Afleet Again posted a 41-1 upset in the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs over runner-up Birdrun. Giant Oak finished third, in front of Pleasant Prince.
Afleet Again, a 4-year-old son of Afleet Alex, is trained by Robert Reid, Jr. for Kasey K Racing Stable. He was ridden to victory by Cornelio Velasquez.
Running time for the mile and three-quarters was 3:00.39. Afleet Again returned $85.20, $35.80, and $13.80.
Two runners had trouble in the race. Meeznah was eased due to fatigue but vets said she appeared fine after the race. A.U. Miner sustained a sesamoid fracture in the left front fetlock joint and will be evaluated at Rood and Riddle equine hospital in Lexington. Surgery will be scheduled for early next week.
The race was essentially a war of attrition as Pleasant Prince led for much of the 1 3/4-miles, but rounding the final turn, Cease surged to the front with several pursuers, including Afleet Again, who came from well back in the field. Cease lost his edge in mid-stretch as Afleet Again punched to the front on the grandstand side to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Birdrun, who edged out Giant Oak by a head.
Afleet Again came into the race 0-8 in 2011 and one for his last 17. Click here for race chart.
Robert Reid (trainer, Afleet Again, 1st) – “He ran fabulously. It's so rare to get this kind of distance, so we decided to take a shot. We always thought he could go this far. There's no limit to how far he can run. When I saw a 48 (fraction) for the first half and we were only seven or eight lengths out of it, I thought we were in pretty good shape.”
Cornelio Velasquez (jockey, Afleet Again, 1st) – “I rode this horse in the Travers (4th in 2010), and he has one pace all the way. I stayed behind the speed, and at the quarter-pole, put him in the clear. And I had a lot of horse. I like this horse. He needs a strong ride. In the last five-sixteenths I had a lot of horse. The jockey on the four (Joel Rosario on Pleasant Prince) sent his horse at the quarter pole. At the three-eighths I pulled the trigger.”
Bill Mott (trainer, Birdrun, 2nd) – “He ran well. He tried hard. Funny enough, the horse that won it, we'd been beating him all year long, every time. Hey, it was his turn today. I'm glad for those people; he's been chasing us around there all year long.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Birdrun, 2nd) – “I knew we were going kind of fast early and I tried to get him back, but he wanted to go. I finally got a hold of him and was able to get him to settle. Then, when that horse (leader Pleasant Prince) took off once more, he wanted to go again. I didn't think I'd have enough (horse), but he kept going, and at the five-sixteenths (pole) I thought I could win the whole thing. He just kept going. He ran a really good race.”
Chris Block (trainer, Giant Oak, 3rd) – “I thought he got a good trip. (Jockey) Shaun (Bridgmohan) did a good job getting him settled in there. He was a little keener than you'd want going a mile and three-quarters, but that's going to happen with a horse coming off a mile and a-quarter and a mile and an-eighth race. Shaun did a real good job getting him settled. We took our shot at the head of the stretch. The horse ran hard, he just ran out of gas the last sixteenth.”
Shaun Bridgmohan (jockey, Giant Oak, 3rd) – “This horse tries hard every time. He got a little strong with me early on, but then he settled into a good rhythm. We had a good trip and we got beat only a head for second.”
David Lanigan (trainer, Meeznah, eased) – “She seemed to be going OK until she came past the stands. And then, according to (jockey Tom) Queally, she took a bad step. And then was never going after that.”
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