What a day!
Frankie's win aboard Pounced got the ball rolling for the Europeans on day two, and it didn't end there!
I saw Pounced earlier in the week and he isn't much to look at but put in a great run and is now a 25/1 chance for the 2000 Guineas with us.
Is truly was an incredible performance from the French wonder-filly Goldikova. I'll admit I had my doubts, she was running on Lasix for the first time, and had showed some mulish behaviour in some of her starts this season but what a run! Managing the tricky Turf course here at Santa Anita takes some riding from stall 11, but Oliver Peslier pitched it perfectly.
It completed a unique achievement for Freddy Head who becomes the only individual to ride and train Breeders' Cup doubles following famous back-to-back wins aboard Miesque in the late eighties.
We make her 5/1 to notch-up three wins in the Breeders' Cup Mile - a feat no horse has ever managed. Freddy Head has already declared an interest in returning to the Breeders'Cup, and it would truly seal her status as an equine legend if she were to complete the unprecedented hat-trick under the Twin Spires in 2010.
Furthest Land produced a shock victory in the Dirt Mile but looking back at his record he is unbeaten on Polytrack and was really lightly-raced with just six starts. I wouldn't have backed him, but it wasn't the biggest surprise in the world with hindsight.
Conduit returned victorious in the Breeders' Cup Turf to little surprise. He looked glorious all week and those on track felt that defeat was out of the question for Sir Michael Stoute's colt. Presious Passion confirmed some of the opinions I've heard throughout the week with a gutsy second and little Dar Re Mi took the third spot. I'm not sure if she'll remain in training any longer but she's been a joy to watch this season.
Conduits win again confirmed just how good Sea The Stars was. How grateful I am to have seen him run this season. Aside from his win in the Irish Champion Stakes I've witnessed every one of his wins, a fact I will eternally be grateful for. As Jim McGrath called in the Arc, he is a horse of a lifetime, and I know when I am old and grey he will be the one I am wistful about.
And so going into the last the Americans lead the Europeans 7-6 for wins. It's a curious experience watching American racegoers. The engage a lot more than the crowds you see at Royal Ascot, York, and Epsom. Applause was heard when Zenyatta came out to parade, and Quality Road's problems at the stalls led to a volley of ‘oohs and aahs' from the watching crowd. I've never been to the Kentucky Derby, and perhaps the Breeders' Cup crowd is a different variety of racegoer, but it is nonetheless both intriguing to watch.
Zenyatta booms home for a home-win. What a performance, what a mare, what a great moment of racing history. She becomes the first female to win a Breeders' Cup Classic beating a classy field with consummate ease. Simply amazing scenes.
Her trainer John Shirreffs was clearly overcome stating: ‘'There are tears coming to my eyes. I can't believe it. She is a great, great filly. She is all heart. The way the crowd took to her was just amazing. They cheered, they clapped; they love her. What a wonderful relationship.''
The only fly in the ointment was a snarling American guy in the Press box who spat out: ‘'Yeah, yeah, you Brits are all pretty quiet now aren't you.'' It really isn't like that for the Europeans here. We're delighted to get winners, and it's not about beating the Americans. They field twenty times as many runners and should be beating us hands-down. Every member of the European Press corps was up on their feet applauding Zenyatta and appreciating what a sensational performance she produced.
I wonder whether the Breeders' Cup will ever be able to return to Santa Anita following the wins from our Continent though. It seems the Pro-Ride really does level the playing field. For 2010 the Festival will go to Churchill Downs where back in 2006 Ouija Board and Red Rocks both prevailed on the Turf. I love the fact that so much can change between now and then. We could have horses not even considered for next year's Classics lining-up.
I hope everyone found a winner or two, and enjoyed the action. I guess we'll say farewell to the Flat for now and head to Cheltenham!