Before a crowd of 65,143, Mike Smith and Drosselmeyer won the $5,000,000 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic. The race concluded two days of Breeders' Cup Championship races held at Churchill Downs.
Smith's former girlfriend, Chantal Sutherland, was aboard Game On Dude, who finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner in second. Ruler On Ice was another length back in third. It was 1/2 length back to Havre de Grace in fourth. The favorite, Flat Out finished fifth. Only 7 3/4 lengths separated first from last in the field of twelve. The horses completed the 1 1/4 mile race in 2:04:27.
Trainer William Mott made it a Breeders' Cup Classic double, having won the Ladies Classic yesterday with Royal Delta.
"He ran a super race," said Mott. "He was mowing them down the last eighth of a mile. I guess his biggest attribute is his stamina, and he showed it today. When they were wearing down, he was coming. It’s great. Maybe they’ll want to run him another year."
This is the 15th Breeders' Cup victory for Smith, who lost last year's Classic aboard Zenyatta.
"He ran an awesome race right from the first jump," said Smith. "Right out of the gate, he got into a great rhythm. The key to this horse is to keep him moving. If you put on the breaks it messes him up. I knew I was going to wheel out, so I just kept him going. And I was able to save ground on both turns."
It became the battle of the exes, as Smith's ex-girlfriend tried to hold onto her lead aboard Game On Dude when Smith and Drosselmeyer gave chase.
"He ran so hard," said Sutherland. "He ran great. He absolutely ran his race today. He was running well up front and Johnny (Velazquez on Uncle Mo) was pushing on us. He really gave us a run. But when he came to us, my horse dug in and tried harder than he ever has before. He really dug in. He ran every inch of the way and he was really tired at the end. I’ve never seen him that tired. I am so proud of him. He ran great."
The post-time favorite, Flat Out, finished fifth.
"No excuse, he just got outrun," said Flat Out's trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey.
Havre de Grace, second choice in the field finished fourth.
"We didn’t get the trip we wanted," said trainer Larry Jones. "The 11-horse (Headache) leaned on us pretty good from the start, but she ran well. Rick (Porter) likes to run where the gusto is. No regrets about running here. She didn’t do anything to tarnish herself. She has another year ahead of her."
Uncle Mo, who sat just behind Game On Dude and even tried to move on him just before the last turn, finished 10th in the field of 12.
"You’re always disappointed when they don’t run as good as you expect them to," said jockey John Velazquez. "He was pretty strong going to the first turn. When he went up the back, the track started breaking underneath him a little bit and he kind of lost it. He was struggling with the track for whatever reason. I tried to give him his head where he would feel comfortable, but he never really got into a good rhythm to get a good grip of the track. I didn’t want to beat him up in the stretch when everybody started going by me."
Drosselmeyer paid $31.60, $13.20, and $8.80. Game On Dude returned $13.60 and $9.20 for second. Ruler On Ice returned $9.80. The $2 exacta paid $444.80 and the $0.50 triple paid $1,356.85.
Photo: Courtesy Breeders' Cup