Saturday, November 5, 2011
Eying a Classic repeat
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Friday was pretty interesting in terms of race results for me the day before the Breeders' Cup. Things started out well in the Juvenile Sprint when I rode a 2-year-old filly named Shumoos to a runner-up finish behind Secret Circle. She ran really well and finished willingly after putting herself in the race. Coming down the lane, I thought I had a good chance to win, but we just didn't quite get there.
Sweet Cat jumped up and got a piece of it in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and I think this is a nice filly for sure. You'll see more of her down the road, and it was a good third-place effort from her behind Stephanie's Kitten and Stopshoppingmaria.
Cambina ran ninth in the Filly & Mare Turf, and that's a disappointment. She usually has such a nice turn of foot and excellent acceleration, but she really didn't have that on Friday. I'm sure they'll regroup; she has a lot of heart.
The Ladies' Classic was the only race where disaster struck. Miss Match races with protective goggles on her eyes, and the track was so muddy yesterday, they got completely covered from the kickback. She couldn't see, and when the race was over on the gallop-out, I reached up and the goggles looked just like mine. There's the reason she finished last, and it's too bad because she's a talented runner.
Today, I ride Cease in the Marathon, Majestic City in the Juvenile Turf, Broken Dreams in the Turf Sprint, Tapizar in the Dirt Mile, Alpha in the Juvenile, Get Stormy in the Mile and Ruler on Ice in the Classic.
Cease ran a really good race in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, where he finished third. The Marathon's distance of a mile and three-quarters won't be a problem for him. Hawthorne is a different kind of racetrack; it's a real sandy racetrack with a pretty hard bottom, and the turns are a little sharp, so it probably wasn't exactly to his liking. I don't think the distance is going to bother him a bit, and hopefully we'll have a good handicap horse for next year, too.
Get Stormy's got a good chance. Some of his better races are on soft ground, and I thought he ran really well earlier this year in the Shadwell Turf Mile. I was able to do something I usually don't do, and that's give a horse a pretty good-sized lead. He was able to sit and relax and not be in a chasing mode, and when I called on him to start moving up, he was there. He finished well, but and Gio Ponti barely ran him down late. Get Stormy is a really cool horse. It was my first opportunity to get on him at Keeneland, and he's quite enjoyable to ride.
I know we'll take on a monster in the Mile with Goldikova going for her fourth straight win, but that's what the Breeders' Cup is all about. Every race is packed full of up-and-coming stars or the stars of right now, or horses that have done something good to deserve a chance to come here -- like my horse in the Classic, Ruler On Ice. He's this year's Belmont Stakes winner, and even though he hasn't won since then, his second in the Pennsylvania Derby told us there's more in the tank. He kicked in with a good late run in that race, and we had to go wide down the lane to do it. We'll fly in a little bit under the radar and see if we can spring an upset. Back-to-back scores in the Breeders' Cup Classic? That would be just fine with me.