11/02/2012 4:06PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon: South American-trained Calidoscopio becomes oldest BC winner

Tom Keyser
Nine-year-old Calidoscopio from Argentina wins the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Calidoscopio became the oldest winner in the history of the Breeders’ Cup while briefly turning Santa Anita racetrack into a soccer pitch in South America after cruising to an easy 4 1/2-length victory over fellow longshot Grassy in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

The 9-year-old Calidoscopio rallied from last, more than 20 lengths off the lead, to register the 10th and most important victory of his long career. Calidoscopio’s triumph also set off an impromptu celebration with dozens of his excited owners and supporters singing and chanting for their native Argentina in the winner’s circle.

Caldioscopio, who received a free trip to the Breeders’ Cup by virtue of his victory in the “Win and You’re In” General Belgrano Stakes in Argentina in his previous start on June 23, gave jockey Aaron Gryder his first Breeders’ Cup win. 

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Friday results and video replays]

Calidoscopio quickly lost contact with the field during the opening half-mile of the 1 3/4-mile Marathon. He commenced his bid after a mile, steadily worked his way through the field on the final turn, angled wide to continue rallying into the stretch then readily ran down the leg-weary Atigun inside the eighth pole to win going away. Grassy rallied mildly to finish second, a half-length before Atigun, who went postward a tepid 3-1 favorite in a field reduced to 13 starters due to the scratch of Worth Repeating earlier in the day.                

Five of the 13 horses who began the Marathon, including European invaders Fame And Glory and Sense of Purpose, were eased to the finish line.

Calidoscopio is trained by Guillermo Frankel for Stud Dona Pancha. He completed the distance in 2:57.25 over a fast track and paid $36.40.

“They told me to pretty much detach myself from the rest of the field, sit back there and let him settle, that he likes to be alone, it’s a mile and three-quarters and he has a lot of time to make things up,” said  Gryder who uses a translator to communicate with Frankel and the other connections of Calidoscopio. “After the first mile he really started getting stronger as we went along. By the time we got to the quarter pole, he was advancing so quickly, I knew if he gave that turn of foot I’d seen in tapes of his previous races that we’d be able to run them down.”

Frankel, a former veterinarian turned horse trainer in Argentina, said he’d wanted to bring Calidoscopio to the U.S. for the Marathon a year earlier, but did not after his horse finished second in the General Bergano.  He added, through a translator, that after winning Argentina’s lone Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race this spring, the decision to point for the Marathon became an easy one.