Songbird tasted defeat for the first-time in her career, but it took a soon to be four-time Eclipse Award winner to beat her. California Chrome lost no luster in a gallant defeat at the hands of the freakishly good Arrogate, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his third consecutive victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
We ended up with a profitable Breeders’ Cup, five winners on top in the 13 races, the winners paying $25.80, $18.00, $9.60, $11.00 and $26.80.
The Breeders’ Cup got started on Friday with the Juvenile Turf where my top pick Lancaster Bomber was a good second at 8-1 behind a sharp performance by Oscar Performance ($15.20) sent out by the Bryan Lunch barn.
Dortmund was the chalk in the Dirt Mile but I decided I could not take such a short price and went with Tamarkuz, who got us our first winner paying $25.80 and completing a recommended exacta that paid $100.40 with runner up Gun Runner. Dortmund weakened to finish fourth.
I went Euro in the Juvenile Fillies Turf despite the fact the home team has fared very well over the years. Roly Poly was my top pick but was not a threat in a ninth-place finish. The race was won by my third choice New Money Honey for Chad Brown, his third win in the race. She was 10-1 on the morning line and returned $15.00.
Breeders’ Cup Distaff Replay
Beholder ran down Songbird in an exciting finish, the two champs separated by just a nose. Beholder was my second choice and I actually had her on top until the last minute. I thought her price would be too short but the $8.60 win payoff was more than fair.
Saturday started off with bomb Champagne Room pulling off a shocker in the Juvenile Fillies to the tune of $69.20. My top two picks Noted and Quoted and Dancing Rags were seventh and eighth.
Queen’s Trust got us back on track, my top pick returning $18.00 and topping a recommended exacta that paid $65.80. She beat Lady Eli by a nose in an epic battle.
I went east coast in the Sprint and that was a mistake. With scratches of Lord Nelson and Joking, my third choice Defrong got the job done over Masochistic while A.P. Indian could not keep up and weakened to finish fourth.
Obviously got us back in black winning the Turf Sprint, with the late charging Om, my third choice, finishing strongly to come up just a nose shy. The winner paid $9.60 with the exacta coming back at $58.20.
Classic Empire won the Juvenile as my top pick at $11.00 with my third choice Not This Time completing a $39.40 exacta and the double with Obviously returned $65.00.
Breeders’ Cup Turf Replay
I liked Highland Reel in the Arc at 24-1 but he was washed out before the race and I cut my bet in half. He ran a solid second to Found. In the post parade for the Turf he looked great and ran to it, jumping out to an easy lead and holding off Flintshire late.
I took a stab with Money Multiplier as my top pick with Highland Reel second, and we still managed to hit the exacta for $28.80.
The Filly & Mare Sprint was won by Finest City who I gave little chance while my top pick Haveyougoneaway was seventh. That was a big whiff.
The Mile got us back on the winning side of things although as they loaded in the gate I was questioning my pick Tourist. Half way through the race with sharp early fractions I knew we had a shot, but coming around the far turn he was down along the inside with little running room.
My thought was he was going to get stopped and end up running a good third our fourth. Instead, Joel Rosario got space to run and spurted through to get to the lead and then hold off the late running Tepin, returning $26.80 to win and capping a $105.20 exacta.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Replay
It was on to the Classic and I had picked Hoppertunity, knowing we would get a big price and both California Chrome and Arrogate would get too much attention on the tote.
I thought there was the possibility of a sharp early pace, but that did not happen. Jockey Victor Espinoza was able to get clear and when I saw the four-furlong fraction of 47.16 I knew Hoppertunity would have no shot other than a third or fourth place finish.
Heading home I did not think California Chrome could get beat, but Arrogate showed what a freak he is, getting up late and winning by a half-length, earning a 120 Beyer.
That means California Chrome ran the race of his life, and lost.