Breeders' Cup Wrap - News & Quotes

Breeders' Cup Wrap - News & Quotes

11/07/2011

By Breeders'Cup

Bill Mott (Drosselmeyer, Classic, 1st; Royal Delta, Ladies’ Classic, 1st; To Honor and Serve, Classic, 7th; Birdrun, Marathon, 2nd; Courageous Cat, Mile, 13th) – Upon dismounting from his pony following training hours Sunday, trainer Bill Mott posed for a picture outside Barn 19 at Churchill Downs while standing behind a sawhorse over which the floral blankets for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Ladies’ Classic were draped.
Mott had celebrated victories by Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic on Friday and Drosselmeyer in the Classic Saturday, but on Sunday, the Hall of Fame trainer was somewhat subdued.
“Well, a lot of the energy has been drained out,” Mott said with a chuckle.
Drosselmeyer capped off the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships with a 1 ½-length victory over Game On Dude in the Classic at 14-1.
“Drosselmeyer showed up again on a big day. He’s given us a Belmont Stakes and a Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Mott said.
The Classic triumph should add to his value as a stallion. The 4yo son of Distorted Humor is scheduled to stand at stud in New York next year.
Mike Smith, who hadn’t ridden Drosselmeyer since guiding him to victory in the 2010 Belmont Stakes, got the return mount Saturday.
“(Jose) Lezcano was riding him, and he had To Honor and Serve, so it was a no-brainer to go to Mike. He was open in the race, so he was more than willing to ride him. Obviously, the chemistry is good,” Mott said.
It’s possible that Royal Delta, who captured the Ladies’ Classic by 2 ½ lengths under Lezcano, will be leaving Mott’s stable. The 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker is scheduled to go through the sales ring at the Keeneland on Tuesday.
“I guess it depends on who buys her. If somebody that needs a trainer, or someone I’ve trained for buys her, I’d love to keep her. I hope that happens,” Mott said. “She’s the kind you look forward to. She’s the kind that’s hard to replace.”
Whether he continues to train her, Mott thinks Royal Delta has a bright future.
“She’s only a 3-year-old, and she’s perfectly sound, so I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t hear from her next year,” Mott said. “There’s no reason why she wouldn’t get better.”
With one exception, Mott was satisfied with the outcomes of his horses’ performances in this year’s Breeders Cup.
“We feel good about the fact that it’s the end of the year, and it ended up well for most of the horses we ran in the Breeders’ Cup. Courageous Cat got kind of mugged (in the Mile) and didn’t really have his chance. But everyone else had their opportunities to run and they ran well. Even To Honor and Serve ran well, he was beaten only 3 ½ lengths for the whole thing.”
 Bob Baffert (Game On Dude, 2nd, Classic; Secret Circle, 1st, Juvenile Sprint; Plum Pretty, 5th, Ladies’ Classic; The Factor, 8th, Dirt Mile; Irish Gypsy, 8th, Filly & Mare Sprint;  Irrefutable, 9th, Dirt Mile; Euroears, 9th, Sprint; Drill, 10th, Juvenile; Candrea, 11th, Juvenile Fillies) – Trainer Bob Baffert and his string of nine Breeders’ Cup runners all made it through the two-day racing festival in good shape and were – for the most part – headed back to California. The exceptions to that plan of action were Irish Gypsy and Euroears.
Irish Gypsy was off to Lexington’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and a new career as a broodmare.  The 5yo daughter of Hennessy retires with six wins and $386,420 in earnings.
Euroears was scheduled to be sold Sunday night at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Lexington. The 7yo horse by Langfuhr will go on the block with a career record that shows 10 wins in 21 starts and earnings of $1,043,894.
The remaining Baffert contingent was split up and sent west, with several leaving Sunday morning and the others to follow Monday.
Those shipping out Sunday morning were Drill, Candrea, Secret Circle, and Irrefutable.
Those slated to board a pre-dawn flight Monday are Plum Pretty, The Factor, and Game On Dude.
“There wasn’t enough room on the plane going out today to get them all back, so we had to split them up,” Baffert said.
The trainer was especially proud of the effort turned in by Game On Dude in the Classic, a front-running performance under much pace pressure for 10 furlongs in which he was passed in the final strides by winner Drosselmeyer.
“He ran so good,” Baffert said. “That track was so demanding; I’ve never seen it like that here before. Those horses had to work so hard. For him to run six furlongs in 1:12 (1:12.82) on that surface was ridiculous. But he fought on and was game all the way.
“He reminded me of Silver Charm the way he kept on fighting them off. (Jockey) Chantal (Sutherland) rode a beautiful race. And the horse was so game. It was exciting to see him do it. We were disappointed we didn’t win it all, but the way he ran, we were all so proud.”
The trainer indicated that all of his California-bound runners were likely to race again.
Dale Romans (Court Vision, 1st, Mile; Shackleford, 2nd, Dirt Mile;  Dullahan, 4th, Juvenile) – Though one of the more stunning efforts on a day of many such events, the upset victory by Court Vision in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, trainer Dale Romans said Sunday morning he was among those who thought the 6yo horse “would run big.”
“All we needed to do was get him back to his old form, and if they backed up at all, he would come running,” Romans said Sunday morning. “When you have the best milers in the world running, they will go fast early. We were just hoping they would go too fast and he could run them down. And it all worked out perfectly for us.”
Romans indicated a bit of surprise by the fact the horse had been passed up so many bettors and got away at odds of 64-1.
“He’s a classy old horse that was really doing good,” the trainer said. “That’s a good combination. He hadn’t won in a long time, and even though I didn’t have him at the time, I knew there were some quirks about him earlier in the year that seemed to be behind him.
“We picked him up in August and I ran him once in Canada and he only got beat three lengths in a field that included Courageous Cat and Turallure. It was his first race back in a long time and he had a rough trip. So it wasn’t a bad race to build on.”
Romans thought he was on his way to the winner’s circle earlier in the day when his 3yo Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford seemed to be in an unreachable spot on the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile as the field entered the stretch. However, that feeling disappeared fairly quickly as Caleb’s Posse rushed past the front-runner to win, with Shackleford finishing second.
“I thought we were going to win turning for home, just like I did in the (Kentucky) Derby,” Romans said. “He ran a super race, though. Caleb’s Posse is a serious racehorse around one turn. We just couldn’t hold him off.
“I still think he (Shackleford) should be champion 3-year-old, with a classic win (Preakness) and the fact he showed up so well in all the other races.
“In fact, I think we have two champions, him and Sassy Image. She won two Grade 1s (Princess Rooney and Humana Distaff) and beat Hilda’s Passion easy here. And she beat the filly that won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Musical Romance). So I think she should be champion filly sprinter.
“She had a little chip in a back ankle that made us miss this race. She’s in the (Fasig-Tipton) sale and we’ll see what the new owners want to do with her. The chip can come out and she could race next year. If she doesn’t bring enough money (in the sale), we’ll bring her back, take the chip out, and if she rehabs well, we’ll run her next year. If not, we’ll put her in a broodmare band.”
Bill Spawr (Amazombie, 1st, Sprint) – Bill Spawr was a happy man Sunday morning following a hard-fought win by Amazombie in Saturday’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“He cooled out in 30 or 40 minutes,” Spawr said. “He’s an amazing horse that way. When we won the Ancient Title (Oct. 8 at Santa Anita), he did the same thing. A half hour or so, and he’s good. He hardly expends any energy at all when he runs.”
Amazombie, a 5yo California-bred gelding by Northern Afleet, now boasts a record of 10 wins, four seconds, and five thirds from 23 starts with total earnings of $1,525,708. His 2011 season concludes with five sprint-stake wins, two of them Grade 1’s (Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Ancient Title) along with a Grade 2 (Potrero Grande).
Spawr admitted that he had some concerns about the condition of the Churchill Downs main track, which retained some water from heavy rains that had hit the Louisville area Thursday.
“I didn’t know how he was going to do on the track,” Spawr said. “He’d never dealt with anything like that in California, but in the end it worked out fine. He’s raced on all the different surfaces – dirt, grass, and synthetic – but he likes dirt the best.”
Amazombie is booked on a pre dawn flight Monday morning returning to California and Spawr is already thinking ahead to next year, when the Breeders’ Cup returns to his home base at Santa Anita.
“I think I’ll probably just walk him for a month,” he said. “I’ve already drawn up a plan for what we’re going to do with him next year, pointing for the Breeders’ Cup. The plan is to try to win another one.”
Steve Asmussen (My Miss Aurelia, 1st, Juvenile Fillies; Regally Ready, 1st, Turf Sprint; Daddy Nose Best, 6th, Juvenile Turf; Tapizar, 5th, Dirt Mile; Wilburn, 7th, Dirt Mile; Seeker, 4th, Juvenile Sprint) – Two floral blankets hanging on a blue and white sawhorses outside his barn Sunday morning were vivid and colorful proof that trainer Steve Asmussen had a very good Breeders’ Cup weekend.
My Miss Aurelia likely locked up the division title (Champion 2-Year-Old Filly) with a victory in the Juvenile Fillies on Friday and Regally Ready was the only favorite to win Saturday when he took the Turf Sprint.
Asmussen said that all six of his starters came out of the races in good condition and he expected them to stay in training.
The veteran horseman said My Miss Aurelia deserves more than the title for outstanding 2yo filly.
“She gets my vote for Horse of the Year,” Asmussen said. “Horse of the Year is for great horses. She’s great.”
In the Juvenile Fillies, My Miss Aurelia headed a finish that included Spinaway winner Grace Hall (2nd) and the California-based New York-bred Weemissfrankie (3rd).
“I think ‘Aurelia’ is special. She ran a great race against a very good field,” he said. “It seemed that the right horses showed up. You had the Grade 1-winning fillies second and third. And the way she did it, I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Asmussen said the filly, owned by Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton, will ship to California with a division of his stable the beginning of December.   
“Obviously, she will get a little break and we’ll sit on her for a while and get her happy” he said. “Then we will map out a plan for her sometime after we get out there.”   
Asmussen said that Regally Ready is being considered for the turf sprint stakes at the Hong Kong international races in December.  
“He’s a brilliant turf sprinter. I’m glad to see him show up so big on the right day,” Asmussen said. “I’m very happy for Dr. Simon and the Vinery team. He’s a homebred. And to go from the farm to this level is great. With him being a gelding, I think we need to maximize his racing opportunities.”
Regally Ready will move to California with the stable for the winter.
“He did extremely well over the turf course at Santa Anita. And with the Breeders’ Cup going to be out there next year, you walk out of the winner’s circle hoping to be able to do the exact same thing with him again,” Asmussen said. “Having success at the venue (the Breeders’ Cup) is going to next makes it that much easier to look forward to it.”
Tapizar is bound for California after the Dirt Mile, while Asmussen said Wilburn’s future will be discussed. Wilburn finished seventh as the favorite in the Dirt Mile.
“I was disappointed in it,” Asmussen  said. “The racetrack drying out and him being such a big horse, it was a concern. I don’t think that he handled the racetrack or ran his race.”
Asmussen said that Seeker will likely make his next start in allowance company after finishing fourth in the Juvenile Sprint.
“He’s better than that,” Asmussen said. “He just hasn’t put it together yet.”
Asmussen said that Daddy Nose Best will most likely run again before the end of the year.
Mike Maker (Hansen, 1st, Juvenile; Stately Victor, 5th, Turf; Baryshnikov, 7th, Marathon; Dean’s Kitten, 9th, Turf; Headache, 12th, Classic) – Trainer Mike Maker is well aware that winning a Breeders’ Cup Championship race is never old hat.
“Winning that first one is great (Furthest Land in 2009 Dirt Mile), but so is winning a second one,” Maker said Sunday morning in the wake of the victory of Hansen (ridden by Ramon Dominguez) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The son of Tapit held off the onrushing Union Rags as the two drove toward the wire.
Maker acknowledged he was very confident as Hansen widened his lead in early stretch, but it was a bit of a different story at the end.
“Turning for home, it appeared to me that (jockey) Ramon (Dominguez) hadn’t really asked him much, so I was pretty confident at that point,” Maker said. “But in the end, he had to prove how tough he is.”
According to Maker, that toughness is something of a reflection of his personality around the barn.
“He’s a handful for us,” Maker said. “We don’t try to change him much, because if we do try, he gets mad and wants to fight. So we let him do his thing, make him believe he’s the boss.”
Maker said the 2yo colt had tipped him off to his potential during his training in the mornings. He was able to translate that to some spectacular efforts in two races at Turfway Park (maiden win and Kentucky Cup Juvenile), winning each race by double-digit lengths.
Co-owner Dr. Kendall Hansen is a relatively new client for Maker, having been with the trainer about a year and a half.
“I have three horses for him,” Maker said. “He’s a fun owner to have.”
Dr. Hansen sold a minority interest in the colt to Louisville-based Sky Chai Racing shortly before the Breeders’ Cup.
 Though Maker has not discussed a next start for Hansen, he indicated the colt might be put away for the rest of the year in order to plan for a 3-year-old campaign.
Donnie Von Hemel (Caleb’s Posse, 1st, Dirt Mile) – First time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel had some unexpected trouble Sunday morning as he came to Churchill Downs to check on his Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse; the trainer forgot to turn his clock back overnight.
That means he strolled into the barn at 3:30 a.m. instead of the expected 4:30. He did find his winner in fine form and ready for a bit of a break at the breeder/co-owner’s farm in Lexington.
Before leaving for the airport, Von Hemel said of the victory: “It was just one of those things. Everything just came together.”
Roger Attfield (Perfect Shirl, 1st, Filly & Mare Turf) – The 71-year-old trainer, who had his first Breeders’ Cup victory at Churchill Downs on Friday, reported that Filly & Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl came out of the race in fine order.
Attfield was particularly pleased how the 4yo daughter of Perfect Soul handled the “good” turf.
“It was wonderful,” Attfield said. “It was interesting in the respect that I was so worried about the rain the day before. I was concerned about the going, but on the backside I could see she was happy and handling it very well. I was starting to get excited about it. It was a wonderful day for sure.”
Perfect Shirl, who closed with a rush to win by three-quarters of a length under John Velazquez, is scheduled to return to racing next year.
“She’s going to Florida to have a little bit of a break and she’ll start her next season in Florida, and then go to Keeneland. That’s how I usually do it,” Attfield said. “She’ll be a very good 5yo. She took a long time to develop, and she’s really turned the corner the last five or six months.”
Charlie Lopresti  (Turallure, 2nd, Mile) – Trainer Charlie Lopresti was extremely disappointed when Turallure lost a nose decision to Court Vision in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, but the Lexington resident adopted a philosophical approach to the defeat Sunday morning.
“He ran a great race. It’s a heartbreaker to get beat,” Lopresti said. “That’s horse racing. It could have been the other way around and we could have won by a whisker.
“I think the post position (13) hurt us, but when we came off the turn, everything fanned out and we just got carried wide and he couldn’t change leads until late. But once he got clear, I don’t know of any horse that was closing like he was.”
The 54-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. native took a measure of consolation in the possibility that Turallure’s trip could have been worse had he drawn an inside post.
“It would have been nice to be closer (inside) so you could have come through and save some ground, but the way it happened, maybe we were better off,” Lopresti said. “If we were down in there, maybe we could have been completely eliminated. So at least we didn’t get completely eliminated. That’s the way you got to look at it.”
Turallure will be given a rest at Lopresti’s farm during the winter.
Tom Albertrani (Brilliant Speed, 3rd, Turf) – Brilliant Speed made a sweeping move on the final turn of the Breeders’ Cup Turf to take a lead into the stretch, before fading to third, which was hardly a disappointment for the 3yo colt’s trainer, Tom Albertrani.
“He ran well. Turning for home, he probably had a good length advantage making the first run down the lane, but you could see the eventual winner (St Nicholas Abbey) would get him,” said Albertrani, whose Blue Grass Stakes winner finished 3 ¼ lengths behind the winner, a length behind runner-up Sea Moon, and three lengths clear of the fourth-place finisher.
“But he ran well, he held in there pretty well, considering we thought we were a little up against it going into the race. He ran well. He’s maturing all the time, we’ve got to be excited about him next year.”
Brilliant Speed was shipped to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida Sunday and will likely make his first start during the winter at Gulfstream, Albertrani said.
Mike Harrington (Creative Cause, 3rd, Juvenile) – Trainer Mike Harrington was headed back to California Sunday morning along with Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Creative Cause.
 
“He came back fine,” Harrington said. “He’s going to get a nice break right now, then we’ll start back with him in the spring.”
 
The son of Giant’s Causeway failed to catch winner Hansen and runner-up Union Rags by a head and a length, but finished five lengths ahead of his next rival in the 13-horse field. For his efforts, he earned a check for $198,000 and expanded his bankroll to $521,000 with three wins, a second, and a third from five starts.
 
“I was proud of the way he ran (on Saturday),” Harrington said. “He was closing, and he only got beat about a length. I sure would have liked to have been first or second, but in this circumstance, you’ve got to be happy for what you’ve got.
 
“The two horses that beat him are very nice horses. But I wouldn’t trade horses with their people; I like mine. Of course, I’m sure they’d tell you the same thing.”
 
Harrington indicated that a Triple Crown campaign is in the offing for the Kentucky-bred, who was a $135,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland in September 2010.
 
“That (the Triple Crown) is what we’ll be pointing for,” Harrington said. “If you’re in the horse business and you’ve got a 3-year-old, that’s what you point for. Simple as that.”
Kiaran McLaughlin (It’s Tricky, 2nd, Ladies’ Classic; Rattlesnake Bridge, 9th, Classic; Trappe Shot, 4th, Dirt Mile; Miss Netta, 6th, Juvenile Fillies; Alpha, 11th, Juvenile) – According to Neal McLaughlin, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin who was en route to New York Sunday morning, all five Breeders’ Cup starters from the barn came back fine.
“It’s Tricky came out of the race (Ladies’ Classic) great,” Neal McLaughlin said. “She ran her race and just got beat by a super filly. We had a great trip, a great run and no excuses. We just got outrun the last bit.
“She is headed to Florida and will have a little bit of an easy time when she first gets there and then we will be pointing for some big races next year.”
Under veteran jockey Calvin Borel, Rattlesnake Bridge finished ninth in the Classic.
“Calvin did his job. He got him to relax and made a run,” Neal McLaughlin said. “He might have been a little back further than would have ideal into those fractions. The fractions weren’t what we thought. He will go to Florida and probably point toward the Donn (at Gulfstream Park) and some big races like that.”
According to McLaughlin, the future for Dirt Mile fourth-place finisher favorite Trappe Shot is up in the air. His connections are hoping he will win a Grade 1 to enhance his standing as a stallion candidate.  
“I thought that Trappe Shot would run better than he did,” McLaughlin said. “He had been training fantastic, I really thought he liked the track here and I really looked for a big effort from him. He just kind of gave an eighth of a mile punch and flattened out a little bit.
“I’m not sure what the plans are. He will go back to New York and we’ll probably point for the next spot. The Cigar Mile comes up pretty quick. Possibly he’ll get some time and be pointed for next spring.”
Chad Brown (Stacelita, 10th, Filly & Mare Turf; Dayatthespa, 9th, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Fantastic Song, 10th, Juvenile Turf) – All three of his Breeders’ Cup starters were fine and on their way out of town, trainer Chad Brown said Sunday morning.
Stacelita, the beaten favorite in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf, the final start of her career, was shipped to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., Sunday morning to have her ailing left eye treated. Later in the day, Fantastic Song and Dayatthespa were scheduled to be shipped from Churchill Downs to Brown’s barn at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.
 Japanese breeder Teruya Yoshida purchased the 5yo mare Stacelita from owner Martin Schwartz, and she will eventually be shipped to Japan. Although Stacelita was cleared to run in the Filly & Mare Turf, and Brown said the injury suffered in the Flower Bowl at Belmont Park probably didn’t affect her in the race, the two-time Grade I winner was sent to the hospital. Stacelita’s eye was apparently struck by a chunk of turf during the Flower Bowl, and developed an ulcer.   
“She will have her eye checked out real well,” Brown said. “And getting a more thorough exam in a clinic environment will be better for her now that she’s not under any stress of training.”
Brown said a poor trip had much to do with her performance in the race Friday.
“She’s not a horse with a big turn of foot,” Brown said. “Her main asset is her high cruising speed. For most of the race she was placed OK, in that she was saving all the ground on the inside. But when you get that late into a race, at that distance, it’s hard to get stopped and restart again, especially for a horse (in which) that’s not her main asset.
“I think it’s more the trip did us in. I’m not going to use the eye much (as an excuse), but it’s unfortunate that she wasn’t 100 percent all month preparing for the race because I do think she’s the best grass filly in the country. In a perfect world, I would have wished that this never happened and that I had her 100 percent. The two races where we had her 100 percent (the Beverly D. and the Flower Bowl), she showed her stuff. I think she probably deserves the Eclipse Award.
“There were two legitimate excuses, not that we like to use them, but I don’t think anyone really stepped up this weekend and proved that they are better than her. For what it’s worth, I do think she deserves it.”
Brown said he expects big things from Fantastic Song in the 3-year-old division next year.
“The race was just a little short for him,” Brown said. “He was making a good run through the lane, I thought, and he galloped out extremely well. Obviously, I came here to win, and I’m disappointed that the horses didn’t win or hit the board.
“Overall, the race didn’t set up for him, but I think he’s going to be a good horse. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, and the jockey came back and commented on how well he was galloping out. He was really just getting warmed up near the wire. I expect big things from him next year. He’s still a little bit of an immature horse. He’s got a lot of potential.”
According to Brown, Dayatthespa didn’t handle the conditions very well on Friday afternoon.
“She was in a perfect spot all the way,” Brown said. “The ground was a little too soft for her, (jockey) Ramon (Dominguez) felt, and I did, too. She was perfectly placed, just empty. She just couldn’t get in gear on that type of turf.
“We’ll take her down to Gulfstream and campaign her in some stakes races down there. I think she’s going to be best probably seven-eighths to a mile on turf or poly. I’m going to focus on that next year for her. She’s another one with a lot of potential.”
John Salder (Switch, 2nd, Filly & Mare Sprint) – Though the California trainer had gone back home Saturday morning following Switch’s second-place finish in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Friday, the 4yo Quiet American filly stayed at Churchill Downs in Barn 36 to await a pre-dawn flight back home Monday.
Her runner-up effort in the 7f race gave her back-to-back seconds in the dash and her $180,000 check pushed her bankroll to $1,228,600.
Sadler reported that the filly would be back for another season of racing in 2012.
“She’s going to get some time off at Rancho Paseana (a training farm near Del Mar in Southern California),” Sadler said. “Then we’ll bring her back in for another full campaign. The Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita next year, and we’d like to give her a chance to win that Filly & Mare Sprint.”
Marty Jones (Tres Borrachos, 3rd, Dirt Mile) – The latest in a line of California training Jones (his dad, Gary, and his grandfather, Farrell, both were well-know conditioners in California) took pride in the third-place finish by his third Breeders’ Cup starter, Tres Borrachos, in the Dirt Mile Saturday.
“He ran his heart out,” Jones said. “He’s an old pro and he always goes out and does his job. I don’t think he liked that track very much, but he went out and did what he was supposed to do. He’s a classy old guy. (Jockey) Joel (Rosario) said he gave it his best, and he was happy with his effort.”
Jones said Tres Borrachos would be on a pre dawn flight Monday that is carrying a contingent of California-bound horses from Louisville International Airport.
“We’ll get him back home and see how he recovers,” the trainer said. “His owners were able to make it in time for the race and they had a lot of fun. They’ve got a good horse to go forward with for next year.”
John Shirreffs (Mr Commons, 5th, Mile; Harmonious, 9th, Filly & Mare Turf) – The California-based trainer reported that Mr. Commons came out of his fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Mile in good form and was aboard a plane Sunday morning headed west.
“He came back fine,” Shirreffs said of the 3yo Artie Schiller colt. “Mike (Smith) got off him and said he was real happy with the way he ran. That was a roughly run race with a lot of bumping and banging going on. He got bumped around, but fought on. That was good to see. He’s going to be fine and we’ll have a good horse for next year.”
On the same flight with Mr. Commons was Shirreffs other Breeders’ Cup runner, Harmonious, the 4yo filly who finished ninth in Friday’s Filly & Mare Turf. The trainer indicated that she would have some time off before returning to racing next season.

D. Wayne Lukas (Hamazing Destiny, 5th, Sprint; Optimizer, 8th, Juvenile) – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is still waiting for his 19th Breeders’ Cup victory, but he could at least claim he had the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, the Bill Spawr-trained Amazombie, in his barn Breeders’ Cup week.
“When I saw I wasn’t going to win (with Hamazing Destiny), I started rooting for Bill’s horse,” Lukas said.
Hamazing Destiny (ridden by Robby Albarado) finished fifth.
Lukas’ other Breeders’ Cup runner, Optimizer (Albarado), finished eighth in the Juvenile.
“He was compromised by the 13 post even more than I expected,” Lukas said.
Though losing is not one of his favorite things, Lukas said the loss in the Juvenile was made a bit more palatable by the fact that winning trainer Mike Maker is one of a number of training protégés of the Hall of Famer.
The Aidan O’Brien contingent of eight colts and three fillies shipped out of Churchill Downs Saturday night, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Wrote (ridden by Ryan Moore) and St Nicholas Abbey (Joseph O’Brien), a convincing winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
All European horses are reported to be fit and well after their efforts on Friday and Saturday, with the exception of Announce, who is still recovering from lacerations received before the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She will remain in training in the United States under the care of Breeders’ Cup Classic and Ladies’ Classic winning trainer Bill Mott.
Two other horses will remain in the States, Questing, formerly trained by John Gosden, will be heading to the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin while Shumoos, who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, will go to Ben Cecil.
A charter flight with French and English-trained runners will leave for Chicago at about 1 p.m. Sunday before heading back to Europe on Tuesday morning, and the second flight to Europe, containing the Maktoum family horses Meeznah, Farraaj, and Nahrain, will fly to Atlanta on Wednesday before heading back to England Thursday.
It has been announced that Goldikova will be retired, and it is likely that most of the Europeans have finished racing for the season, although there is a chance that a few may head to Hong Kong in December (Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races on Dec. 11) but as yet, nothing has been decided.