Favorites hurt chances at Breeder' Cup

November 11, 2000|By LARRY YANOS

Favorites hurt chances at Breeder' Cup

After viewing last Saturday's Breeders' Cup races at the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Ky., it became even more clear - there's no dominant choice to win Eclipse Award Horse of the Year honors in the year 2000.

There were a few Division honors claimed but talented thoroughbreds like Fusaichi Pegasus, Riboletta and Lemon Drop Kid failed miserably in their final bid to impress the thoroughbred horse racing followers and Eclipse Award voters that day.

Others, like Tiznow, Kona Gold and War Chant, moved into title consideration with impressive victories.

In the final thoroughbred horse racing poll of the year - conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Tiznow led the way followed by Kona Gold, War Chant, Perfect Sting, Riboletta, Lemon Drop Kid, Kalanisi, Fusaichi Pegasus, Macho Uno and Giant's Causeway.

Captain Steve, Heritage of Gold, Albert The Great, Spain, More Than Ready, Point Given, Surfside, Beautiful Pleasure, John's Call, Tout Charmant, Dansili, Jostle and Caressing also received votes.


It would have likely been a shootout between Riboletta, Fusaichi Pegasus or Lemon Drop Kid had they found the winner's circle Saturday.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Riboletta, coming off six consecutive wins, went postward at 2-5 odds in the Grade I, $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Distaff but finished seventh in the 1 & 1/8 mile test - sending thousands of chalk players heading for cover.

Later in the week, it was announced that the five-year-old mare would be retired due to a suspensory muscle injury in her left front leg. She suffered the injury in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Trainer Eduardo Inda believes the hard track at Churchill Downs caused the injury.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Fusaichi Pegasus, a strapping three-year-old colt, hoped to reach the winner's circle in his farewell to racing, but the son of Mr. Prospector could never get untracked and finished sixth.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The same could be said for Lemon Drop Kid. The four-year-old son of Kingmambo made a strong move turning for home but just didn't fire and finished fifth.

Kona Gold, who shattered a track record by winning the Grade I $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1:07.7, will now get some Horse of the Year voters but sprinters simply don't win that award.

Tiznow may be the horse for the course.

The old saying, "What have you done for me lately?'' holds up in horse racing just like life.

You can be sure the voters will remember Tiznow's winning performance in the Grade I, $4.77 million Breeders' Cup Classic when the ballots are turned in.

Supplemented into the race for $360,000, even though it would be his third major race in 36 days, Tiznow became the first California-bred to score a Breeders' Cup victory. The owners picked up $2.48 million for the effort.

The victory undoubtedly earned Tiznow an Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old and may have earned him Horse of the Year honors, as well. Not bad for a colt who made his career debut April 22 and didn't break his maiden until May 31.

If I had a vote, my selections would be: Lemon Drop Kid, Riboletta and Tiznow.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> While naturally disappointed with Jostle's effort in the $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Distaff last Saturday, trainer John Servis said his experience with the talented filly in 2000 will bring memories for a lifetime.

"It was a great year and I have no regrets," the 41-year-old former Charles Town, W.Va,. resident said. "With the exception of those three races at The Fairgrounds and today's effort, she had a remarkable year."

Jostle, the three-year-old daughter of Brocco, finished fourth behind Fusaichi Pegasus, Unshaded and More Than Ready in the final NTRA 3-year-old poll.

She had nine starts in 2000 and sported four wins and two second-place finishes. In two years of racing, she has been to the starting gate 14 times with eight wins and three second-place finishes. Her career earnings are $1,238,170.

If anyone had told Servis before the race that he would finished two lengths behind Riboletta, he probably would have been quite happy.

Unfortunately, Riboletta - at 2-5 - finished seventh and Jostle ninth and last.

Spain won the race and returned a winning mutuel of $113.80. The Spain-Surfside exacta returned $664.60 and the trifecta, which included third-place finisher Heritage of Gold, returned $6,405.20.

"The race certainly didn't set up as we expected," Jostle's rider Mike Smith said. "The horses we expected to go the front stayed back. It was a strange race. My horse was uncomfortable, she got bothered on the first turn and again later in the race. With a better trip, she would have improved her position."

Nevertheless, Servis and owner Richard C. Porter II (representing Fox Hill Farm) had a wonderful experience and want to return to the Breeders' Cup competition. The Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, N.Y. will host the 2001 event.

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