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    The 2014 Breeders’ Cup

    Is there any better place for thoroughbred racing than Santa Anita Park? They delivered yet another outstanding weekend of top-flight thoroughbred racing, with record crowds in attendance for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup. We saw near-perfect conditions for Distaff Day on Friday, October 31; even after overnight rains continued into Saturday morning, both the dirt and turf tracks held firm, giving us suitably brisk results on both days.

    The biggest beneficiary turned out to be Bayern, who won the prestigious $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as the frontrunner. It wasn’t without controversy, however. Bayern went off at 6/1 on the Breeders’ Cup odds list, coming out of the No. 7 chute and immediately veering towards the rail. Pre-race favourite Shared Belief (5/2) was one of several horses who was impeded, eventually finishing fourth. The steward’s inquiry did not overturn the results.

    The Classic was a fitting end to Saturday’s racing, where only one of the nine favourites managed to beat the Breeders’ Cup betting odds, and that was Judy the Beauty (3/1) at the Filly & Mare Sprint. Among the longer shots to cross the wire in first were Work All Week (19/1) at the Sprint, Karakonite (30/1) at the Mile, and the most unlikely winner of them all, Take Charge Brandi (61/1) at the Juvenile Fillies.

    But the biggest story of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup may have happened Friday, where three of the four favourites in action won their races. After Untapable (3/2) claimed victory at the $2 million Distaff, jockey Rosie Napravnik announced she would retire after finishing up her duties that weekend. She then revealed that she was seven weeks pregnant. If this is indeed the end of her racing career, it’s a storybook finish.



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