Breeders’ Cup Countdown Presented By DRF Bets: Don’t I Know You From The Stallion Register?

by | 10.28.2018 | 3:34pm
Rainbow Heir seen winning the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint

If you skimmed the pre-entries for the Breeders' Cup Classic and thought, ‘Toast of New York? I thought he retired years ago,' don't worry. You're not losing your mind. (Or if you are, this is not your sign.)

Indeed, the winner of the 2014 Grade 2 UAE Derby did retire to stud in 2015, but he's back. (He actually returned to Grade 1 competition in early 2018 in the G1 Pegasus World Cup but finished a forgettable twelfth.)

Toast of New York isn't the only Breeders' Cup entry this year pulling a Brett Favre —Rainbow Heir is also back, after having retired to Ocala Stud earlier this year. Rainbow Heir, pointing for the Turf Sprint, has had just one race since then, a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Stakes in September. However, he resumed timed workouts in July, which means he wasn't out of action much longer than a horse dealing with a soft tissue injury.

Trainer Jason Servis told the Daily Racing Form Rainbow Heir's return to the races was something of a compromise with owner Ebby Novak of New Farm. Servis wanted to keep running the horse in February, but Novak already had the deal with Ocala. Instead, he promised Servis he could have the horse back after the breeding season, during which he covered 40 mares. Ocala Stud is advertising the horse on their roster in 2019.

As for Toast of New York, the horse was preparing for the 2015 Dubai World Cup when he suffered a slight tendon tear. After a few attempts to bring him back, owner Al Shaqab decided to retire him to stud at their base in Qatar. There, he was bred to 15 mares during the 2016 season and got 10 in foal. He was lightly raced at that point with eight career starts, so his connections decided to bring him back.

“There is a huge amount of good will around this horse,” Harry Herbert, Al Shaqab racing manager, told the Gulfstream Park press office ahead of the Pegasus. “I think anyone involved in racing would really wish him well and hopes he runs a big race and comes back safe. These stories don't happen very often. To have got this far, it's a wonderful, wonderful tale. Racing surprises all the time. There is always something. There is always another story around the corner, but this is pretty unique one and just to have him turn up and run, and hopefully run a decent race and come back safe and sound, will be a triumph in itself.”

Historically, it's not uncommon for a horse to stand stud for a period of time and resume training when things don't work out. The ill-fated European star George Washington retired a dual European champion in 2006 ut was found to be infertile in early 2007. He resumed training soon after and was entered in that year's Breeders' Cup Classic, where he suffered a fracture to his sesamoid and was euthanized.

Other Breeders' Cup contestants have also gone into retirement and come back again. Masochistic, who finished second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2016, was retired in March of this year but resumed light training with Kristin Mulhall, according to a report from The Blood-Horse. In the 1980s, Precisionist retired but proved unable to get mares in foal. The winner of the 1985 Breeders' Cup Sprint retired in 1986 and came back to run in the 1988 edition of the race, where he finished fifth.

Going further back, a number of popular runners, including Seabiscuit, Stymie, Black Gold, and Assault made returns to the racetrack after covering a few mares. Writing for the Daily Racing Form, Mary Simon compiled a number of examples through the years of great runners who were found to be infertile or unpopular at stud. The oddest case was doubtlessly that of Shellscrape, an Australian Group 1 winner who seemed to be subfertile and bizarrely, produced a number of offspring born without tails.

 

Breeders' Cup Trivia
By Scott Jagow

Think you know your Breeders' Cup history? Let's find out. Answers further down in this post. No Googling!

1. Who's the only person to have won a Breeders' Cup race as both as a jockey and a trainer?
2. Two Breeders' Cup winning mares have each produced sires who won a BC race. Those sires then each produced Breeders' Cup winners.  Who are they?
3. One dam has accounted for four Breeders' Cup winning races. No other dam has produced more than two. Who is she?
4. Who's the oldest horse to win a Breeders' Cup race?
5. Who's the youngest trainer to win a Breeders' Cup race?
6. Which Breeders' Cup winning sire has the most progeny earnings and most BC winners? For bonus points, name the winners.
7. Jockey Mike Smith has a commanding lead with 26 Breeders' Cup wins during his career and more than $35 million in earnings. Who is tied for 2nd in wins and is alone in second for most earnings?
8. Bob Baffert has earned the most money as a trainer at the Breeders' Cup (14 wins, $27.6 million), but who has the most victories?
9. The U.S. has obviously produced the most BC winners (253) but which country has the second most?
10. Who has the biggest winning margin in Breeders' Cup history?


Sacco Has ‘Genuine Horse' Heading Into Breeders' Cup Juvenile
By Chelsea Hackbarth

Gregory Sacco, 52, remembers running around a shed row at Monmouth Park when he was small enough to go right under the racehorses' webbings. Alongside his brother, who is 15 months younger, Sacco started hot walking at just 8 years of age.

His father, William Sacco, trained New Jersey-bred Thoroughbreds throughout his career, making the circuit between Monmouth, Atlantic City and Garden State Park his home. The elder Sacco amassed a number of stakes winners, saddling more New Jersey breeders' futurity winners than any other trainer at the time and even netted the leading trainer title at Monmouth in 1962.

Bill Sacco passed in 2009 at the age of 87, but he would be extraordinarily proud of his son's latest training accomplishment: Greg Sacco saddled Mind Control to be the family's first Grade 1 winner in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.

“It was just a great feeling, personally, but also for the whole family,” said Sacco. “It's hard to put into words because a lot of people never get the opportunity to train a horse like this… Winning a Grade I [at Saratoga] is almost beyond your wildest dreams.”

Mind Control is a 2-year-old son of Stay Thirsty out of the stakes-winning mare Feel That Fire (also trained by Greg Sacco). The colt races as a homebred for John Brunetti's Red Oak Stable for whom Bill Sacco had trained for more than 25 years.

“He was just very smart when he came in to the track,” Sacco said of Mind Control. “Once you show him something once, he's okay with it. After a few works, my exercise rider of 15 years told me he thought the horse was going to be special. He just does everything easy, and nothing really rattles him.”

In the Hopeful, his third career start, Mind Control had to endure pace pressure all the way through the far turn and was still able to fend off the stretch challenge from the highly-touted Mucho (Bill Mott) to win by three parts of a length. His final time for seven furlongs was 1:22.99.

Mind Control is now preparing to go in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Friday,  despite missing a scheduled start in the Breeders' Futurity due to a last-minute fever.

“I don't think the distance will give him limitations,” Sacco said of the Juvenile. “The way he's trained and galloped out last race, he's just a genuine horse. He has a ton of ability the main thing is that he's so smart. He acts like an older horse and does everything right.

For a young horse, it's a big plus.”

 

Breeders' Cup Trivia Answers

1. Who is the only person to have won a Breeders' Cup race as both as a jockey and a trainer?
Freddie Head, won the Mile back-to-back on Miesque (1987, 1988); as a trainer, Head won the Mile three straight years with Goldikova (2008-2010).

2. Two Breeders' Cup winning mares have each produced sires who won a BC race. Those sires then each produced Breeders' Cup winners.  Who are they?
Hollywood Wildcat (1993 Distaff) – War Chant (2000 Mile) – Chamberlain Bridge (2010 Turf Sprint)

Personal Ensign (1988 Distaff) – My Flag (1995 Juv. Fillies) – Storm Flag Flying (2002 Juv. Fillies)

3. One dam has accounted for four Breeders' Cup winning races. No other dam has produced more than two. Who is she?
Leslie's Lady was the dam of Beholder, winner of three BC races and 2017 Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn.

4. Who's the oldest horse to win a Breeders' Cup race?
Calidoscopio (ARG) won the 2012 BC Marathon at age 9

5. Who's the youngest trainer to win a BC race?
Craig Dollase (age 27) with Reraise in the 1998 Sprint

6. Which Breeders' Cup winning sire has the most progeny earnings at the World Championships — and the most BC winners (6)? Bonus, name the winners
Unbridled's Song won the Juvenile in 1995. He has produced the following winners:
Unbridled Elaine, 2001 Distaff
Midshipman, 2008 Juvenile
Unrivaled Belle, 2010 Distaff
Liam's Map, 2015 Dirt Mile
Arrogate, 2016 Classic
Forever Unbridled, 2017 Distaff
Total Earnings: $10,922,400

7. Jockey Mike Smith has a commanding lead with 26 Breeders' Cup wins during his career and more than $35 million in earnings. Who is tied for 2nd in wins and is alone in second for most earnings?
John Velazquez (tied with Jerry Bailey with 15 wins, more than $25 million in earnings)

8. Bob Baffert has earned the most money as a trainer at the Breeders' Cup (14 wins, $27.6 million), but who has the most victories?
D. Wayne Lukas (20, $22.5 million)

9. The U.S. has obviously produced the most Breeders' Cup winners (253) but which country has the second most?
Ireland (28)

10. Who has the biggest winning margin in Breeders' Cup history?
Inside Information won the 1995 Distaff by 13 1/2 lengths

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