Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire.
In celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Tom Pedulla of America’s Best Racing cites the races he remembers most from each edition of the event. Here is a look back from 1994-2003:
Eleventh running, Nov. 5, 1994, Churchill Downs
Race to remember: Juvenile Fillies. Flanders prevailed against stablemate Serena’s Song in a scintillating stretch duel for trainer D. Wayne Lukas to complete a rousing 5-for-5 season. Flanders’ heart was so big that she competed to the breaking point, fracturing a cannon bone in her right foreleg, an injury that ended her career.
Twelfth running, Oct. 28, 1995, Belmont Park
Race to remember: Distaff. Inside Information produced one of the most dazzling performances in Cup history when she roared off by 13 ½ lengths for jockey Mike Smith, leaving runner-up Heavenly Prize far behind. That gap still represents the largest margin of victory in the history of the Breeders’ Cup and provided a fitting exclamation point to the close of Inside Information’s career.
Thirteenth running, Oct. 26, 1996. Woodbine Racetrack
Race to remember: Sprint. This was chosen more for the historical significance than for the winner, last-to-first Lit de Justice, or the nature of the contest. The outcome established Laura de Seroux as the first female trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race.
Fourteenth running, Nov. 8, 1997, Hollywood Park
Race to remember: Juvenile. Favorite Trick dusted the field by 5 ½ lengths to become the first 2-year-old to snag Horse of the Year honors since Secretariat in 1972. The Juvenile completed a brilliant 8-for-8 campaign for Favorite Trick, who was unable to deliver on his vast promise at 3.
Fifteenth running, Nov. 7, 1998, Churchill Downs
Race to remember: Mile. Da Hoss, the 1996 Mile champion, had raced only once since then, competing in an allowance race at Colonial Downs one month before trainer Michael Dickinson asked him to do what seemed impossible by competing in the Mile again with so little foundation. When Da Hoss and jockey John Velazquez flashed across the finish line first, announcer Tom Durkin proclaimed it “the greatest comeback since Lazarus.”
Sixteenth running, Nov. 6, 1999, Gulfstream Park
Race to remember: Distaff. Beautiful Pleasure, ridden by Jorge Chavez and trained by John Ward, nipped Banshee Breeze to clinch the Eclipse Award for champion older female. Favored Silverbulletday, the top 3-year-old filly, was a well-beaten sixth.
Seventeenth running, Nov. 4, 2000, Churchill Downs
Race to remember: Distaff. Perhaps no winner trained by D. Wayne Lukas should ever come as a major surprise, but Spain sure stunned fans when she and stablemate Surfside ran one-two. While Surfside took control early, it was all Spain late for a sweet payoff of $113.80 for a $2 win wager.
Eighteenth running, Oct. 26, 2001, Belmont Park
Race to remember: Classic. Gritty and valiant are just two of the many glowing adjectives that can be applied to Tiznow, who missed six months of training with an injury but still found a way to emerge as the first horse to win the Classic in consecutive years. Tiznow jutted his nose ahead of Sakhee, the Arc de Triomphe champion, at the last jump.
Nineteenth running, Oct. 26, 2002, Arlington Park
Race to remember: Distaff. Azeri became only the third filly to be named Horse of the Year, withstanding heavy pressure and a demanding pace to wire the field in a five-length romp against Farda Amiga.
Twentieth running, Oct. 25, 2003, Santa Anita Park
Race to remember: Turf. After 12 agonizing minutes, stewards declared the first dead heat in Breeders’ Cup history between Johar and Irish-bred High Chaparral. Johar was one of a record four winners sent out that afternoon by trainer Richard Mandella at his home track, one win more than the previous mark set by Lukas in 1988.
To let Tom know which race was your favorite every year, comment below or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Breeders’ Cup Races to Remember: Part 1|