2017 Breeders' Cup Recap

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D.S. Williamson

November 9th, 2017

The 2017 Breeders' Cup has come and gone. It's taken me almost a week to digest all that happened this past Breeders' Cup. The Super Bowl of thoroughbred horse racing isn't something to rush to conclusions about.

Below, I've listed a few of my observations about this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Check it out!

Best Performance - Gun Runner, Breeders' Cup Classic

A half-mile in 46.31 isn't blazing. Still, Collected had every chance to run by Gun Runner in the stretch. The son of Candy Ride pulled away like it was nothing. What was really interesting to watch was how no other horses made up any ground. Some have claimed that there was a mid-track speed bias. Maybe, there was. Still, it was a blisteringly good performance from a horse that has won races at the Fairgrounds, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Oaklawn Park, Saratoga, and now Del Mar.

The What Happened Race - Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Going into the race, Good Magic was a maiden. He exited he BC Juvenile no longer a maiden. What happened? The easy answer is that jockey Corey Nakatani took Bolt D'Oro too wide around both turns. Although that had a lot to do with it, I believe Bolt D'Oro was tired going into the race. While so many horses prepped for the Breeders' Cup in August, Bolt D'Oro broke his maiden in August. He ran two races in September, peaking in the Grade 1 Frontrunner, before taking October off.

As far as Good Magic is concerned, he was supposed to run the way he did in the Juvenile. His owners purchased him for $1 million at the Keeneland September Sale.

Most Disappointing Performance - Lady Eli, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf

The great Lady Eli ran her heart out. She came up short for a couple of reasons. The first, is that she had to go incredibly wide around the final turn. By incredibly, I mean that she was all the way in the middle of the turf track. Del Mar's turf often gives an advantage to horses that save ground. She didn't save any ground. Second, she faced a deep field for the BC Filly & Mare Turf. Wuheida, the winner, has some class. No horse was as classy in the race as second place finisher Rhododendron. Dacita, who finished third, is a Grade 1 winner.

Lady Eli's performance was the most disappointing because so many wanted her to win. From a horse race running perspective, her loss makes total sense. From a horse racing fan perspective, it would have been great to see her take home the BC Filly & Mare Turf trophy.

The We Should Have Seen It Coming Race - Roy H., Breeders' Cup Sprint

Every handicapper on the planet probably should have bet on Roy H. in the BC Sprint. Many did. Roy H went off the third choice in the race. Drefong didn't pick up his feet while Kent Desormeaux aboard Roy H got close enough to Imperial Hint right out of the gate to run down that one.

Roy H should have won the Bing Crosby going away. That race was at Del Mar. So, there's no excuse for any handicapper, like me, who decided to go with any other horse on top in the BC Sprint instead of Roy H.  Oh, well. That's horse racing.