- Last Updated: 9:18 AM, November 7, 2011
- Posted: 1:55 AM, November 7, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- For the first time that I can remember, America woke up yesterday to discover no shining light in its thoroughbred racing firmament.
The Breeders’ Cup flicked the switch on everything. The event that should have enlightened and clarified ended up confusing everyone. It’s so bad they might have to change Horse of the Year to Horse of the Month.
* This Cup, whose two main races were run under lights, looked like a full dress rehearsal for breaking tradition and running the Kentucky Derby in prime time, night time TV.
The 65,000 crowd Saturday was way down over last year’s 72,000, proof if ever it was needed that horse racing, like all sports, needs stars to set the turnstiles humming.
Last year, Zenyatta’s dramatic finale to her career was the drawcard. This year? Nothing in neon to woo the mobs.
Even so, Churchill Downs remains easily the most attractive crowd site for the Cup.
* The three big trainers who went into the Cup under the gun came out of it bloodied and wounded. Todd Pletcher and his owner Mike Repole’s gamble with Uncle Mo in the Classic hit the deck, taking a lot of betting money with them. Freddy Head saw his Goldikova slip in her last try and only the generosity of the stewards kept her from being disqualified and placed last, while Aidan O’Brien, desperate to win the Classic above all other races, missed again when So You Think finished off the board.
* Chantal Sutherland, the Canadian jockey, is working her way into the top flight. She won the Santa Anita Handicap and Goodwood, both Grade 1’s on Game On Dude, missed by a nose in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and almost pulled off a Cup Classic front-running stunner on him.
But there was no mushy happy ending. Her old fiance, Mike Smith, beat her to the wire on Drosselmeyer. There were polite congratulations all round, but no kiss-and-make-up.
* Bettors who hit the exotics won’t complain about this Cup.
The Pick 3 paid $20,500, the Pick 4 went for $187,000 and the Pick 6 (no one hit) -- those who got five winners collected $95,000.
They won almost as much money as Bill Mott.Follow @NYPostsports