11/13/2017 12:53PM

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Welcome back to FormBlog!  

As you know, we've had some technical issues regarding the new site that knocked us offline for the last few months. Hopefully, all of our issues have been resolved, but this post is a test to see if the major functions, especially the commenting section, are in working order.

Since this is a quick test, I won't restart HandiGambling until all of the kinks have been worked out. I'll probably post again after the Thanksgiving holiday with a focus on the Cigar Mile day of racing on Saturday, December 2 at Aqueduct. 

Looking back at the Breeders' Cup, here are some quick thoughts:

GUN RUNNER is a deserving Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male after running a complete race from gate to wire in the Classic. After COLLECTED beat ARROGATE in the Pacific Classic, trainer Bob Baffert, disappointed that the reigning Horse of the Year was defeated, mentioned that "the other horse [Collected] is a good little horse and you can't make a mistake against him."

As Collected ranged alongside Gun Runner with two furlongs remaining in the Classic, Collected fans waited for Gun Runner to make a mistake. Perhaps Gun Runner would swap leads at an inopportune time, as he did in many of his prior races, thus costing him some valuable momentum. Perhaps he wouldn't stay that demanding tenth furlong. 

Collected tried hard, but Gun Runner stayed straight, true and strong through the stretch, leaving no doubt he was the better horse as well as the best horse in the country. 

As for Arrogate, the debate regarding his epic fall from grace will be argued for years. Did he simply not like the Del Mar track? Did the long trip and taxing Dubai World Cup effort take all the starch out of him? Did he just get sour and not feel like racing anymore? Is there an undetected physical issue lurking beneath the surface? Was he overrated to begin with? 

I'm interested in your opinions.

Favorites performance poorly during the two-day Breeders' Cup event:

Happily – 2 to 1 – finished 14th
Mor Spirit – 2 to 1 – finished 8th
Mendelssohn – 9 to 2 – finished 1st
Elate – 2 to 1 – finished 4th
Moonshine Memories – 2 to 1 – finished 7th
Lady Aurelia – 9 to 10 – finished 10th
Unique Bella – 11 to 10 – finished 7th
Lady Eli – 3 to 2 – finished 7th
Drefong – 7 to 5 – finished 6th
World Approval – 5 to 2 – finished 1st
Bold d’Oro – 7 to 10 – finished 3rd
Highland Reel – 7 to 5 – finished 3rd
Arrogate – 2 to 1 – finished DH 5th
 
There were only two winning chalks and only four cracked the trifecta. Happily (traffic issues), Moonshine Memories (raced on the deeper inside footing), Lady Eli (banged around exiting the chute and cut up badly on the legs) and Bolt d'Oro (extremely wide trip) may have had excuses. As for the rest, the performances ranged from okay (Highland Reel an even third despite a good pocket trip) to flat (Elate, Drefong) to outright disappointing (Mor Spirit, Lady Aurelia, Unique Bella). 
 
World Approval came through for the favorite-players in the Mile although it appeared he was spinning his wheels at the top of the stretch. It didn't look like there was too much running behind him, however, and he stayed the course to win in solid fashion.
 
Mendelssohn benefited from a perfect trip to win the Juvenile Turf on the Friday card. Trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O'Brien, the $3,000,000 yearling has a strong dirt pedigree as a Scat Daddy half-brother to Grade 1 winners Beholder and Into Mischief. He will likely be pointed to the Kentucky Derby. 

The Juvenile Turf winner wasn't the only seven-figure yearling to make good. GOOD MAGIC, a $1,000,000 son of Curlin, won his maiden in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Trained by Chad Brown, Good Magic is a stoutly-bred son of Curlin out of multiple stakes-winner Glinda the Good (by Hard Spun). This is the family of graded winners Take the Cause (Churchill Distaff Turf Mile), Magical Maiden (Chula Vista Handicap, Hollywood Starlet Stakes, Las Virgenes Stakes, Linda Vista Breeders' Cup Handicap) and Magical Mile. 

Good Magic progressed beautifully leading up to his upset of heavily-favored Bolt d'Oro. He ran second in his debut sprinting at Saratoga, gave a very nice account when second in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont and handled the two turns without any issue at Del Mar. 

That's all for now. Please try out the commenting function and let me know of any issues. Thank you for you patience over the last few months.