$6 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
Shaman Ghost Has Been Scratched – Please note that Jerkins assistant is Kent Sweezey.
Assistant trainer to Jimmy Jerkens, Kent Sweezey, “He spiked a little temperature last night and left some of his feed. So, we scratched him.”
$2 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
Assistant trainer to Jimmy Jerkens, Kent Sweeney, “He spiked a little temperature last night and left some of his feed. So, we scratched him.”
$2 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
Beholder (1st, Longines Distaff) – Spendthrift Farm’s brilliant champion 6yo mare Beholder, who capped off a remarkable racing career with one last display of greatness by defeating previously undefeated champion Songbird in a heated battle of true champions, came out of her second Distaff score in good order; according to trainer Richard Mandella.
“She came out of the race great and looked great this morning,” said Mandella, who annexed his ninth Breeders’ Cup victory and second in the Distaff on the eve of his 66th birthday.
While heading to the track to observe his first set of horses Saturday morning, the Hall of Fame trainer reflected on Friday’s epic edition of the Distaff and his time with the three-time Breeders’ Cup heroine.
“As you can imagine we couldn’t be any more excited by a race like that and a mare like her,” Mandella said. “I do realize I’m fortunate to have a very special situation that very few people have ever experienced, to have a mare this good this long. It’s just been a great ride.
“She’ll be going home to the farm to be bred after this. I don’t know to who or anything like that.”
When asked if Beholder may be the best filly the prominent conditioner has trained and if this moment tops the rest, Mandella said, “I think she might be one of the best anybody ever trained. She’s given us a lot of great moments. Right now, in the heat of the battle it is the best moment but, overall there are so many.”
After finalizing her morning gallops, Beholder’s regular exercise rider Janeen Painter took time to share her reaction.
“That was really special,” Painter said. “You know it’s been an emotional week. I am getting emotional now talking about it. Sad because I knew this was the last race. But, I knew she had one big one left in her and she didn’t disappoint. Congratulations to Songbird too. That filly had never been headed before in her life and she fought against Beholder all the way down the lane to just barely lose. It was a great race.”
Painter realizes it will be tough to say goodbye to the reigning Distaff champion.
“It will be very strange walking in the barn and not seeing her in that first stall and having her to nick at me for treats. She’s been a big part of my daily routine for a long time,” Painter said.
Songbird (2nd, Longines Distaff) – Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer reported that Songbird, who suffered her first career defeat in an epic battle with Beholder in Friday’s Distaff, emerged from the race fine and will now get some time off before returning to the races in 2017.
Offering some context to the outcome, he said, “We certainly didn’t expect I’m a Chatterbox to move at us so early in the race. If she hadn’t, we would have won. You can’t take a horse out of its element and expect that result. I don’t know if Beholder ever got to the front before the wire; all I know is the result.”
Forever Unbridled (3rd, Longines Distaff) – Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled came out of her game third-place finish in the Distaff well, according to trainer Dallas Stewart. Trailing early under Joel Rosario, the Apple Blossom Handicap and Beldame Stakes winner closed stoutly to come up 1 1/4 lengths short at the wire behind champions Beholder and Songbird. She finished clear of three Grade 1 winners of her generation, including champion Stellar Wind and Eclipse Award finalist I’m a Chatterbox.
Forever Unbridled departed Santa Anita for her Churchill Downs base early Saturday morning along with assistant trainer Bentley Combs. A decision on whether she will race as a 5yo in 2017 has yet to be determined.
Stellar Wind (4th, Longines Distaff) – The fourth-place finisher in Friday’s dynamite Distaff was fine on the morning after the race, trainer John Sadler said.
A decision will be made in a day or two regarding whether the 4yo daughter of Curlin, owned by the Hronis Racing LLC stable of brothers Pete and Kosta Hronis, will be retired or returned to racing in 2017.
Regarding the Distaff, in which Stellar Wind hopped when the gates opened, never was closer than fourth and finished 3 3/4 lengths behind the nose victory of Beholder over Songbird, Sadler said, “I felt like I was run over by a truck. The race was over for us right at the start.”
$1 MILLION BREEDERS’ DIRT MILE
Tamarkuz (1st, Las Vegas Dirt Mile) – Shadwell’s 6yo horse came out of his big performance in in the Dirt Mile in good shape, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Saturday morning. The victory was his first since 2014 in a career interrupted by injury and secured that elusive U.S. graded stakes triumph.
“He’s trained very well, done great and we’re so happy he finally got a big win because he has been second a couple of times this year,” McLaughlin said. “It was a big effort and it kind of was a blessing probably that he didn’t break real sharp because they were going so fast. Mike rode a great race. We’re very happy with his win.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do from here – either he’ll go and stand at stud or race again. We’re not sure. Rick Nichols (of Shadwell) will let me know.”
Runhappy (8th, Las Vegas Dirt Mile) – James McIngvale’s Runhappy, who set the pace in Friday’s race before fading to eighth, came out of the race in good order according to trainer Laura Wohlers.
“He got pretty tired yesterday,” Wohlers said of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion’s second start of 2016. “He will go back to Kentucky in the morning. We will give it a couple of days back there and get on a conference call and talk about where we go from here.”
$1 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF
Oscar Performance (1st, Juvenile Turf) – Amerman Racing’s homebred Oscar Performance delivered one of the more stately victories on Breeders’ Cup Friday, sprinting clear of his rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at the top of the stretch after contesting a hot pace and then holding on impressively by 1 1/4 lengths at the wire. The son of Kitten’s Joy exited his effort in good order, according to conditioner Brian Lynch.
“He seems like he came out of the race fine,” Lynch said. “He ate up all his grain and has good energy today. He’ll go back to New York temporarily before heading down to Palm Meadows (Fla.).”
Lynch, a former assistant to Bobby Frankel, won his first Breeders’ Cup event with only his second competitor. Previously, his Grand Arch finished third and 11th in the last two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
“I guess until you get by yourself somewhere is when it soaks in,” he said. “Right now I’m just enjoying it.”