Kicking off the 2010 World Championships was the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon (G3) on Friday. A field of 12 older horses contested this 1 3/4 mile trip around 3 turns of the main track at Churchill Downs. Giant Oak, second in the Washington Park Handicap (G3) and the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2), was sent off as the 7-2 favorite over 5-1 second choice Prince Will I Am, off his win in the Jamaica Handicap (G1) on the turf at Belmont Park. 6-1 Bright Horizon, winner of the Irish Cesarewich Stakes at the Curragh last out, completed the top three on the board.
Eldaafer closes in the center Prince Will I Am and Gabriel's Hill
26-1 longshot Gabriel's Hill went to the front soon after the start, and he set slow fractions of 51.42, 1:17.44, 1:43.60, 2:09.07, and 2:34.45 while as many as 2 lengths in front of 9-1 Precision Break who stalked him in second. Favorite Giant Oak was unhurried in 11th early, 10 lengths off the pace. Entering the stretch for the last time, 11-1 Eldaafer, who stalked the pace in 4th, picked up his pace and came through between horses at the 1/8 pole, then drew off late to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Prince Will I Am in a track record time of 2:59.62. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to pacesetter Gabriel's Hill third. The inquiry sign went up immediately after the finish, and after examining the footage of the run past the 5/16 pole on the final turn, Prince Will I Am was disqualified to 10th for veering out and bumping eventual 10th place finisher Romp, who in turn impeded eventual 4th place finisher 7-1 A.U. Miner.
In the walkway back to the tunnel, jockey Calvin Borel who rode A.U. Miner attacked Prince Will I Am's rider Javier Castellano over the incident, but they were quickly restrained and separated. The stewards later fined Borel $5000 for this action, while Castellano was fined $2500 and suspended 6 days for the riding infraction.
Left: Eldaafer heads to the winner's circle. Co-owner Mansour Albaroudy said, "I loved the breeding on him. I watched him the first time he ran. I couldn't believe it. I claimed him. The day that I claimed him, I said I'm going to the Breeders' Cup. They laughed at me. I went last year and that second year, and I won the Breeders' Cup."
Right: Eldaafer in the post parade. Jockey John Velazquez said, "It was perfect for me. He broke great and I was able to get good position. When the others started coming back to me at the quarter pole, I asked him for his run and he just exploded away from them."
Left: Third place finisher who was moved up to second Gabriel's Hill. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "That's how he usually runs, right to the front. He was going pretty good all the way. On the final turn I looked around and I knew he was running a big race. They just came up to me in the stretch and they were going better than we were. I never really felt like he got tired. The other ones just had a big kick." Trainer Seth Benzel added, "I'm really happy. He ran his race just like we wanted him to. He had to work early, but Julien did a great job slowing him down. It was a great ride. He was still running at the end."
Right: Fourth place finisher who was moved up to third A.U. Miner returns after the race with Calvin Borel aboard. The 7-1 shot raced abut 9 lengths off the pace most of the way around, was bumped at the 5/16 when Romp was forced out, but then re-rallied to get fourth beaten 5 1/2 lengths.
Disqualified second place finisher Prince Will I Am who was placed tenth returns after the race. Trainer Michelle Nihei said, "Despite the
decision, my horse ran a very terrific race. I know that Javier said that he was looking for a place to get out, he saw a hole and asked him to go through it and Prince went through it. I didn't see anything that struck me as being anything other than normal race riding.” Jockey Javier Castellano added, "I had so much horse. I had pressure outside me. I went for a hole and they said I took his lane (Calvin Borel on A.U. Miner)."
Breeders' Cup Saturday Results - There were 9 races Saturday highlighted by the $5 million Classic where Fort Larned won by a half length over Mucho Macho Man. Also on the card, favorites Wise Dan won the Mile and Shanghai Bobby won the Juvenile. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 9 races here.
Breeders' Cup Friday Results - There were 6 races Friday highlighted by the Ladies' Classic where favorite Royal Delta held off My Miss Aurelia to win for the second year in a row and the Filly and Mare Turf where Zagora was an upset winner. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 6 races here.
Thursday Breeders' Cup Workout Photos - Photos and comments for 49 of the Breeders' Cup horses out on Thursday morning at Santa Anita. The Europeans were out of quarantine and the east coasters delayed by Hurricane Sandy finally arrived, so it was a very busy morning.
Wednesday Breeders' Cup Workout Photos - Photos and comments for 34 of the Breeders' Cup horses out in the fog on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. The sun didn't make it out until 8:30am and visibility was quite poor at times.
Tuesday Breeders' Cup Workout Photos - Photos and comments for 69 of the Breeders' Cup horses out on the track Tuesday morning at Santa Anita, including Classic favorite Game On Dude and 7 more of the Classic horses.
Breeders' Cup Weather - What will the weather be like at Santa Anita Park on November 2 and 3? Here are lots of places to find out!
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.