race but finished second. Brilliant Speed, a 3-year-old Dynaformer colt, finished third, best of the U.S. starters. The favorite, French-trained Sarafina, finished fourth. St Nicholas Abbey finished the 1 1/2 miles on the firm Churchill Downs turf course in 2:28.85. Derrick Smith, representing the owning Coolmore team, said the win by St Nicholas Abbey, even for his very successful outfit, is "way up there. We always had faith in the horse and he paid it back to us today."
$2 million Juvenile
Hansen led from gate to wire in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile and outlasted previously undefeated Union Rags to win by a head -- a triumph of blue collar over blue blood. Hansen's two previous starts resulted in runaway victories at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky. Union Rags won his last two against graded stakes competition on the New York circuit and he was the even-money favorite Saturday. Hansen's owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, says he paid his way through medical school betting on the races. Hansen ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.44. Creative Cause, winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, got home third and Dullahan, who won the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, finished fourth. Union Rags was somewhat victimized by a wide trip around both turns.
Afleet Again was fleetest of all in the stretch run, rallying to an upset win in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon. The 1 3/4-mile race, among the longest stakes events in North America, went at a good clip early with Afleet Again well back of the leaders. Jockey Cornelio Velazquez finally revved up Afleet Again as the field came around the third turn and he wore down the other stretch runners on the outside, winning by 2 1/4 lengths at 41-1 odds. Birdrun was the best of the rest with frequent bridesmaid Giant Oak third. Afleet Again, a light gray, 4-year-old son of Afleet Alex, finished the Marathon in 3:00.39.
$1 million Juvenile Turf
Wrote got clear in the final yards to win Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, leading a sweep for foreigners in the event. With Ryan Moore riding, the Irish-bred and Irish-trained Wrote saved ground along the hedge in mid-pack until the field turned for home. Moore then found a seam between horses, got the High Chaparral colt into the clear and he quickly sprinted out to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Canadian-trained Excaper, with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, finished second and English-trained Farraj was third. Lucky Chappy, an Irish-bred who had raced in Italy, finished fourth. Wrote, now 3-for-5, ran the mile on "good" turf in 1:37.41.
$1.5 million Sprint
Amazombie caught Force Freeze in the late going to win the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint by a neck. Force Freeze held on for second after leading in the stretch and Jackson Bend came from far back after quick early furlongs to finish third. Amazombie, a 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding based in California, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.17. He picked up his 10th lifetime victory in his 23rd start. Euroears and Giant Ryan disputed the early lead, clearing the way for the late runners in the event. Force Freeze forced the pace along the turn and held a narrow lead from the top of the stretch to inside the sixteenth pole. But Amazombie, running along on his outside, gradually wore him down for the victory. Amazombie is trained by Bill Spawr. Mike Smith won his 14th Breeders' Cup race, leaving him one behind Jerry Bailey on the all-time list.
$1 million Turf Sprint
Regally Ready found running room on the hedge turning for home in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Country Day finished second at long odds and Perfect Officer was up for third. Regally Ready, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred More Than Ready gelding, finished the 5 furlongs on "good" turf in 56.48 seconds under Corey Nakatani. Regally Ready was behind the early speed into the turn. When he found room on the inside, he sped through and opened up in the final sixteenth for the win.
$1 million Dirt Mile
Caleb's Posse rallied like a shot down the stretch to catch pacesetting Shackleford and win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Shackleford, winner of the Preakness Stakes this spring, held on for second. Tres Borrachos was third. Shackleford took over the lead from pacesetting The Factor at the end of the run down the backstretch and appeared to have the advantage. But when jockey Rajiv Maragh booted Caleb's Posse into gear well out in the middle of the track, he quickly closed to the lead and drew off to win by 4 lengths. "The last sixteenth, we just got to celebrate," said winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel. Caleb's Posse, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt by Posse who once was on the Kentucky Derby trail, finished in 1:34.59 over a fast track. Before Saturday's win, his main claim to fame was beating Uncle Mo by a nose in the King's Bishop at Saratoga this summer.
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