11/06/2009 9:04PM

Day One Done


These will be the lasting images of Breeders' Cup Friday, 2009:

Upon encountering his winning trainer John Shirreffs on the track after the Ladies Classic, an ecstatic owner-breeder Marty Wygod whipped off Shirreffs' trademark dark blue cap with the Mill Ridge logo and replaced it with a Breeders' Cup lid bearing the name of Life Is Sweet. Shirreffs did not protest...

After defeating favored Ventura in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Informed Decision was led into the winner's circle by her owner, George Strawbridge. Check that--George Strawbridge was pulled into the winner's circle by a still vigorous Informed Decision. "You saw that, did you?" Strawbridge said a little bit later. "Apparently I'm not even qualified for a minimum wage position. But she is so tough, even after running a race like that." Strawbridge also confirmed that champion turf mare and defending champ Forever Together would now be retired after her third-place finish to Midday in the Filly & Mare Turf...

Henry Cecil has not made winning a Breeders' Cup race a priority. He'd started only six before this year, without success, although Indian Skimmer and Royal Anthem hit the board in the Turf. An hour after Midday's easier-than-it-looked, one-length victory in the Filly & Mare Turf, the victorious Cecil was found wandering in the paddock gardens crowd, having a smoke and enjoying a quiet moment of anonymity. "You can come close, but you don't really know if you can do it until you finally do it," Cecil said. At 66, Cecil was attaining a late-inning highlight after 23 European classic wins and nine British championships. He will have another swing on Saturday with Twice Over in the Breeders' Cup Classic, while his nephew, Ben Cecil, saddles Ferneley in the Breeders' Cup Mile...

Despite Cloudy Knight's dead-game effort in the Marathon, Rosemary Homeister came up Man of Iron's dirty nose short of joining Blythe Miller and Julie Krone as women to have ridden Breeders' Cup events. Homeister was asked if she might have moved a tad soon when her big chestnut swooped from sixth to the lead around the final turn, but Rosemary insisted the 9-year-old Cloudy Knight pulled his way to the front all by himself. Miller, winner of the 2000 BC Steeplechase and now retired, was watching the Marathon alongside Cloudy Knight's trainer, steeplechase ace Jonathan Sheppard, who was happy enough with the result. "I can see why," Miller said. "I don't think that horse will be going over jumps any time soon."...

Golfing great and racehorse breeder Gary Player, walking through the crowd on the way to the paddock for the Ladies Classic, stopped and signed a number of autographs and posed for photos along the way. One enthusiatic fan saw Player and shouted to his pal, "Hey, look! It's Yves St. Laurent. Hey, Yves!" Did I mention that Grey Goose Vodka and Dos Equis were Breeders' Cup sponsors...

Six different trainers and owners and five different jockeys won Breeders' Cup races on the Friday program (Julien Leparoux doubled). The winners were trained in Ireland, England, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and California. This is how a Breeders' Cup is supposed to work.

Tom More than 1 year ago
Joel Rosario deserved to be suspended for a least a year minumum and Vic Stauffer should have been fired for his role too. Racing is becoming a joke because of guys like these 2. Stiffing a horse and not riding and then the very next day trying to buy the horse from the owner?? are you serious Hovdey? Rosario and Stauffer are cheaters.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Jay, You're absolutely right, and that's what I will remember about this breeders cup, though there is still today. I'm afraid though once the dust settles, especially if the "dirt" contigent continues as yesterdays,what will be remembered is how all the dirt horses tanked, never really running well at all, even if they weren't deserved of their backing. It will once more and forever be about the track surface. If SYN's are to stay, whether for an appreaciable time or forever, trainers are going to have to adjust how they bring their horses into races like the KD and the BC, or just about any race worth running in. Shipping in and getting a few workouts in on the syn, doesn't seem to work, unless the horse has proven turf form. Then going from SYN to dirt seems to work only if the horse has proven previous dirt form. I'm still trying to ascertain if the CA 3 yr.olds this year were just over hyped or at a distinct disadvantage in the KD. I'm leaning towards over hyped, but it is something they need to consider. I'm enjoying the races, I hope others do as well. While I won't part with any money, they're great to watch. Mike A
unclejoe More than 1 year ago
great stuff jay, i hope sat. is just as good with great racing.the weather has been great, and the proride has been playing fair with only a small rail bias which you can get anywhere. i love the 2 day format and the many divisions to compete, why the haters? what do they want? more 5k claimers!
Jeff Moss More than 1 year ago
I owe Jay an apologize. She did toy with the boys. Wow. Of course, it is easier to eat humble pie when that dessert is laced in chocolate syrup. I was so against Zenyatta in the Classic that I was live to EIGHT horses against her in the last leg of the Pick 4. One of them being Quality Road. :-) $1,504 for throwing out a 14-for-14 horse. Unreal. (She still isn't the HOY though.)
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Plastic main track and a turf course with almost no grass on it. Nice host site Jay. George in Tampa See you to play in the dirt at Churchill 2010!
Mike V. More than 1 year ago
Great Day of racing...Surface played well, hope people give the surface a chance, it is not the problem with the sport in CA. I would rather run, watch, bet over this than a sloppy sealed day any day of the week. Kudos Santa Anita and the Breeders Cup!!