Updated on 11/05/2011 5:11PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon: Bombs away on Afleet Again at 41-1

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Barbara D. Livingston
Afleet Again (8) and Cornelio Velasquez capture the Breeders' Cup Marathon at 41-1 odds.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Afleet Again, the longest shot in the field of 11, made an outside run the final time around the far turn and sustained it through the stretch to post a 41-1 stunner in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The Marathon was marred by an injury to 3-1 favorite A. U. Miner, who raced far back early and went wrong the final time around the far turn. A. U. Miner was diagnosed with fractured sesamoids in his right foreleg.

Meeznah also failed to finish. She was eased due to fatigue, although her overall condition was listed by officials as good.

Afleet Again was making his third start after being purchased privately by Kasey K Racing Stable and is trained by Robert Reid Jr. He was ridden Saturday by Cornelio Velasquez and scored by 2 1/4 lengths.

Birdrun, who participated in an early pace that was surprisingly quick for the distance (23.47 seconds, 48.05, 1:12.65) was a game second, finishing a head before the rallying Giant Oak. Pleasant Prince, who carved out most of the early pace, was 3 1/4 lengths farther back in fourth. Cease, the second choice in the wagering and who moved to the lead turning for home as though a winner, came up empty late and wound up fifth.

Afleet Again, a 4-year-old colt by Afleet Alex from the Wild Again mare Lucky Again, carried 126 pounds and completed the distance in 3:00.39 over a track that was just upgraded to fast. The Marathon was his first victory in 13 starts dating back to his win in the Withers in April 2010. However, Afleet Again’s connections did note that he finished third in the 12-furlong Greenwood Cup this year, beaten only a neck for second by Birdrun.

“This is a horse we took a shot on because we knew he would like the mile and three-quarters,” owner Bob Krangel said. “It felt like the stretch run lasted an hour and a half.”

Reid echoed Krangel’s belief that Afleet Again would like the 14 furlongs, adding “we actually had ideas of running in this race last fall.”

Afleet Again paid $85.20 to win and triggered some hefty exotic payoffs. The exacta rounded out by the 5-1 Birdrun returned $668.40. The trifecta with the 8-1 Giant Oak underneath paid $4,147.40, and the superfecta, completed by the 12-1 Pleasant Prince returned $39,533.20.

A. U. Miner, who broke down on the far turn in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, will be transported to Rood and Riddle Hospital in Lexington, Ky., Dr. Wayne McIlwraith said. McIlwraith is the on-call veterinarian here for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

“He’ll be under observation a couple of days and have surgery either Monday or Tuesday,” McIlwraith said. “You do the surgery to save life, although there could be complications.”

McIlwraith added that Dr. Larry Bramlage will perform the surgery on A. U. Miner.