Ghostzapper became the first Classic winner to be sired by a Classic winner.
As the circus that is the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships packs up and leaves Lone Star Park, there is still some unfinished business to attend to. Records have to be tallied, awards handed out, and campaigns begun for year end honors.
John Velazquez being introduced during the opening ceremonies.
Also having a big day Saturday was Jerry Bailey. Although he did not add to his record 14 Breeders' Cup winners, Bailey had three seconds and two thirds from six mounts for earnings of $1,436,800. That total increased his career Breeders' Cup earnings to $19,069,340, moving him to second all-time ahead of Chris McCarron ($17,669,600). Pat Day, the all-time leading Breeders' Cup rider in terms of earnings, added $120,000 to his ledger when Azeri finished fifth in the Classic. His career total in Breeders' Cup races is $23,033,360. In adding to her bankroll, Azeri sent her earnings past the $4 million mark to $4,079,820.
Todd Pletcher after winning the Sprint with Speightstown.
D. Wayne Lukas, who won three races in 1988 at Churchill Downs and two races on five other occasions, added to his record earnings total as his three runners bankrolled $425,500 on Saturday. Lukas' career Breeders' Cup earnings are $19,033,900. Bobby Frankel, who saddled Classic winner Ghostzapper, moved past fellow Hall of Famer Bill Mott into second behind Lukas on the all-time earnings list. His Saturday runners bankrolled $2,111,800 to boost Frankel's overall ledger to $9,679,820.
Ghostzapper became the first Classic winner to be sired by a Classic winner. Awesome Again won the 1998 renewal at Churchill Downs, and, like his son, used the Classic to cap off an undefeated season. Ghostzapper ran the fastest Classic ever, a 1:59.02 clocking that eclipsed the 1:59.16 mark established by Skip Away in 1997 at Hollywood Park. The clocking also broke the Lone Star Park mark by more than five seconds. Trainer Bobby Frankel was definitely spouting superlatives about his Classic winner. "This horse, you can run him 6 furlongs or you can run him as far as you want. He'll go head-and-head or he'll come from 20 lengths out of it. And he doesn't carry his racetrack around with him. He's a dream horse and he might well be a super horse." Frankel said that voting for Ghostzapper for Horse of the Year is a "no brainer".
Jeremy Noseda after winning the Juvenile with Wilko.
Four major wagering records were set, including total handle, Breeders' Cup-only handle, simulcast handle and international handle. Total all-sources handle for the 12-race card was $120,863,117. The previous mark of $120,631,437 was set last year at Santa Anita Park. At Lone Star Park, the crowd of 53,717 wagered $13,326,726 on the full 12-race program, and $11,274,066 on the eight Breeders' Cup races. A record total of $109,838,668 was wagered on the eight Breeders' Cup races at Lone Star Park and at simulcast outlets around the world. This mark breaks the old record of $108,578,049 set in 2002 at Arlington Park and is a 2.1% increase from 2003 figures.
A new record was also established for total simulcast handle, as $107,536,392 was wagered on the full 12-race card. Simulcasting accounted for 89% of the $120.8 million total handle. Among wagering by individual states for all 12 races, Texas led the way with $14,594,711, including the on-track handle at Lone Star and other racing facilities in the state. California led all simulcast jurisdictions with $12,709,298 and was followed by New York with $12,583,903. International simulcast handle, including common- and separate-pool wagering, totaled $16,401,782. Canada wagered $4,930,127 in a separate pari-mutuel pool. France led all common pool countries with $2,120,643 wagered on the eight Breeders' Cup races, and an additional $1,409,666 in separate-pool wagering. International handle represented 13.6% of the total handle.
Lone Star Park President Corey Johnsen.
Racing is all about the horses and their safety should always be the top priority. Lone Star Park, after all the negative comments some connections had about going there, passed this test with flying colors. None of the 81 horses that started failed to finish his or her race and no horse was vanned off. Breeders' Cup chairman D.G. Van Clief said, "We may have had as close to an injury-free Breeders' Cup as we've had in 21 years." Lone Star president Corey Johnsen said that on Friday evening "it rained here at 11:30 PM. It was one of the thunderstorms that came out of nowhere. Our track maintenance crew was so dedicated, they left three tractor drivers here the entire night. When the weather service called and said you have 20 minutes to seal your track, those guys were out there and got it sealed. You talk about an injury free Breeders' Cup, that the track was perfect says a lot about our team here."
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