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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Breeders' Cup recap

This was my fifth in-person Breeders' Cup and third at Santa Anita.  The other two were at Hollywood Park and Arlington Park.  I won a contest on Twitter which included four Grandstand seats for Saturday only which included admission and program along with a signed hat by the winning jockey of the Classic.  Thank you Lockerdome!

The seats were not bad, but as you can see the finish line was a furlong away and the retail price was $200 each.  No way would I pay that much for these and it seemed obvious not too many others did either as the section I was in and further down were pretty empty.

I'm guessing the section that was most crowded in the picture was the least expensive seats while closest to the finish line.  

In past Breeders' Cups I've attended, it was usually a routine of standing in the betting lines for at 20 minutes for each race with large crowds surrounding the area.  Well, that was not the case in this area as wagering was no problem.

I would not be surprised to see a substantial decrease in the price of these seats next year as I was surprised that attendance was up for both days.  The plus side of this was that it was a really relaxed atmosphere and wagering was no problem.  

The first Breeders' Cup race was the Juvenile Fillies and while it turned out to be a controversial finish, it was really sad to see the breakdown of Secret Compass.  I don't think too many fans witnessed it, though, as there was not that "ohhh" you hear when something dramatic happens.  I did not see it either, but I could see that the horse was injured and I knew it was not good.  

Fortunately, that was the only significant injury that happened the rest of the card.  I collected my first winner with the Dank-Romantica Exacta for $11.60.  I followed my betting list almost to a tea throughout the day and I was never close in the following three races. 

I turned it around with the 9th race, the Turf, as Magician at a generous 12/1 wore down favored The Fugue to kick off my Double wager.  Secret Circle was one of my three key plays of the day and he just held on to win the Sprint giving me a payoff of $110.20.  I knew then not only was I going home with cash in my wallet, I would also have a winning Breeders' Cup.

In the Mile, Wise Dan proved he was the best turf miler in this country as he overcame a troubled trip to win at odds-on.  This is where I added to my betting list as I played a $5 Double from Wise Dan to Mucho Macho Man in the Classic.  Wise Dan also received a nice applause when he returned to the winner's circle which is always nice to hear.

The Classic was next and there were cheers from the crowd as every horse was introduced.  The biggest cheer was for the favorite Game On Dude with the next loudest for Mucho Macho Man.  The race proved to be one for the ages as Mucho Macho Man held off the 3-year-old Will Take Charge and the foreign invader Declaration Of War in a thrilling three-horse photo.  

I actually think Will Take Charge was in front just before the wire, but he lost the head bob at the wire.  It was fun cheering on Mucho Macho Man in the stretch and keying a Double that returned $19.20 for every $2 wagered.  My winnings for the day was $100.20.  Of course as you noticed, all these wins were in the late Pick 4 which I did not wager.  That paid $381.45 for a $.50 bet.  

The celebrity performances by Toni Braxton and Kristin Chenowith received solid applause from the crowd and was well-deserved.  However, we have to question the Richie Sambora performance of a 12 second guitar solo which I think received maybe three claps.

Six of the nine Breeders' Cup races had payoffs of $10.00 or less and that is probably why handle was up as many people collected and churned it back into the pools. 

I did spend the day with a pair of friends I met at my time at U of A and I hadn't seen them in 13 years.  It was great to catch up and we promised it would not be another 13 years for the next meet-up.  

As I was leaving the track and headed to the car, I ran into another RTIP friend of mine Jim Mulvihill.  It was amazing how we each left from different places of the track and at the same time to meet in the darkness of the parking lot.

And of course, there is not a complete day at the races without dinner with another RTIP friend and current horse identifier Jennifer Paige.  

The day started at 6:00 am as my wife and I made the journey to Santa Anita and we did not get home until around midnight.  We were both beat, but it was worth it to enjoy a day at the Breeders' Cup!

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