Let’s raise a glass to VINO ROSSO. Nothing could stop him this time.
The 4-year-old son of CURLIN, an enigma for much of his career, finally put it all together in Winning (just as the Daily Racing Blog had predicted on Friday) the $6 million dollar Breeders’ Cup Classic by 4 ¼-lengths over MCKINZIE on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
It was the first Classic victory for Todd Pletcher, who holds the record with seven Eclipse Awards as the leading trainer in North America. But Pletcher has been recently displaced at the top of the competitive New York circuit by Chad Brown. Mr. Pletcher increased his overall Win total at the Breeders’ Cup to 11.
“It’s so special for us and our organization. It was one thing I was missing,” said Pletcher. “We won, and it feels great.”
Pletcher had made no secret of his dissatisfaction back on September 28th when VINO ROSSO bumped three times with Breeders’ Cup Classic rival CODE OF HONOR in the stretch run of the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, subsequently being disqualified and placed 2nd. It was the last outing for both horses prior to the Classic.
“He redeemed himself today. There was no doubt. He won authoritatively,” Pletcher said. “For me, it was the strongest performance I’ve seen by a horse this year.”
VINO ROSSO emerged into the Kentucky Derby picture last year by Winning the Wood Memorial Stakes at Belmont Park in his final prep for the Run For The Roses. He was, however, unable to follow up on that promising performance. He ran a distant 9th in The Derby, 4th in the Belmont Stakes and 5th in the Travers Stakes.
And just like a special rare vintage, VINO ROSSO would improve with age. He would mature into a better 4-year-old than he was at three. Making his backers very happy.
Cin cin, amico mio.