Breeders' Cup Championship Saturday in Words And Pictures
by MELANIE MARTINES
Saturday came all too soon. The day racing fans have been waiting for. News of Beholder’s scratch earlier in the week did leave an air of disappointment since many were looking forward to seeing Beholder run against the boys in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, but sentimentally racing fans were hoping to experience history with our Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and the first grand slam to our sport.
A record Keeneland crowd of 50,155 racing fans came out for Saturday’s festivities. It was a very over cast and chilly day, but the weather did not damper the mood at Keeneland.
Songbird and jockey Mike Smith once again dazzled the crowd with her spectacular performance. She broke sharply and easily controlled the pace. She eventually pulled away in a hand ride to win by 5 ¾ length over Rachel’s Valentina.
Poetry in motion, as daughter of Medaglia d’Oro goes wire-to-wire.
Undefeated, she is currently the early favorite in next year’s Kentucky Oaks.
Skies the limit for this talented 2-year-old filly Songbird.
Field for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint run by a row of planes in Race 4.
Mongolian Saturday hangs on by a head and pulls an upset with jockey Florent Geroux in the Turf Sprint over Lady Shipman!
4-year-old Wavell Avenue and Joel Rosario keeps on grinding, and wins Race 5, TwinSpires G-1 Breeders’ cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Nice consistent late run by Wavell Avenue.
A very happy Joel Rosorio.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf heads toward the first turn.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes a quick look behind him.
6-year-old Stephanie’s Kitten runs late toward the inside, and bursts through an opening to the lead and wins the Filly & Mare Turf for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Thumbs up by Ken Ramsey with Stephanie’s Kitten.
Living up to all the hype Runhappy runs down Private Zone and take the G-1 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint in Race 7.
Runhappy & Edgar Prado set a track record at Keeneland
Race 8 the Longines G-1 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Filly Tepin runs second sitting right off the leader then takes the lead past the eight pole with a 5 length margin winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile against the males!
Tepin draws away, and wins easily with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard.
Jockey Julien Leparoux with newborn son Mitchell in the Winner’s Circle.
Large field in Race 9, for the Sentient Jet G-1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 2-year-old favorite Nyquist with Team O’Neil brings his game to Keeneland.
An impressive ride by jockey Mario Gutierrez.
Swipe chasing Nyquist
Nyquist is undefeated and now 5-5. He will go off as the early Kentucky Derby favorite earning him 20 points for the leader board.
Field in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, Race 10 going around the first turn with Shining Copper leading the way with a 10 length lead as the field keeps him in sight.
#9 Filly Found mid-pack in the field.
Irish filly Found chasing down Golden Horn and proved best; prevailing over the favorite.
Beautiful trip by Irish filly Found who had just ran October 17th
Jockey Ryan Moore and 3-year-old filly beats the boys.
Race 11 the much anticipated race of the day, the $5 million G-1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. There was a sentimental feeling in the air as American Pharoah loaded the gate for the very last time. American Pharoah goes straight lead.
American Pharoah sets the early pace.
Effinex on American Pharoah’s tail.
I get chills watching the race again listening to the crowd roar as our Triple Crown winner strides home in his victory as the first grand slam in our sport.
American Pharoah has stolen the forth jewel in the crown.
American Pharoah crosses the wire, and goes out in style!
Victor looks behind him after crossing the wire.
A very special moment for Trainer Bob Baffert.
The crowd cheers him on!
Ahmed Zayat, “American Pharoah is a winner” !
American Pharoah dominated his race, and will forever go down as one of the all time greats! What he did for his legacy is beyond brilliant. He is a special horse that is so power and talented; yet so calm and gentle. It’s not often that we get a chance to meet a special horse like this. We’ve waited 37 years for a Triple Crown winner, and this moment will forever go down in racing history. We experienced the first grand slam moment in our sport! I feel so privileged to have spent the week in Keeneland documenting these moments, and I feel so privileged to have been able to capture history in my photographs.