11/07/2009 1:00AM

Two sides of a close finish


The excruciatingly close finish in the opening race of the 2009 Breeders' Cup series, the on Friday, elicited a number of contrasting emotions from the folks involved when Man of Iron nosed out Cloudy's Knight after 14 furlongs of a thriller.

For the Coolmore powerhouse and trainer Aidan O'Brien, there was relief. The victory was the first after 28 straight Breeders' Cup defeats for O'Brien since he sent out High Chapparal to a dead-heat for victory with Johar six years ago in the BC Turf at Santa Anita.

O'Brien, the youthful, soft-spoken Irish icon, spoke briefly at the post-race press conference, saying Man of Iron had "been coming forward so much every week and has been amazing." Among the highly regarded O'Brien horses that had run and lost in Breeders' Cups from 2004-2008 were Powerscourt (2004), George Washington ('06-'07), Dylan Thomas ('07), and Henrythenavigator ('08).

On the other side of the photo, the overriding emotion for jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. was one of frustration, tinged with elation. Homeister was visibly proud of how Cloudy's Knight had run, swooping to the lead on the far turn without any urging, but was saddened that "maybe he didn't see the horse to his inside in time" and that "galloping out, we were still in front. It was just a bob of the head."

Homeister joined Julie Krone as just the second female jockey to ride in both the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup but obviously was hoping to join Krone as a BC winner, too. Krone won once, with Halfbridled in the 2003 BC Juvenile Fillies, from 17 BC mounts.

Mastery, third in the Marathon as the 7-5 favorite for Godolphin Racing, might have "danced one too many dances this year," jockey Frankie Dettori said.