Despite a lackluster start to the 2011 Kentucky Derby, two American horses have been eyed for the big race. In the first, the American-trained Dakota Gold won the Nownownow Stakes at Monmouth Park by two lengths. It would be the first Breeders’ Cup win for rider Isaac Castillo. In addition, the American-trained Dakota Gold finished sixth at Belmont Park last time out.
The Breeders Cup meeting came to a close with a chaotic finish as Modern Games was scratched from the Juvenile Turf race. A veterinary team on hand at the starting gate was concerned that the bay gelding may have suffered an injury, but they allowed the horse to run for purse money. Despite the scratch, Modern Games sprinted to victory and crossed the finish line first in the one-mile race. It finished as the first choice of the ontrack crowd, who were confused that the horse had been removed from the betting pools.
In other Breeders Cup horse races, Modern Games is a good price for the Juvenile Turf. The Godolphin colt was a short-priced favorite, but was re-entered at the gate and was jeered by fans. We picked him to win the Breeders Cup, and we’re pleased he did so. Meanwhile, another godolphin colt, Zain Claudette, was scratched.
After the scratch, Modern Games returned to the pool at the same odds it was at prior to the scratch. Modern Games was active in the pool for six minutes before being scratched and then reinstated. During this time, her price drifted higher, but returned to its previous price. That’s a great sign for regular horseplayers and bettors. However, there are some risks with this approach.
In an accident during the pre-race, #1 Modern Games reared up and hit the back of the starting gate. It’s unclear whether he caused the incident or forced the gate to open. However, a veterinarian later ruled him fit to run and Modern Games was allowed to run for purse money only. If he runs, he’ll probably be in the money.
Another early scratch from Breeders Cup horse racing is Modern Games. At the 17:35 post, stewards ruled that the horse hit the back of the starting gate and broke through the front gate. This injury could go undetected until the horse gallops, and it could prove fatal. However, the CHRB report didn’t address the broader issues. Modern Games was not the only horse scratched on the day of the race.
With all of the controversy surrounding Modern Games’ withdrawal from the race, the IFHA is seeking to make the race more accessible to American bettors. A new centralized betting system would be the next step in the race’s evolution. It would also help the race’s reputation in the betting community. Regardless, the Breeders Cup will continue to work with all stakeholders and horseplayers to ensure that the rules are fair to everyone involved in the event.
Vekoma was a morning-line favorite in the six-furlong race, but it turned out to be his best start of his career. Weaver wasn’t concerned about his post position and instead debated with Vekoma’s owners about whether to run him. Vekoma, a son of the famous “Champion” mare, won the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont Park on Fourth of July, earning Weaver a lot of money. He was supposed to run in the Forego at the end of the Saratoga meet, but it wasn’t to be.
Vekoma, the morning-line favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, jumped a fever on Tuesday night. He was unable to train afterward because of a fever. Owners Randy Hill and Mike Gatsas were informed of the horse’s scratching after he spiked a fever the night before. The horse’s trainer, George Weaver, told Vekoma’s owners the news Wednesday morning.
Vekoma, who is expected to retire this year, will be retired to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. During his career, he won six of his eight starts and broke his maiden at Belmont by seven and a half lengths. On March 28, he won the Sir Shackleton at Gulfstream by three-quarter lengths. Vekoma’s biggest victory came as a three-year-old, winning the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He finished thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby in 2019.
Vekoma’s new stable will stand Vekoma and will take on stud duty in 2021. His fee is set at $20,000 S&N. Vekoma was bred by Alpha Delta Stables, and his first dam is a half-sister to Mr. Greeley. Spendthrift also stands Mor Spirit and Mitole, two former Met Mile winners.
Vekoma was the morning-line favorite for the $2 million Breeders Cup Sprint at Keeneland Race Course on Thursday but was scratched from the race due to a fever Tuesday night. The George Weaver-trained colt was unbeaten in three starts this year, including the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont Park. He was three for three this year, winning the Carter Handicap at Belmont Park and the Met Mile.