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New York Horses, Santa Anita Breeders' Cups
As we all know, this year’s Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita. We should also know that the last two Breeders’ Cups at Santa Anita, in 2008 and 2009, were unmitigated disasters for New York horses.
How one defines a “New York horse,” or for that matter a horse from any circuit in a time when it’s commonplace for big trainers to have multiple divisions in a number of states, can vary. But for purposes of this discussion, I classified New York horses as ones from primarily New York-based stables regardless of where those horses might have had their final preps, or horses who had their final preps at a New York track.
By my count, there were 42 such horses in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup. Only one of them won, that being Maram in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
I counted 41 such horses in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup. Again, only one of them won. That was Tapitsfly, who also landed the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
To recap, because it deserves emphasis, in the last two Breeders’ Cups at Santa Anita, New York horses went 2 for 83, and the race these winners won is near the bottom of the Breeders’ Cup totem pole, a notch, maybe two, above the Marathon.
These numbers are so staggering that even the most provincial California racing fan would have to agree that there was something more at work here than just the West being best.
Some might suggest that shipping could be a factor and note that it is more difficult shipping from cooler New York weather into a warmer fall climate than vice versa. Although that makes some sense, I’m not buying. European horses faced a similar climatic change in the 2008 and 2009 Cups, but had to travel more than twice as many miles as New York horses. Yet despite that, Euro shippers won five of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races in 2008 (all on Saturday), and six of the 14 Cup races in 2009.
Certainly, a major factor could have been the synthetic main track that was in place at Santa Anita for the 2008 and 2008 Cups. In looking back, I can think of only a few New York horses that even ran just reasonably well on that synthetic surface – Sky Diva, Ready’s Echo, Midshipman, and Gio Ponti, who, notably, was a turf horse. Otherwise, every New York horse seemed to flounder on that synthetic track. But while it should be noted that New York horses, who went 0 for 16 in main track races in the 2008 and 2009 Breeders’ Cups, did better on grass, they did only go 2 for 12.
Of course, the main track will no longer be an excuse as Santa Anita went back to dirt almost two years ago. Whether this will enable New York horses to be more competitive in this Breeders’ Cup remains to be seen. But the viability of New York horses in this Breeders’ Cup is something to think about as we assess the major final Cup preps, which are almost at hand.
I can only hope that Trainers shipping to Santa Anita understand those rock-hard surfaces. 'If he don't like to hear his feet rattle, he ain't gonna run on it.' Prayers for safe trips for all...
the breeders cup should be in NEW YORK!!! The bulls**t in politics that go on between the breeders cup board and NYRA needs to stop immediately!!! all you idiots are doing is hurting the industry more then helping ...how about putting your personal feelings aside for once and play this one for the bettors and horses instead of for your own pride.
New York horse courageous cat was also a good 2nd to goldikova
Maybe I am being old and cynical but this is the worst quality I have seen in horse racing in 48 years and that is saying something after Drosselmeyer and Court Vision won last year. Any third rate Euro will come take our cookies on turf, and probably on dirt if they try. I'll Have Another went to Japan so fast it makes your head spin, Bodemeister got a hangnail and was retired, Paynter almost died and Alpha, Gemologist, etc are B grade at best. In the Turf Sprint you can be sure that a California horse (Mizdirection, Lakerville) will win because you just aren't going to get a horse or rider who has never ridden that course up for a win, and after Amazombie cashes his Social Security check he will take down the Sprint. Acclamation will be hard pressed to get ready in time, and a Marathon in the U.S. is 7 furlongs. I think it is time to change the name to The Dixie Cup...
Seems to me that if a trainer in New York KNEW he/she was going to run their NEW YORK-based horse in the Breeders' Cup and it was being contested on synthetic surfaces that they PREPARE their horse ON the surface to find out if it can be competitive ON the surface before entering, shipping, running, and then making excuses. If not deemed to handle it well enough to be competitive, then pass. Train the horse for the situation at hand. If the horse is not good enough for the "situation at hand", find another situation to prepare the horse for. The Breeders' Cup is the big time ... approach it appropriately, Every NFL team has access to grass and sythethic surfaces to best prepare for their next game (i.e., "the situation at hand"). They pump in crowd noise to prepare for the "situation at hand". I don't like synthetic surfaces, but it is what it is. Adapt or limit your opportunities. This goes for the players too.
Mike maybe the NY horses were not good enough back then this year will tell the tale on the dirt I think. MH01
This year the horse's are all pretty common.They take turn's beating each other.The guess is who is feeling good that day.
Lets see, this article could have been two words, "synthetic surface" Every synthetic race winner in those two years was either a grass horse or a horse that had been running on the surface, Zenyatta, Life is Sweet, Ravens Pass. I don't think there was 1 winner, from any part of the country where the final prep came on dirt and won, or even ran well in those 2 years.
Hi Mike, I well remember those years of 08 & 09 when SA had the BC and ran on synthetics I also remember sitting around and waiting for the one sure thing - Zenyatta. As a result I made a lot of "mental bets". You know. Mental bets are where you keep your money in your wallet and only lose your mind. Thanks, as always, and how about a BC back at Belmont.
This year it won't matter.All the U.S. horses are bad.And we won't get any Euro first stringers.
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