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Vino Rosso surges to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Mongolian Groom suffers catastrophic injury

KyForward staff

Arcadia, CA – Vino Rosso charged to victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in dominating fashion.

Vino Rosso gave trainer Todd Pletcher his first win in the classic with the 4 1/4 length victory over favored McKinzie.

“It’s one thing that was missing,” Pletcher said. “It feels great.’’

Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. celebrates in the winner’s circle with the connections of Vinno Rosso following Saturday’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita ( photos by Mark Hansel, click to enlarge).

In his most recent race, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park September 28, Vino Rosso was disqualified and placed second to Code of Honor. Code of Honor was heavily backed as the second choice in the Classic, but was not a factor and finished seventh.

Vino Rosso raced three wide into the first turn and remained off the rail for most of the race. He moved up three-deep into the stretch, then moved by McKinzie at the eight pole and drew away for a convincing win.

McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert, was clearly second, followed by Higher Power and Elate, a mare taking on the boys.

Vino Rosso, under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished the race in 2:02.80 and paid $11.20, $5.80 and $4.

The race was marred when Mongolian Groom suffered a catastrophic injury in the stretch and had to be euthanized.

The death was the 37th by a horse at Santa Anita since December and was a source of concern going into the Breeders’ Cup. Animal rights groups had been critical of Santa Anita, and the sport in general, because of the rise in equine fatalities.

The Breeders’ Cup released a statement, excerpted here, following the race:

“Mongolian Groom sustained an injury in the Breeders’ Cup Classic today and was immediately attended to by an expert team of veterinarians, led by board certified veterinary surgeon Dr. Ryan Carpenter. During their evaluation at the equine hospital at Santa Anita, they observed a serious fracture to his left hind limb. Radiographs were taken and a complete evaluation was performed. Given the extent of the injury, Dr. Carpenter, in consultation with Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, veterinary surgeon and professor emeritus at Colorado State University, Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board, and attending veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker, recommended humane euthanasia of Mongolian Groom…

“The death of Mongolian Groom is a loss to the entire horse racing community. Our equine and human athletes’ safety is the Breeders’ Cup’s top priority. We have worked closely with Santa Anita leading up to the World Championships to promote enhanced equine safety. Santa Anita has implemented numerous industry-leading reforms to enhance the existing health and safety measures with the intent of providing a safe racing environment.”


Bricks and Mortar capped off a brilliant year with a spectacular win in Saturday’s $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. raises his arms in the air as Bricks and Mortar is led into the winner’s circle following his win in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The win caps off a perfect 2019 campaign and could result in Eclipse Award Horse of the Year honors

The win today was the seventh consecutive victory for the Chad Brown trainee who remained a perfect six for six in 2019 with five grade 1 wins.

Acclimate shot right to the front along with Bandu and the pair set fractions of :24.81, :48.44, and 1:13.26. Close behind was the even-money post time favorite Bricks and Mortar followed by Anthony Van Dyke.

United and Channel Maker were also up close with the field strung out behind as they made their way 1 ½ miles around the Santa Anita turf course.

As they approached the final turn, Acclimate and Bandu continued to lead while United moved up into third.

Bricks and Mortar, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, sat comfortably in fifth and waited to make a final big move. With seemingly perfect timing, Bricks and Mortar shot like a cannon to the front to duel it out with United who had taken up the lead in the stretch.

Bricks and Mortar, with his perfect 2019 record on the line, got the best of United and finished first by a head for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Anthony Van Dyck continued on for third followed by Zulu Alpha and Alounak.

Bricks and Mortar returned $4.00 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.40 to show. United brought back $25.60 to place and $13.00 to show, while Anthony Van Dyck paid $4.00 to show.


Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize shot to the lead at the top of the stretch and withstood a late run from the favored Midnight Bisou to champion Saturday’s $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Blue Prize with Joe Bravo aboard upset heavily favored Midnight Bisou to win Saturday’s $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Breaking from post 11 under Joe Bravo at 8/1 odds, Blue Prize settled comfortably into mid-pack early while Serengeti Empress posted opening fractions of :22.98 and :46.68.

Still in seventh heading into the far turn, Bravo pushed “go” and Blue Prize began to roll.

Third by the time she reached the top of the stretch, Blue Prize passed Serengeti Empress at the 1/8 pole and began drawing off.

The Ignacio Correas IV trainee hit the wire 1 1/2 lengths clear of the even-money top choice Midnight Bisou. Serengeti Empress was 3 1/4 lengths behind in third, with Ollie’s Candy and Dunbar Road rounding out the top five.

Blue Prize returned $19.80 to win, $5.60 to place, and $4.20 to show. Midnight Bisou brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Serengeti Empress paid $6 to show.


Uni was outstanding in Saturday’s $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park. At odds of 7-2, the Chad Brown trainee exploded from midpack late and won by a convincing 1 ½ lengths.

Uni (#11) storms past Got Stormy in the stretch to win the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Hey Gaman shot from the thirteen-post and flew straight up to the front by the time they hit the first turn.

El Tormenta also rushed up to the front to challenge Hey Gaman on the lead and the duo set fractions of :22.78, :45.32, and 1:09.27 as they were followed by Bowies Hero and True Valour.

The 3-1 post-time favorite Got Stormy sat midpack and Uni sat a few more lengths back in a comfortable stalking position. Into the final turn, Got Stormy moved up to third and immediately looked to be the horse to beat.

Uni, who was ridden by Joel Rosario, shot forward on the outside and went straight by Got Stormy who settled for second. Without Parole finished third, followed by Circus Maximus and Bowies Hero.

Uni returned $9.20 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.60 to show. Got Stormy brought back $4.80 to place and $3.40 to show, while Show paid $5.60 to show.

The Northern Kentucky Tribune is onsite for all of the action at the 2019 Breeders' Cup Saturday card, capped off with Vino Rosso's win in the Classic.

Posted by Mark Hansel on Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Northern Kentucky Tribune is onsite for all of the action at the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Saturday card, capped off with Vino Rosso’s win in the Classic.


William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Mitole gunned down a loose-on-the-lead Shancelot in the final stages to win Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Mitole (#4) prepares to go by Shancelot (#6) to capture the Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Breaking from post 4 at 9/5 odds under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Mitole flashed early speed but soon took back and allowed Shancelot to set fractions of :21.47 and :44.04. Mitole stalked from fourth while Matera Sky and Firenze Fire tracked the leader from second and third, respectively.

Mitole launched a bid three-wide through the far turn and began slowly reeling in the pacesetter. At the 1/16 pole, Mitole shot past Shancelot before drawing off to win. The Steve Asmussen trainee completed the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track in a final time of 1:09.00. Shancelot stayed on for second over Whitmore and Engage.

Mitole returned $5.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Shancelot brought back $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while Whitmore paid $5 to show.

Filly & Mare Turf

A patient ride and huge late burst of speed was the key to success for Iridessa who won Saturday’s $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita Park. The three-year-old filly is trained by Joseph O’Brien and owned by Mrs. C.C. Regalado-Gonzalez.

The connections of Irish-bred Iridessa welcome their victorious charge into the winner’s circle at the conclusion of the Breeders’Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Mirth shot to the front and set speedy fractions of :23.45, :46.45, and 1:09.68 as the rest of the field lined up behind her. Vasilika was patiently off the leader followed in line by Iridessa and Castle Lady. The 4-5 post time favorite Sistercharlie sat back mid-pack. Into the final turn, Mirth’s monster lead began to dwindle and the rest of the field picked it up as they approached the top of the stretch. Sistercharlie flew up from the rear but it was too little and too late. The well-positioned Iridessa, ridden by Wayne Lordan, was able to fight off Vasilika to win by a neck. Sistercharlie settled for third followed by Fanny Logan and Just Wonderful.

Iridessa returned $28.40 to win, $11.20 to place, and $5.00 to show. Vasilika brought back $5.40 to place and $3.20 to show, while Sistercharlie paid $2.20 to show.

Dirt Mile

Robert Donaldson’s Spun to Run broke on top and never looked back, taking the field of 10 coast to coast before winning Saturday’s $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Spun to Run (#3) draws clear to win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Bursting from post 3 at 9/1 odds under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Spun to Run immediately asserted himself on the front end before posting opening fractions of :23.05 and :46.51. The Korean invader Blue Chipper kept closest watch, but off the far turn, nobody was able to chase down the loose-on-the-lead Spun to Run.

The 4/5 favorite Omaha Beach made a four-wide move in the far turn from near the rear, but his efforts proved too little, too late. Spun to Run crossed 2 3/4 lengths much the best in a final time of 1:36.58 for the mile-long event over the fast main track. Omaha Beach was 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Blue Chipper, who faded in the stretch but stayed on for third over Snapper Sinclair.

Spun to Run returned $20.20 to win, $7 to place, and $4.80 to show. Omaha Beach brought back $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show, while Blue Chipper paid $6 to show.

Turf Sprint

Breaking from the outside, Belvoir Bay shot like a bullet out of the gate and wired the field in Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

At odds of 14-1, the six-year-old mare Belvoir Bay went right to the front and never looked back as she set blazing fractions of :21.47 and :43.13. She never slowed a bit as she cruised to the wire with a track record-breaking final time of 54.83.

Shekky Shebaz and Final Frontier also broke well but never stood a chance against the speedy Belvoir Bay. Om also made a nice late run and looked ready to challenge but couldn’t get up in time and settled for second.

Shekky Shebaz finished third, Final Frontier was fourth, and the 7-2 post time favorite Pure Sensation was fifth.

Belvoir Bay returned $31.60 to win, $14.40 to place, and $7.60 to show. Om brought back $13.80 to place and $7.60 to show, while Shekky Shebaz paid $5.60 to show.

Filly and Mare Sprint

LNJ Foxwoods’ favored Covfefe raced around the wall of horses blocking her access and took off in the stretch to conquer Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

More than 60,000 fans flocked to Santa Anita Saturday for day two of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup.

Breaking from the rail under Joel Rosario as the 3/2 favorite, Covfefe took back slightly and ran a few paths off of the rail. Ahead of her, Danuska’s My Girl and Heavenhasmynikki dueled through opening fractions of :22.13 and :44.78.

The two sophomore fillies were much the best of the rest, as Dawn the Destroyer was a late-running third, 7 3/4 lengths behind. She nailed Spiced Perfection by a 1/2-length at the wire, while Danuska’s My Girl faded to fifth. Come Dancing, Selcourt, Lady Ninja, and a tired Heavenhasmynikki completed the order of finish.

Covfefe’s win was her third straight and improved her career record to 8-6-0-1. The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, purchased as a yearling for $250,000, has now earned $1,110,025.

Covfefe returned $5 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3 to show. Bellafina brought back $5 to place and $3.60 to show, while Dawn the Destroyer paid $6.60 to show.

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