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Cup Runneth Over

Posted by on 11/3/2015 7:38:27 PM

It was truly a trick or treat day at Keeneland on Halloween as there was a little bit of everything for the die hard racing fan to embrace as the Breeders’ Cup was stages.

Future stars like Songbird and Nyquist rose to the occasion.

Ten and 15-1 shots were there for the taking and chalk eaters even got a bit of activity with a pair of favorites getting the job done.

The highlight, of course, was the front-running score by American Pharoah to destroy the Classic field and more on his heroics later in the week.

Songbird , trained by the great Jerry Hollendorfer, opened the action Saturday but taking no prisoners. She ran her record to 4 in a row by making the lead at the sound of the bell, increasing her lead at just about every call to win by nearly 6 lengths with a career best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

It’s nice to see a smallish barn break out on racing’s premier day and that is exactly what trainer Enebish Ganbat did as he saddled the Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday. He was lightly worked coming into the Cup but sat right off the lead and prevailed by a neck at a juicy 15-1.

La Verdad is a win machine but she just can go 7 furlongs successfully. She fought tooth and nail in the Filly and Mare Sprint but could not hold off Chad Brown’s Wavell Avenue. The filly overcame a less than perfect trip to pay a nice $22.

Irad Ortiz Jr. put up a classic ride in the Filly and Mare Turf aloft Stephanie’s Kitten finding a lane to rally into in time and knocking off 4-5 favorite Legatissimo. The latter stumbled out of the gate, was a bit rank, and could not quicken in time.

Don’t worry be happy is a nice way to live one’s life and similar to the work done by Ganbat, Maria Borell brought her one-horse stable to Keeneland and got the money in the Sprint. The Super Saver colt Runhappy had only lost once in his life before Saturday and he had an excuse as it was at the wrong distance. He made it 5 in a row with his second straight Keeneland win when getting the 6 furlongs in 1:08.58. It was a new track record and Runhappy earned a 108 Beyer.

Tepin took to the good course winning the Mile when sitting just off the suspect speed early on. He was winning his 3rd Grade 1 of the year and his victory keyed a huge superfecta when 17, 13 and 21-1 shots followed him home for an over $21,000 ‘super’.

One big fact escaped many regarding the Juvenile winner Nyquist. He had won his first 4 races but was rather unimpressive with his worst Beyer coming into the Cup. What many didn’t know is that the saddled slipped in that race; he couldn’t be properly ridden and still scored. In retrospect, his 9-2 winning payoff was a gift.

The soft going in the Turf compromised the Arc winner Golden Horn and he paid the price when nailed late by the stellar filly Found. The Europeans ran one/two and that has been a Turf trend.

Just like you can’t take anything away from the NBA champion Golden State Warriors because they stayed healthy last year, you can’t blame American Pharoah from benefiting by some key scratches.

Victor Espinoza put him on the lead, coaxed him through legit fractions and drew away in track record time of 2:00.07 to win the Classic and put the cherry on top of his Horse of the Year campaign.

All in all, it was a great weekend and now all of the connections, fans and bettors can start gearing up for 2016.

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