2011 Breeders Cup Classic
November 6, 2011 by staff
2011 Breeders Cup Classic, Drosselmeyer, named after the toymaker in the Nutcracker, staged his own magic Saturday, swooping down the Churchill Downs stretch to take the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 1½ lengths over front-running Game On Dude.
In doing so, the colt gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott one of the greatest parlays under the Twin Spires — and certainly the biggest ever held under lights. Drosselmeyer’s score at 14-1 came 23½ hours after the Mott-trained Royal Delta took the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.
“You can’t ever fathom thinking about winning two races like this on a weekend,” said Mott, Churchill’s all-time leading trainer who now has eight Breeders’ Cup victories, including the 1995 Classic with two-time Horse of the Year Cigar. “I mean, the biggest, most prestigious races of the weekend. It is special. We’ve always been lucky here.”
With the victory, Mike Smith tied Jerry Bailey as the winningest Breeders’ Cup jockey at 15 apiece. Adding to the plot lines, the last horse Smith had to pass was ridden by his one-time fiancée, Chantal Sutherland, attempting to become the first female to win America’s richest horse race.
California-based Smith, reunited with Drosselmeyer for the first time since they teamed to win the 2010 Belmont Stakes, had the chestnut colt settled toward the back of the 12-horse field for the first mile of the 1¼-mile Classic. Up ahead, Sutherland was nursing Game On Dude through solid fractions of 23.61 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 47.84 for the half before slowing down to 1:12.82 for six furlongs.
Smith came six-wide into the stretch with Drosselmeyer, when it looked like almost any horse could win. But in the final 70 yards, Drosselmeyer took command, covering the 1¼-miles in a pedestrian 2:04.27.
“Although we were far back, he was really happy,” said Smith, who a year earlier lost the Classic to Blame by a head on the previously unbeaten mare Zenyatta. “He was doing everything I asked. I felt confident he was going to run big.”
Bob Baffert, trainer of two-time Grade I winner Game On Dude, said the 4-year-old gelding didn’t see Drosselmeyer coming down out in the middle of the track.
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