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Breeders' Cup: Euros win five races, sweep three exactas
By Marcus Hersh
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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
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 .
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!
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.
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.
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.
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