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Updated on 09/16/2011 9:34AM
Pick six payoff: $428,292 for $2
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Just six winning tickets were sold on the Breeders' Cup pick six, which returned $428,392 for the $2 minimum. There were 186 tickets sold with five of six winners, with each returning $4,606.20. The winning numbers were 5-10-11-6-5-2, and the pool was $4,569,515.
Ontrack attendance was 46,118, easily the largest at Arlington since the track was rebuilt in 1989, and second-largest in track history, surpassed only by the 50,638 who attended on July 4, 1941, when a war bond drive was promoted. As expected, the attendance was well short of the Breeders' Cup record of 76,043, set two years ago at Churchill Downs.
As usual, many of the gimmick payoffs on the Breeders' Cup were large, especially those involving the longest shot to win, Volponi (43-1) in the Classic. He led a $2 trifecta that paid $8,466.20, a $1 superfecta that paid $28,603.90, and ended a $1 pick four that paid $16,349.30.
Other big payoffs were the $2 pick three that paid $4,651.20 by combining Domedriver, Orientate, and Starine, and the Juvenile superfecta that paid $2,886.40 for a $1 wager.
This also was the first Breeders' Cup with head-to-head wagers. The results of those were Farda Amiga ($4.40) over Take Charge Lady, Santa Catarina ($2.20) over Westerly Breeze, Good Journey ($3.20) over Beat Hollow, Islington ($4) over Golden Apples, High Chaparral ($2.20) over Denon, and Hawk Wing ($3.20) over War Emblem. All-sources handle on the seven head-to-head wagers averaged roughly $105,000.
Safely Kept: Gold Mover romps
Gold Mover ended a two-race losing streak with an emphatic victory in the $100,000 Safely Kept Handicap.
Gold Mover ($3.60) was the beneficiary of a perfect trip under jockey Jerry Bailey. Stalking pacesetters Harmony Lodge and Victory at Sea through quick fractions of 21.70 and 43.91 seconds, Gold Mover took the lead with a three-wide move on the turn and won by 7 3/4 lengths over Oglala Sue. The 4-year-old Gold Mover finished seven furlongs in 1:22.70.
Oglala Sue rallied from last to be second, and was followed by Victory at Sea, Harmony Lodge, and Copper Belle.
Gold Mover has won 11 of 25 starts and $1,060,530 for owner-breeder Edward Evans and trainer Mark Hennig. She won the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder in July, but was fourth in the Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 2 and second in the Floral Park Handicap at Belmont Park on Sept. 14.
Hennig said that Gold Mover thrived on Arlington's muddy track.
"I don't think there was a lot of slipping and sliding like there was at Saratoga," he said, referring to the Honorable Miss Handicap. "She was able to get a hold of it.
"Last time she couldn't get to Carson Hollow in a race where no one contended for the pace. If Harmony Lodge had been in front alone today, she might not have been able to reel her in."
Hennig said Gold Mover will remain in training next year.
Black Tie Affair: Hero's Tribute rolls
Hero's Tribute and Sky Mesa shipped to Arlington together last week to train for Breeders' Cup Day, but only Hero's Tribute made it to Saturday's races. A day after Sky Mesa went down with an injured ankle that forced him out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Hero's Tribute posted an easy win in the $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap on the Breeders' Cup undercard.
It was a consolation prize for owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward, but Hero's Tribute put together the most complete race of his 4-year-old season.
The race didn't play out as it appeared on paper, since one of the main pace players, Generous Rosi, never got involved. Without him near the lead, Balto Star took a clear advantage on the first turn while setting a moderate pace, but he picked it up on the backstretch, running a half-mile in 46.88 seconds.
Hero's Tribute and jockey Edgar Prado waited patiently right behind Balto Star, and when Prado asked his horse for run coming off the far turn he quickly closed the gap on Balto Star. Hero's Tribute swept past, seemed to lose his focus a bit, but went on to a two-length win.
Balto Star held on well to be second, nearly eight lengths in front of Silver Zipper.
Hero's Tribute paid $6.20 to win and was timed in 1:49.01.
Fast track and times
Somehow, after several days of persistent light rain that ended late Friday night, Arlington's main track was listed as fast for Saturday's first Breeders' Cup race, the Distaff. While there was enough moisture in the surface to call into question the "fast" designation, the racing surface clearly was producing quick times from the start of the Breeders' Cup program.
Gold Mover ran seven furlongs in just over 1:22 in the day's first race, one of the quickest times this meet. A race later, Hero's Tribute was timed in 1:49.01 for one and one-eighth miles, the second-fastest time of the meet, before Azeri ran the fastest 1 1/8 miles of the meet - 1:48.64 - winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
The track was called "muddy" for morning training, which ran between 7 and 9 a.m., and began the day with the same classification. It was upgraded to good for the second race and fast for the third.
Javier Barajas, the track superintendent, said he had changed nothing about the surface on Breeders' Cup Day.
"Of course it's faster today, because theses horses are so much faster," he said.
"I thought about rolling it down last night so we'd have a fast track, but I couldn't do it," said Barajas. "What we've done has worked all year, and I wasn't going to change."
Consideration had been giving to canceling training Saturday because of wet conditions, but Barajas deemed it unnecessary. He had the main track sealed Friday night, opened it up for training, then sealed and floated it to draw water up to the surface. At 10 a.m., Barajas's crew began making passes over the surface with harrows, creating the cushion over which the horses would race later in the day.
"The bottom isn't hard at all," said Barajas. "I think the horses were getting a good hold of it."
- additional reporting by Steve Andersen and Marcus Hersh
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