As the Breeders' Cup Dust Settles

When your best bet of the two days wins the first race easily and pays $15.20, you know it’s going to be a good Breeders’ Cup. OSCAR PERFORMANCE justified our enthusiasm and beat his competition in the Juvenile Turf (G1) like a drum. Love when that happens.

DORTMUND looked horrible warming up for the Dirt Mile (G1), like he was distressed, and TAMARKUZ took it to the field in the Dirt Mile (G1). The throat surgery he had last spring has really helped him, plus, he is finally accustomed to American racing. John Sadler was correct about ACCELERATE. He belonged in the field and is one to watch next year. RUNHAPPY has been ruined by a ridiculous schedule.

NEW MONEY HONEY had the best turf figure of the American horses and ran to it. Her $15.00 mutuel in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) was a gift. There is no doubt that LA CORONEL was compromised by her hideous post and should get back to the winners’ circle soon.

The undisputed Queen of Santa Anita, BEHOLDER, went out a winner in the Distaff (G1) and that was great to see. SONG BIRD raced valiantly in defeat and lost no luster in the process. She is now the best dirt filly in the United States, if there was any question before. STELLAR WIND was a little wound up and hindered herself with a bad break. She will be a major force in 2017 if she gets a little break now.

In the wide open Juvenile Fillies (G1), CHAMPAGNE ROOM was not a total surprise, but her 33-1 odds were. She obviously has talent. VALADORNA is a gorgeous filly who proved her maiden-breaker at Keeneland was no fluke. Keep an eye on her. AMERICAN GAL was bet down to favoritism off a sparkling blowout under Mike Smith. Making her two-turn debut in this race was a huge reach, but she acquitted herself well and she seems to have a bright future.

QUEEN’S TRUST got an awesome ride by Frankie Dettori and captured the Filly and Mare Turf (G1) in fine style. This was a stellar field and runner-up LADY ELI drew more admiration with her performance. The good news is, she’ll be campaigned next year. With awesome speed and the ability to carry it, you’ve got to think AVENGE is going to win a few more races in her career.

We’ve been saying all year that DREFONG is the best sprinter in the country, so it was gratifying to see him win the Sprint (G1). If there is someone better at pointing a horse to a particular race and winning it than Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, we don’t know who it is.

Eight-year-old OBVIOUSLY, a California fan favorite, got the job done down the hill in the Turf Sprint (G1). That was fun for the locals to watch as was the fast finish by OM. Evidently jockey Joel Rosario forgot that CELESTINE was a speed horse, so a better run can be expected next time, if somebody who reads the past performances and utilizes them rides her.

CLASSIC EMPIRE and NOT THIS TIME put on a great show in the Juvenile (G1), which could be a preview of next year’s Kentucky Derby (G1). Great call by Michael Wrona, saying the pair was, “a street in front of the rest of the field.” Both of these boys are stone runners.

The Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) was tremendously formful, with the three best horses finishing 1-2-3. Seamie Heffernan stole the race on HIGHLAND REEL. His ride was a thing of beauty. FLINTSHIRE was given a lot to do once again, but nobody was beating the Coolmore horse on the day.

Have to admit we were looking the other way when FINEST CITY won the Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). It was fantastic for her young trainer, Ian Kruljac, and for the sharps who backed her. She won like a good thing with a race she had never run before. C’est la vie.

TOURIST had been touting himself all week, looking the picture of health and vitality. Beaten by MISS TEMPLE CITY and IRONICUS in his last start, it was questionable if he could turn the tables on both in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). Obviously, the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland was a very good race, with the top three in that one all earning a check here. TEPIN ran huge again. What a great mare she is. They are all slated to be back next year – what a division.

CALIFORNIA CHROME, older and world-class, versus ARROGATE, young and fast. What a race the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) was. ARROGATE got the money and showed what he is made of. Wait ‘til he fills out and grows up. What a beast the Juddmonte colorbearer will be.