Coach Bob Buffert is in an interesting quandary, and he’s fine with him. He now has a favorite of the Kentucky Derby, a race in which he is banned.
This final twist came when his two-year-old foal Corniche won the $ 2 million Breeders ‘Cup on Friday, the first day of the two-day two-day Breeders’ Cup. Starting at the far 12th post, jockey Mike Smith pushed him forward and then lowered him to the rail where he held the lead for the rest of the 1 1/16 mile race. The winning margin was 1¾ length.
The problem with all of this is that Churchill Downs imposed Buffert on a two-year ban after this year’s Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive for an anti-inflammatory drug that is legal, except on race day. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has not yet charged Buffer with any wrongdoing or brought his case to a hearing. But Churchill Downs suspended him on the basis of a 12-month surplus of other drugs.
“Derby is still very far away, and now I’m just focusing on this, and we’ll see how it ends,” said Buffet. “There is not much to talk about now, the main thing is to preserve his health. Derby is still a long way off, so a lot can happen now and we’ll see how it ends. “
The problem with getting the horse to the Derby is that it needs qualifying points, which Buffert’s horses are not allowed to acquire due to the ban.
The owners, Peter Fluor and KC Weiner, have invested heavily in the foal, buying it for $ 1.5 million. However, if the situation is not resolved, they will have to transfer him to another coach sometime next year to collect qualifying points and then race.
“All we have is Plan A, [and that’s Baffert]Fluor said. “Bob is doing great and we have a better chance of winning this race with our friend Bob Buffert, and this is what happened. … KC and I never thought about transferring the horse to another trainer. ”
It was Cornish’s third win in three starts, all as favorites. He paid $ 4.80, $ 4, and $ 3.40. Pappacup was second, followed by Giant Game, Commandperformance, Oviatt Class, Pinehurst, American Sanctuary, Double Thunder, Barossa, Jasper Great and Tough to Tame.
Buffett said little about the Medina Spirit situation or his suspension. But after the press conference, when he traded a glass of champagne for a plastic glass of soda, he talked about it.
“It was harder [wife] Jill and the kids, ”Buffet said. “I know we haven’t done anything wrong. I know that we will cope with this when all the facts become known. I can train a horse. I stay focused.
“As for Medina Spirit, we did the right thing. We had a legal ointment approved by the FDA. … The thing is, I didn’t do anything wrong, but, unfortunately, I didn’t sign it well. But I just took it. Let the facts come out. ”
It was Buffert’s fifth victory in a juvenile race, but none of his other winners have won the Kentucky Derby, a race that Buffert has won seven times.
“Fridays are usually awful, and I have good Saturdays,” Buffet said. “I just hope I can continue [Saturday]… “
This was Smith’s third victory in the youth tournament.
“The only thing that worried me was that it got hotter. [before the race] than ever, ”Smith said. “It just calmed me down. I don’t think I’ve ever been so calm in a big race. I just sat still. He caught a leaflet at the exit from the gate and just left him alone. “
Unless Buffert’s situation was weird enough, the final race of the day, a $ 1 million juvenile lawn, was postponed, two horses were scratched, and one of them was only allowed to run because of a wallet, and she finished first in the race. …
It started when Modern Games reared up in one post, with the result that Albar, in both, also stood in the rear and ended up under the starting gate. In the meantime, the assistant starter opened the gates of Modern Games, while the vets on the track thought the horse had broken through. It was then that the veterinary veterinarian over the radio asked the stewards to scratch both horses.
Upon examination, it was found that Modern Games is intact and ready to race. But since it was already scratched, it could not be returned to the stake pool. He was only allowed to run for his wallet.
And as this bizarre incident got more bizarre, Modern Games won the race. The runner-up horse, Teese Bomba, paid prizes for win, place and show plus exotic bets. Teese Bomba paid $ 17.60 not to win.
As Modern Games crossed the finish line, a crowd of 20,536 booed loudly. Veterans of the Del Mar races said they had never heard such a reaction from the usually noble racers.
There were three more Breeders’ Cup races, including an impressive performance by Alpha Zulu winning the Juvenile Fillies with an undeniable 5¼ distance. She is the daughter of an Arms Runner who was coached by Steve Asmussen to win the 2017 Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“The level of pride is incredible because this is from the first Gun Runner crop,” said Asmussen. “She came through mom and dad. [training center] in Laredo. She’s just brilliant. She is faster than them. It’s simple.
She paid $ 3.20 to win as the favorite with Joel Rosario as jockey.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay won the $ 1 million per mile Juvenile Fillies Turf competition in Piazza Bianca, paying $ 21.80 to win coach Christophe Clement and jockey Jose Ortiz.
Twilight Gleaming led the $ 1 million five-stadium sprint for teenagers. She was the first to leave the gate and barely overtook the other 11 horses, winning half the length. Trained by Wesley Ward and directed by Irad Ortiz Jr., he paid $ 12.40 to win. The California Angel, trained by George Leonard, the first black to achieve Breeders’ Cup, finished 11th in a race with 14 horses.