Stamping an exclamation point as a truly “global” event on the 15 races worth more than $25 million of the 29th Breeders’ Cup World Championships Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita was the remarkable diversity of origin of the winners and their connections as they came together from major racing centers throughout North America, England, Ireland and France in Europe, Argentina in South America and Japan.
Although their stars campaigned in the major races all season coast to coast, Kentucky-based horsemen did very well with victories led by Fort Larned in the Classic for trainer Ian Wilkes, Little Mike in the Turf for Dale Romans, Wise Dan in the Mile for Charlie Lopresti, Groupie Doll in the Filly & Mare Sprint for William “Buff” Bradley and Hightail taking the Juvenile Sprint for all-time Breeders’ Cup leading trainer by wins D. Wayne Lukas.
New York-based horsemen to win Breeders’ Cup races were Hall of Famer Bill Mott as Royal Delta successfully defended her title in the Ladies’ Classic, Shanghai Bobby scoring in the Grey Goose Juvenile for Todd Pletcher and Zagora winning the Filly & Mare Turf for Chad Brown.
The California-based home team had its moments in the winners’ circle after Beholder scored in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies and Mizdirection won the Turf Sprint. Trainer Steve Asmussen operates one of the largest stables in the nation with divisions coast to coast, depending on the time of year, and Tapizar scored in the Dirt Mile after making his previous start out of the trainer’s New York string.
Florida was represented in the winner’s circle by Trinniberg, who shipped to Santa Anita from Calder Race Course to win the Xpressbet Sprint after finishing second in his previous start at Parx Racing near Philadelphia for trainer Shivananda Parbhoo.
The European team of some two dozen runners won two of the 15 races with Flotilla capturing the Juvenile Fillies Turf for French trainer Mikel Delzangles and George Vancouver winning the Juvenile Turf for Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien.
Finally, 9-year-old Argentine-bred gelding Calidoscopio became the first horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race after making his previous start in South America when he romped home a 4 ½- length winner of the Marathon for Argentine trainer Guillermo Frenkel.
Although not a winner, Japan’s 5-year-old Trailblazer, bred and raced in Japan, ran a big race to finish fourth in the Turf behind Little Mike for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, beaten only 2 ¼ lengths for it all.