Pletcher blanks with 17 starters

As great a trainer as he is, two-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher went into today’s Breeders’ Cup 2 for 24 in BC races. After blanking with a record 17 starters at Churchill Downs, he’s now 2 for 41. He’s not alone. Other great trainers, most notably Bobby Frankel, have also had their problems on Breeders’ Cup Day. It’s not easy to win when you’re entering horses in races where there are six or seven others just as talented as your’s.

Great training job

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin deserves a ton of credit for the training job he did with Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Invasor, who was forced to miss his main Classic prep — the Jockey Club Gold Cup — because of a fever. He was off almost three months, but the layoff did not show one bit.

Invasor overpowers Classic field

Invasor’s victory was not even five minutes old, and the ESPN crew was debating whether Javier Castellano moved too quickly on Bernardini. Hogwash!!!! Invasor was just the better horse today. Give him credit. He’s now 9 of 10 lifetime and probably deserves to win Horse of the Year. Bernardini and Castellano didn’t do anything wrong, it was Invasor’s brilliance today that should be celebrated.
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Breeders’ Cup Turf

Another long shot, which makes five in the seven races. Red Rocks, one of the four Irish-bred horses in the race, gives jockey Frankie Dettori his second win of the day. Right now, Dettori looks like the Shoemaker Award winner. The Classic? Well, the way long shots are clicking, you have to take a look at Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron. And Perfect Drift, the horse who is always right there but doesn’t win? Can he end his career with a stunner?

Churchill rail bias?

The four winners of today’s Breeders’ Cup races on the dirt have been won by the horses that had the No. 1 post. One more to go, and Brother Derek, 30-1 on the morning line, is on the rail in the Classic.

Pine Island euthanized

It just shows how fragile these big, powerful animals are. Track vet reports the injury to Pine Island was too severe to try to save the 3-year-old daughter of Arch. For the Phipps Stable, which owned the filly and has had many glorious moments in the sport, this is one of the most somber days.

Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Tragedy strikes again on a big racing day when Pine Island, one of the favorites in the Distaff, reportedly dislocated a front ankle in a life-threatening injury. How ironic that the race would be won by a filly — Round Pound — who is trained by Michael Matz and was ridden by Edgar Prado, the trainer and jockey connected with Barbaro, who broke down in the Preakness Stakes in May and is still fighting for his life at a Pennsylvania equine hospital.
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Breeders’ Cup Mile

Five races and three winners paying more than $30. Despite being a long-shot player, I haven’t had any of them, although I liked Thor’s Echo. Miesque’s Approval’s Beyer was not going up, but it wasn’t going down either. He had a 104 his past two races. In the next one, the Distaff, Beyers are going up for Fleet Indian, Balletto, Pine Island and Pool Land. Four-horse exacta box, anyone?

Watch those Beyer Figures!!!

Thor’s Echo was the third Breeders’ Cup winner today whose Beyer Speed Rating was going up. We don’t know about Ouija Board because they don’t get Beyer ratings when they race in Europe. In the Mile, the next Breeders’ Cup race, Free Thinking and Gorella have Beyers on the improve. Of course, this is a tougher one to figure because there are so many European horses that don’t have Beyer figures.

Breeders’ Cup Sprint

I could kick myself. I tried to bet Thor’s Echo at the last minute and got shut out. NO WAY this horse should have gone off at 15-1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He had the second best Beyer in the race and had just run second in the Ancient Title to Bordonaro, one of the favorites. Plus, Ancient Title runners have historically run well in the Sprint. This is one I totally let get away. Kudos to Doug O’Neill and Corey Nakatani for a job well done. Nakatani could still get that first-ever BC riding triple.