11/04/2013 5:15PM

Breeders' Cup: Euros win five races, sweep three exactas

Susie Raisher
European horses won the Marathon, Juvenile Turf, Filly and Mare Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the Turf.

California, it was said, never was the ideal spot for Europeans to ship for the Breeders’ Cup. The trip was too far, the weather too hot, the courses not suited to the horses. When Santa Anita switched from a synthetic surface – which the Euros loved in 2008 and 2009 – back to an American-style dirt track, it was said that the Euros would think twice about shipping, if they shipped at all. And when the Breeders’ Cup’s plan to ban Lasix from all its races slipped away earlier this year, it was said the decision would have a negative impact on overseas participation.

Well, after two days and 14 Breeders’ Cup races in 2013, it says here the Euros aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Carve away Santa Anita’s two synthetic-surface years and European horses had their best Breeders’ Cup showing last weekend. European-based horses won five of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races, adding three seconds and a third. Outstrip and Giovanni Boldini ran one-two in the Juvenile Turf; Dank and Romantica ran one-two in the Filly and Mare Turf; and Magician and The Fugue ran one-two in the Turf. The only turf race in which a European horse was entered and did not win was the Mile, where Olympic Glory never got out of a gallop and checked in ninth.

It was a big bounce-back showing from overseas runners after two decent and one somewhat disappointing Breeders’ Cups. Last year, at another Santa Anita dirt-and-turf Breeders’ Cup, Euros went only 2-0-2, while at Churchill in 2011 they were 2-3-3 and just 2-1-1 there in 2010. The recent record suggests that contrary to common opinion, California is a better destination for European runners than Kentucky, where the fall climate more closely approximates conditions back home. Friday and Saturday this year, temperatures soared into the 80s and it was downright hot in the full sunshine, while the turf course was super-firm and lightning fast. Still the Euros roared. Go figure.

Since the Breeders’ Cup expanded to 14 races in 2008 (there were 15 in 2011 and 2012 during the Juvenile Sprint’s short existence), it has been overseas horses reaping the benefits. The 2007 Cup was at soggy Monmouth Park, whose yielding turf figured to favor the Euros but didn’t, with Euros failing to win any of the 11 races and George Washington suffering a fatal breakdown in the Classic. In the 86 Breeders’ Cup races since then, Europeans have put together 22-11-10 record, which is all the more remarkable considering how many of those races were run on dirt, over which North American horses have a decided edge, and in which few Europeans even participated.

The creation of 2-year-old turf races has worked especially well for European runners, and their domination of the Juvenile Turf has been particularly stark. Besides the one-two finish this year, European horses won four of the last six editions of that race.

This year’s performance by Aidan O’Brien’s stable also should ensure robust future participation from his powerhouse Irish operation. O’Brien won the Turf with Magician, who ran the best race of his life to nail The Fugue in the final strides, and might have won the Juvenile Turf had Giovanni Boldini not moved so early into a sizzling pace. And O’Brien figures to be hungrier than ever for an elusive victory in the Classic, which, for the second time, he came close to winning.

Giants Causeway finished second to Tiznow in the 2000 Classic, and Declaration of War probably ran equally well in the $5 million race this year. Declaration of War showed plenty of speed in his dirt debut to take up a perfect pace-tracking spot, and he finished third, beaten a nose and a head while more than three lengths clear of 2012 Classic winner Fort Larned in what seemed like one of the deeper Classics of recent history.

Ironically, the European contingent for the 2013 Cup was slow to take firm shape this year, and for a time looked like it might be coming up soft. Instead, the Euros rocked the house – and we should expect to see even more of them next autumn.

John More than 1 year ago
Sorry, but lasix doesnt stunt growth, it has nothing to do with growth, thats hormones that trigger muscle and tissue growth. Lasix is a diuretic, its like a lubricant on the walls of the blood vessels that keep the vessels from tightening up during stress, or a race . By relaxing the walls and making the blood, slippy, horse get fewer nose bleeds, thus into the lungs, causing shortness of breath, and a slower horse. 30 years in Cardiology taught me well.........................Lasix after surgery is like thinning the blood to prevent clots in humans, but its not good to take for too long. Just bring the Lasix back, its terrible trying to handicapp who's using, who wasnt or is !
jttf More than 1 year ago
Please explain to me why our two year old champions dont excel during their 3 and 4 year old seasons ? European champions, zarkava, sea of stars and frankel in recent years have excelled. Breeders cup multiple winners are horses who do not use lasix at two years of age. Our horse of the year award winners are horses that don't use lasix at two. What happened to favorite trick after he won the horse of the year award as a two year old? He sure didn't perform like two year old champ secretariat at the age 3. The statistics are overwhelming.
jttf More than 1 year ago
American horsemen don't have a clue that lasix stunts the growth for a horse to reach it's full potential. Just look at the kidney sweat during the post parade. The European horses did not have kidney sweat issues. Their horses are not dehydrated from using lasix on a regular basis. American horsemen have proven they don't have the intelligence to learn.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Black, Your patriotic fervor is statistically flawed! The American runners have out-numbered the European runners by a margin of at last 5 to 1, and probably more, over the 30 year history of the event. Therefore, it is statistically logical that they would have won the majority of the BC races run.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black, But how many runners did the USA have in order to win 31 races, and how many did the "other" countries have to win 30? Ditto for the 20 and the 14? Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Black More than 1 year ago
Of the 95 BC grass race winners. 51 were USA based . 44 were based somewhere in the rest of the world . Here is the breakdown. BC turf - 18 other to 13 USA . BC mile - 18 USA to 12 other. Those are the two originals and it looks pretty even to me. 31 USA to 30 other. BC F&M turf - 9 USA to 6 other. Turf Sprint - 6 USA to 0 other. Juv. turf - 6 other to 1 USA . Juv. filly turf - 4 USA to 2 other . 20 USA to 14 other. Those are the facts . They speak for themselves. There is no Euro dominance . If you want to check country of origin be my guest . Europhiles won't like the numbers any better because Kentucky breeds the best racehorses on the planet .
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
Frequently the best USA turf horses started their careers in Europe. They are mediocre in Europe then come here and dominate. Most are probably Euro bred. If Wise Dan would run in the Queen Anne at Ascot against the cream of the crop turf milers he would be 20-1 and get smoked. But LoPresti is a smart man and he wouldn't even try it.Americans want to believe they are best at everything and cannot admit their horses are second rate. Whether it's the breeding or training methods Euro horses have the explosive stretch kick Americans don't have.Kentucky can breed good sprinters but Kentucky is miles behind Europe in breeding stamina
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You are correct sir.
Jean Mikle More than 1 year ago
I think the American dependence on Lasix and emphasis on early speed and no stamina has taken a toll on the breed over here. In the 1970s and into the 1980s, American-breds dominated in Europe but that is no longer the case. I believe horses bred in Ireland and the UK are now the best in the world.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Another statement that is pure speculation (regarding Wise Dan at Queen Anne). The reason LoPresti doesn't send Wise Dan to Europe has absolutely nothing to do with his fear of losing. It has to do with his owner, Morton Fink, who is an elderly man and prefers to run dan in the USA. As for your absurd comment that Americans want to believe the best at everything, sure some do, but many don't. Such weak generalizations only serve to hinder your argument. Overall, European horses have proven superior, but your comments on Wise Dan are way off base in misinformed.
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
Do you know LoPresti? You are speculating he does not fear losing. He is very careful in the managing of his horses . Fink wants to race Dan in the USA because he's old. That's weak.At least Barry Irwin was a true sportsman and ran at Ascot. Too bad you aren't the owner since you think he is the worlds best miler. He won 2 Breeders Cups .Great accomplishment. He beat a mediocre field Saturday. Clearly that has gotten you all giddy.The Breeders Cup means everything to American trainers . Many top Euro trainers could not care less about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not the least bit giddy. I'm explaining to you why the horse hasn't shipped to England. It has absolutely nothing to do with his "fear" of European horses. As it so happens, he is the word's best miler. You came on here with an absurd argument that Olympic Glory would have "blown past him" (instead of losing by how many lengths?) if he wasn't coming in on short rest. As I readily conceded, Europe as a whole blew the US's doors off, but you are seeking to downplay Wise Dan's accomplishments and you're off base. Furthermore the horse is about to be 7 years old, so the time to ship to England has probably come and gone though, I'm confident he would acquit himself well. Lastly, what you say about Euro trainers' feeling about the Breeder's Cup surely works the other way when Americans think about a trip to Ascot. Don't be a hypocrite bro.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Wow, so it's Americans 51 to Euro's 44? I knew the Euro's dominated us but didn't realize it was by such a huge margin. We run all of our very best, and gang up on the Euro's in sheer number of entries. They , many times send their second and third tier horses and not the very best, as their championships are run too close to the BC, sometimes only two weeks prior. They have to fly across an ocean, go in quarantine, have only a few days to acclimate to warm and dry weather, run tight left handers on a tiny course. Bottom line. They whip our butts on turf period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Declaration of War looked to be on the wrong lead throughout the stretch, and showed the high knee action of a turf horse. So he was really overcoming a lot to finish that well. Before Saturday's events HRTV had a clip of Aidan O'Brien, full of Irish melancholy, saying these days he just tells himself, "Don't even dream about winning it (the Classic)." C'mon Aidan, buck up. Perhaps a little more training over the actual dirt strip would help vs. flying in as late as possible!
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
I believe Mr O'Brien was pulling their leg in the interview. He plays it close to the vest in interviews. Please note he has won over two hundred grade ones and he is only in his early forties. I agree that his horse did not switch leads in the stretch if he had he would have won by at least a length.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marcus Hersh wrote: "The only turf race in which a European horse was entered and did not win was the Mile, where Olympic Glory never got out of a gallop and checked in ninth." False statement. Declaration of War, a Kentucky bred, but presumably a "European horse" based on his career, trainer, and ship over here, was entered in the classic and Mucho Macho Man, an American horse, won.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
The problem with your argument, if you would review Mr. Hersh's statement, is that he said "turf race." Last time I checked, the Classic was run on dirt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look it's all very simple . In grass races other than the Juvies it's a pretty even match. Good US based babies don't run on grass and the grass juvies exist to throw the euros a bone. That being said the US Juvy grass fillies have done pretty good and the colts have won 2 of 6 . The grass sprint has been total domination by US based horses. So what I'm saying is that even though the Euros have two races created strictly and solely for their benefit (the juvy grass) it's been close to a 50/50 split if not exactly 50/50 . As for California, foreign horses have always came to the Golden State and flourished. Even before the BC so that's no big revelation. I'm going to put up all the numbers and we'll just see if euros dominate on grass. I can tell you right now that they don't.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Mostly training methods and Class associated with their Turf/Grass program. (IMO) In U.S most stables are concentrated on KENTUCKY DERBY and Dirt careers with Well bred Stock.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Thank You, Matt like I said America treats grass like it is Triple A.
nick More than 1 year ago
And yet, their one entry in the Classic apparently wins if he changes leads correctly. Apparently it is just better stock and/or training methods.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
what is it that makes these such good turf horses. a lot of them are bred the same as are horses or even bred over here. is it just the fact thats all they run on or diff training methods
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Better training methods and more fit, less drugs, and they are better bred for the purpose for the most part. US just started not all that long ago looking at breeding more to turf.
gold_e More than 1 year ago
a lot of it has to do with breeding. Outstrip is by a Danehill-line sire, Chriselliam is by Iffraaj out of a Danehill-line mare, Dank is by a Danehill-line sire, Magician is by Galileo out of stakes-winning sprinter by a Danehill-line sire. Even Giovanni Boldini and Declaration of War, who are the most American bred, are by War Front, a son of Danzig, just like Danehill. Noticing a trend here?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Danehill is of North American stock on both sides.