Breeders’ Cup 2010

Nov 8th 2010 07:54 pm | Tags:

For a racing fan, one of the best brags is the ability to say: “I was there.” On November 6, 2010 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, “I was there”….and saw two of the best race mares of their generation turn out spectacular and historic performances. While only one ended in victory, their efforts were equally remarkable.

Goldikova, the five-year-old French-based Irish-bred miler, beat the boys yet again in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It was her third straight victory in the Mile making her the first horse to ever win three BC races. Her trainer Freddie Head owns the ultimate BC Super High-Five, he also won the Mile as a jockey aboard Miesque in 1987 and 1988. The feat is unique enough but you can add one more variable: Miseque and Golikova were both females running in open company. As Jessica Chapel suggested, if they ever start naming BC races, this would be the place to start: The Freddie Head Breeders Cup Mile. Today, it was announced Goldikova would try for win number four in Breeders Cup 2011….unbelievably good news.

Zenyatta, the formerly undefeated race mare from California, in one the most hyped races of the young decade, made her patented late charge in the Breeders Cup Classic but, for the first time in her career, she fell short, beaten by the ever-tough and well-deserved Blame. While many were disappointed, sometimes there is no shame in second. Ironically, the only flaw in an otherwise flawless race record, might turn out to be the most remembered (and maybe the best) of her career. One thing that defines a great race horse is they understand their job — they fight to hit the wire first every time they step on the track. In that respect, Zenyatta still retires with a perfect record.

This year was the first Breeders’ Cup I attended in person. I feel privileged to have been in the house at Churchill Downs for two great days of racing. For someone with an appreciation for history, my first BC couldn’t have come in a better year. I am pretty certain that Breeders Cup 2010 will be one that is remembered for many years to come. And I will forever be able to brag: “I was there.”

Here are a few images I took over the weekend:

The appropriately purple sky over Churchill Downs on Friday evening

The Distaff field breaks in a blur under the lights at Churchill

Churchill Downs prior to first post on Friday

The crowd around the paddock before the BC Mile on Saturday

Three-time BC Mile winner Goldikova

Jockey Olivier Peslier celebrates aboard Goldikova

First Dude strikes a pose as he heads back to the paddock before the Breeders Cup Classic

The aftermath -- about ten minutes after Blame beat Zenyatta in the Classic

Many thanks to Adam and Dana from Hello Race Fans! who hooked me up with the tickets for both days. They were great seats!

On Friday, I spent the morning at the Derby Museum with Helene Conway, whose father, Hall of Famer trainer James Conway, won the 1963 derby with Chateauguy. Helene is a wonderful lady and a passionate race-tracker — it was a real pleasure listening to stories about her father and her unique perspective on racing.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with former jockey Richard Migliore on Saturday. He is truly one of the nicest people you will ever meet. My friend Teresa Genero, from Brooklyn Backstretch, covering the BC for the New York Daily News and Thoroughbred Times, introduced me to “The Mig.” Teresa posted a remarkable recap of the Classic at Brooklyn Backstretch — be sure to check it out!


Filed in Breeders Cup,Churchill Downs,Goldikova,thoroughbred racing history,Zenyatta

3 Responses to “Breeders’ Cup 2010”

  1. Teresa says:

    Your pictures are amazing, especially that one of Saturday night. Gorgeous.

    Great to hang out with you–fun, fun weekend.

  2. Lynn says:

    I recently subscibed and have enjoyed reading a few of your articles and opinions. Your writing style is unique and exciting — your language along with excellent descriptive words makes me feel like I am at the race track and reminds me of how much I enjoy horse racing. I agree with your opinions and look forward to reading more. Beautiful photos, too! Thank you!

  3. heleneconway says:


    the pleasure was mine!!!!

    cannot imagine a more perfect companion to tour that museum with (my father and braulio baeza excluded)

    your talent shows thru w your wrap up of zenyatta’s greatness winning and almost winning.

    please never stop the great work you are doing!!