- The Breeders Cup seems like an eon ago after the stunning events of the last 36 hours. It takes a lot to shut me up, but I've been thrown way off-track. I did want to dwell on a few more things though, and besides, what else to we have to discuss for the next couple of weeks anyway? So let's talk about the Mile. Watching the pre-race interview with Gorella's owner Martin Schwartz and the post-race one with Miesque's Approval's trainer Martin Wolfson and his wife, you really saw the emotions that our sport evokes in its human participants. Schwartz, the owner of Gorella, was just beaming in the paddock before the race; it was like his daughter was about to take the stage to show off her talent to the world, and he couldn't wait for everyone to see just how fabulous she is.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see her on her best day. Her effort in the First Lady, just three weeks before, was apparently more taxing than I thought, and her dull 7th place finish was one of several real disappointments of the day. A look back at her running lines show that her only other U.S. out-of-the-money finish, a 5th in the Turf Classic last year, was also after three weeks rest. But there's good news here, and that is the fact that, according to Patrick Biancone, she came out of the race fine and, better yet, will race again next year. Perhaps she'll have a chance to make amends at Monmouth.
As for Miesque's Approval, we've already discussed this in the comments section, but I still think that he was not at all an illogical winner off his recent form. His recent Beyers were comparable with those of Gorella, with the exception of her last race (which I guess was too fast for her).
He was four-for-six this year coming in, and was in the best form of his career, which spans some 39 races now. It was the climax of a stunning (there's that word again) turnaround under Wolfson after his last race for Bill Mott, a 6th in a $50,000 claimer late last year. This horse was competitive in G2/3 races and flashed triple digit Beyers back in 2002 and 2003, but had been basically a high-priced claimer since; and that 50K race represented a 50% tag sale for him. But he dominated the Mile, blowing past the field from dead last and widest of all coming around the turn for home; this in a final quarter of 23.4!
And all at the age of seven. I think that he's one of the more fascinating stories of the day, but it's almost completely lost amidst everything else that happened. And once again, I believe that that's one of the problems with eight championship races in one day. There's no way for the sport to mine all the stories for the attention they deserve.
The appearance of Wolfson and his wife Karla after the race was one of the more bizarre moments of the broadcast. Either overcome with emotion or the beginning of a new wave of pod people, the pair looked more like what I imagine Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice looked like on Wednesday morning than winning connections in a $2 million race.
ESPN did some of their best work in this race, other than the disoreinting overhead and close-up turn shots that they used all day. Trevor Denman almost got out of the race unscathed, picking up the winner's wide move (perhaps they don't rally on the inside much on the Left Coast), but calling him "Mystique's Approval" the first time through the field. Besides the aforementioned interviews, there were pre-race interviews with Aiden O'Brien, who had Ad Valorem and the no-shot Aussie Rules in the race, and a particularly revealing and frank chat with Godolphin's Simon Crisford. If you had bet on Librettist before hearing what Crisford had to say about him, you were rushing to try and cancel the bet. He basically told the TV audience that the horse had no shot. (And he has now been retired to stud.)
Araafa was a major disappointment. As Walter mentioned, ESPN had the prominent UK bookmaker Simon Clare on, and he touted Araafa up and down. His trainer Jeremy Nosada offered "no excuses." Aragorn ran well for second, and Badge of Silver ran on well for third. Bobby Frankel will nominate Badge of Silver to the Citation Handicap (G1) on November 24 at Hollywood Park and Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) on November 25 at Aqueduct for the horse's final start. [Thoroughbred Times]
- Miesque's Approval is by Miesque's Son, a son of Mr. Prospecter who stands in France and shuttles to Brazil. He's out of a With Approval mare, and he's a half to the G1 turf winner Revved Up.
- From the website of the Wall Street Journal:
Race-track loving politicos have taken note that a horse named Rove also lost big on Election Day—but at Churchill Downs, not Washington.
The four-year-old colt—no relation to Bush political adviser Karl Rove [I didn't write that folks; it's straight from the most conservative newspaper you can find-ed.] —went off 9th [??-ed.] in the 2nd race at the famous Kentucky track on Tuesday, and finished dead last. “Rove was always outrun,” said the track’s own synopsis of the race, which occurred on a sloppy track.
Unlike the human Rove, the equine version has raced six times and never won. Provoking still more grins among the politically minded horse set is that the winner of the race was none other than a chestnut colt named…Special Interest.