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Road to the Derby
Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Vino Rosso after winning the Classic.
The 2019 Breeders' Cup World Championships ended on Saturday with 9 races all with year-end championship implications. Just 70,423 fans were in attendance at Santa Anita Park in Louisville, Kentucky on a mostly sunny afternoon with a temperature of 55 when the Classic went to post.
Up the stretch where Mongolian Groom (blue silks with red sleeves and cap) can be seen in distress being pulled up by jockey Abel Cedillo.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 16-1 War of Will to the lead through fractions of 23.09, 47.16, and 1:10.71 while pressed by 15-1 Mongolian Groom and stalked by McKinzie. Turning for home War of Will tired as McKinzie inherited the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.35. Vino Rosso, 4th early under Irad Ortiz Jr., came out 3 wide and rallied to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths in 2:02.80. It was another 4 1/4 back to late-running 10-1 Higher Power third. Sadly, Mongolian Groom broke down at the 3/16 pole, was vanned to the equine hospital on the grounds, and after radiographs were taken, euthanized about 2 hours later when the fracture to his left hind ankle was proven irreparable.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 10 Vino Rosso Ortiz Jr. 11.20 5.80 4.00 8 McKinzie Rosario 4.80 3.60 7 Higher Power Prat 6.00 Winning Time: 2:02.80 $1 Exacta 10-8 23.80 $1 Trifecta 10-8-7 3,226.20 $1 Superfecta 10-8-7-6 1,213.00 $1 Super High Five 10-8-7-6-1 14,362.80 $1 Pick Six 1-4-11-11-9-10 55,668.80Results chart
Left: Vino Rosso in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher, celebrating his first Breeders' Cup Classic win, said, "We just felt like the last five weeks the horse has been training unbelievably well. I’ve been anxious for the race to get here and just nervous about it. It’s been a while since I came into a race of the magnitude with a horse doing this well. Every indication in his works, the way he shipped in, the way he galloped over the track. Everything was there indicating he was sitting on a lifetime best performance. So you always worry, did we ship in at the right time, but every indication was he was sitting on a big one and when it actually happens it’s very rewarding, very fulfilling, very emotional.”
Right: The trophy presentation for the Classic. Winning owner Mike Repole said, “This is unbelievable. Indescribable. We’ve won so many graded stakes, but this one feels different. Winning with Uncle Mo (Juvenile) was amazing and I knew it would take a special race to get a feeling even bigger than that. This is the one. This is the pinnacle. I was confident the whole way, but you always have doubts until you cross the wire. With a half mile to go maybe I thought he was a little too far back, but Irad can walk on water today. He’s done everything right so I just felt really good. This is so special.”
Left: Vino Rosso comes out of the tunnel as Irad Ortiz Jr. prays for safety. Ortiz said, “He was moving in the turn so, so good. He was moving so good at McKinzie. Going into the first turn I had to use him a little bit. Going onto the backside I said, ‘I’ve got a good chance if McKinzie is going to come back to me at the distance. That worked out good, he came back to me and my horse responded to me the way I expected him to and he won off on his own at the end.”
Right: Vino Rosso in the post parade.
Left: Vino Rosso parades with his flowers. Ortiz added, “I really liked the way he was working going into the race. He was doing much better in the last race. I had a lot of confidence in him and you saw how he ran.”
Right: Vino Rosso heads back to the barn with his winner's blanket. The win was Irad Ortiz Jr's 4th in the 2019 Breeders' Cup, making him this year's Shoemaker Award winner. He added, “Special day. I think (Turf winner) Bricks and Mortar is definitely the Horse of the Year. I’m so happy.”
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite McKinzie arrives at the unsaddling area. Trainer Bob Baffert said, “He ran his race. Joel rode him well. I told him to make sure he’s in front turning for home, that’s the way he likes it. But, Vino Rosso, after watching his last race I knew he’s been getting better and better and he won here going 1 1/4. He was sitting there just perfect and I knew he was going to have a lot of horse left. When Joel hit McKinzie, that’s when I knew that was it. But, he did a lot of running. I told my wife (Jill) all week that Vino Rosso was the horse to beat. McKinzie ran his heart out. He showed up.”
Right: Third place finisher Higher Power returns after the race. Trainer John Sadler said, “We were really happy with his race. He wasn’t as good out of the gate as I would have hoped and he got away a little poorly, but I was pleased overall with his race. He ran a good race. I think with a little better luck he could have been second. But, congrats to the winner today. The winner was the winner. He was very impressive. But, I think I could have been second with a little different trip. But, I was very happy with my horse’s race. I thought he ran really well. He didn’t get the trip but he ran well.”
Left: The field passes the stands first time by with War of Will on the lead.
Right: Mongolian Groom stalks the pace in second first time by. Doctors Ryan Carpenter, Wayne McIlwraith, Rick Arthur, and Vince Baker recommended he be euthanized after the fracture in the left hind leg was evaluated. Dr. Larry Bramlage will conduct an independent investigation, the results of which will be published when completed.
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