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New York Was Path To Victory For Many In Breeders’ Cup

By Jenny Kellner | 11/04/2012 09:55 AM ET
Fort Larned
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

New York was the steppingstone to Breeders’ Cup victory for an elite group of thoroughbreds including Classic winner Fort Larned, Juvenile hero Shanghai Bobby, Mile winner Wise Dan and Royal Delta, who scored a repeat victory in the Ladies Classic.

Among New York-based jockeys, Rajiv Maragh was the big winner at Santa Anita Park, taking the Juvenile Sprint with Hightail and the Filly & Mare Sprint with Groupie Doll. Two-time defending Eclipse Award winner Ramon Dominguez, the leading rider on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit, won the Turf with Little Mike,  John Velazquez scored in the Mile aboard Wise Dan and Javier Castellano brought home Zagora in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Fort Larned’s thrilling triumph over a game Mucho Macho Man in the Classic was the culmination of a campaign that based him during the summer at Saratoga Race Course, where he scored his first Grade 1 victory of the year in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney Invitational Handicap. The E Dubai colt then returned to New York for the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, finishing third, before outdueling Grade 2 Suburban Handicap winner Mucho Macho Man to the wire in the Classic. Gold Cup winner Flat Out completed the sweep by finishing third.

Trained by Ian Wilkes for Janis Whitham, Fort Larned is 5-1-1 from nine 2012 starts with earnings of nearly $3.6 million.

The undefeated Shanghai Bobby was the seventh Breeders’ Cup winner for Belmont Park-based Todd Pletcher, who trains the Harlan’s Holiday colt for the partnership of Starlight Racing and Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Shanghai Bobby ran his record to 5-for-5 by heading He’s Had Enough in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile. With Napravnik aboard, Shanghai Bobby debuted in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, won the Track Barron overnight stakes in June at Belmont, captured the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful in September at Saratoga Race Course and scored by an impressive five lengths in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne in October at Belmont.

Like Fort Larned, the Charles Lopresti-trained Wise Dan was based at Saratoga during the summer, where he launched his four-race winning streak that culminated in the Mile with a five-length triumph in the Grade 2 Fourstardave on the turf.

As well, Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail, who broke his maiden in high style to give D. Wayne Lukas his 19th Breeders’ Cup victory, made four starts at the Spa out of the Hall of Fame trainer’s Saratoga barn during the summer.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Besilu Stables, the 4-year-old Royal Delta dispatched a pair of undefeated champions in her Ladies’ Classic repeat, finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of 2011 juvenile filly title-holder My Miss Aurelia, with 2010’s 2-year-old filly champ Awesome Feather finishing sixth. The New York-based Royal Delta prepped for the Ladies’ Classic with a 9 ½-length triumph in the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational in October at Belmont.

The victory was the ninth in a Breeders’ Cup event for Mott, who took last year’s Classic with Drosselmeyer in addition to Royal Delta’s win in the 2011 Ladies’ Classic.

Zagora, who also is based in New York, gave trainer Chad Brown his second victory in a Breeders’ Cup race when she pulled off a 9-1 upset of the Filly & Mare Turf. The 5-year-old French mare, owned by Martin Schwartz, won the Grade 2 Ballston Spa presented by Jose Cuervo at Saratoga this summer and finished second in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont immediately prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

Sprint winner Trinniberg made three trips from his Florida base to the NYRA circuit in 2012, emerging with a pair of victories comprising the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct in April and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by VisitNassauCounty.com in May at Belmont. In the Sprint, he outfinished fellow 3-year-old The Lumber Guy, the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational winner who is trained by Belmont-based Mike Hushion for Barry K. Schwartz.

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course) through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2011, more than 1.8 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.1 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including www.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com. You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.