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 Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

Zenyatta’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1 over Santa Anita’s synthetic track was in a league by itself as she soared past the boys to remain undefeated in 14 starts. A descendant from the famed Virginia nursery Newstead Farm’s foundation mare Mrs. Peterkin, California-based Zenyatta faced the toughest test of her career, rallied from far back and drove home to win by a length over Gio Ponti and 10 others, including that year’s Kentucky Derby-G1 winner Mine That Bird and Belmont Stakes-G1 winner Summer Bird. One horse the 5-year-old mare didn’t face was Edward P. Evan’s Quality Road, who was scratched after a harrowing display at the gate which included nearly getting loose while blindfolded.

  • Pennsylvanians George Strawbridge (Augustin Stable) and Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard had a stellar Breeders’ Cup as Strawbridge’s Informed Decision remained undefeated over synthetic tracks when taking the Filly and Mare Sprint-G1. Purchased for $320,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale, the 4-year-old filly solidified her championship claim.

    Sheppard sent out two other Breeders’ Cup runners and watched S J Stables’ Cloudy’s Knight finish second by a nose in the 13⁄4-mile Marathon, and Augustin Stable’s 2008 female turf champion Forever Together finish third while seeking to defend her title in the Filly and Mare Turf-G1. “You’ve got a sprinter, a middle distance turf horse and a marathoner,” Sheppard said the next day. “There’s no rhyme or reason for it, except fate, because presumably I’ve trained them the same way I have for the last 43 years and I’ve never had three horses like this before. Well, we’ve had a few like Cloudy.”

  • John A. Casey-bred, -owned and -trained 2-year-old filly Down Town Allen beat the boys for the second time in a month, adding a victory in the West Virginia Futurity to her score in the Tri-State Futurity at Charles Town. In nine starts she crossed the finish line first five times, and was second or third in the other four. She would have had four stakes wins had she not been disqualified to last in the WV Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classic for interference out of the gate – 
    she led at every call and hit the line 7
    1⁄2 lengths in front.

  • Longtime timber racing aficionado Irv Naylor led all National Steeplechase Association owners with 10 victories, and placed second by money earned, with $288,025 – less than $4,000 behind The Fields Stable for the championship.

    From 2009-18, Naylor led the owners’ earnings list six times, and was second or third in the others.

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