Breeders Cup: The Flag is Up…


…and away they go.

Breeders Cup

SANTA YNEZ, CA – You read that right… not Santa Anita, which is where I certainly would’ve been if not for a previous engagement three hours up the coast. What could get your humble West Coast reporter to miss the World Series/Super Bowl/World Cup of horse racing that is the Breeders Cup Championships.? The Solvang Prelude, a metric century bike ride (that’s 62.5 miles, a prelude to March’s actual 100-mile American Century) through gorgeous wine country…rolling hills lined with green and orange rows of grape trees, pastoral horse farms, and the occasional blight of Romney/Ryan signs (it’s Reagan Country up here).

West Coast Craig on his bike.

There are few things better than a lovely ride followed by wine tastings in villages like Los Olivos, which are so unbelievably picturesque and quaint they look like they could be lifted off the landscape and plopped down as “Wineland” in Disney World – which would indeed make it the happiest place on Earth. This is the land of Sideways; we pedaled right by The Hitching Post! – and fortunately we didn’t ride our bikes into any trees.

It’s a good way to spend a Saturday morning (though perhaps not as cool as illegally riding a bike through Manhattan during a hurricane), but let me ride in spirit down to the deco-tacular Santa Anita Park to report on the big weekend (hey, if Mitch Albom can write about NCAA tourney games he didn’t attend, why can’t I pretend to be at the track?). Besides, I’ve spend enough time there to know all the good vantage spots, the out-of-the-way betting windows, and all carving stations for roast beef sandwiches with (ahem) horseradish.

The Classic: It’s rare in both bike and horse races that the rabbit who jumps out to the early lead holds on, but that’s just what 9-1 long shot Fort Larned did, breaking clean and holding off Latino Village People cover band Mucho Macho Man down the stretch to give jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. a happy 27th birthday (and a quarter million prize).

The Mile: Keep your Triple Crown races, those are for children, the Breeders Cup is where the pros race. Jockey John Valasquez eschewed the chance to ride Animal Kingdom, whom he steered to victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, to stick with Wise Dan…a wise move for the Hall of Famer, and a great case made for a possible Horse of the Year.

The Turf: I love the turf course at Santa Anita, because it starts up a hill and comes down a long chute, crossing the dirt and then circling around the grass (like most of my stoner friends at one of my deck-time bbqs) for a mile and a half. Little Mike was more like Magic Mike on this day, paying a nice 17-1 prize.

Sprint: 13-1 long shot (sensing a trend here?)Trinniberg ran as fast as Mike Wallace taking a simple crossing pattern, turning the corner and outrunning every Giants’ defensive back on his way to a game changing touchdown. (Sorry Giants fans!)

Ladies Classic: Royal Delta won this for the second year in a row, almost putting her in the same company as MTM Classy Ladies Cookie and Lorrie Levine.

Those are the highlights,as near as I can figure them, except for maybe Tony Bennett singing The Best is Yet to Come before the Classic. Speaking of the best being yet to come, Angry Ward will be racing down the stretch, tomorrow.

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About the Author ()

West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a “Valley” hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been “So very L.A.” for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear… with his hand.

  • ChibaLotteAkita

    I hope that your all safe and healthy. It is good to see that humor is still here.

  • A 100-k AND ‘The Hitching Post?!?’ Well DONE WCC!! I think touring wine country on a bike is a fabulous idea (tho apparently cops will ticket you for BWI.. Biking While Intoxicate).

    I saw the Breeder’s Cup was this weekend (a carrier pigeon dropped word as I was still without power) and KNEW you’d cover it. What a treat. The rolling part of the track related to stoners at your BBQ… yes.. i could see this.

    As for the Ladies’ Classic.. why thank you WCC. Tho I hope Royal Delta is keeping her weight down and not coming to resemble that other big Delta.. Delta Burke.

    • WestCoastCraig

      seems to me a really classy move would be you coming out for the century in March…I’ll get the wine and hot tub ready!

  • AngryWard

    Wallace stole that move from Demaryius Thomas, who did it against the Steelers in last year’s playoffs. I hope Lori Levine’s pocket rocket is back up and running… or should I say, humming.

    • vinny from brooklyn

      you should say smiling. if i were that thingi’d be smiling.

  • Yimclancy

    This just brings back memories of poor, poor Karma Shield….
    Go Vikings!!

    • Diff

      Karma shield fed many a dog this summer.

  • Virgil Goode

    Please get out and vote. And please vote for me.

  • WCC: Thanks for pitching on 7 days rest rather than your regular 6. Grote2DMax is still thawing his undercarriage and should be able to sit sometime this weekend. That bike trip looks more and more appealing by the minute. Do they race away from the fires or into them out there? Too soon???

    Changing gears (see what we did there?)… Did anyone but us survive Hurricane Gruden last night for Saints/Eagles? It was brutal but we managed to come through it. Anyway, Chris Berman interviewed President Obama and Governor Romney. Obama knew his stuff – or at least was prepped properly – while Romney looked as comfy as our brother Danny talking sports. (Danny says his daughter’s soccer team finally scored a “point” against a team – and he’s their new coach). The guy uses “sport” instead of sports and clearly didn’t know that the Patriots won 3 Super Bowls – not the two he jokingly took credit for – after saying he has lived in Massachusetts for 40 years. And Berman should be put to pasture for not calling him on either. Politics aside, these guys are just mailing this stuff in… We’ve even twatted about this. See the attached screen-shot.

    Here’s the interview:

    • Sam’s-A-Fan

      Hey Romney personally knows some Nascar owners. If that doesn’t make him the real deal, I don’t…oh forget it.

      Yim be praised!

      • Tall Matt

        Yim and vigor.

    • WestCoastCraig

      being prepped in sports is easy when you actually play them, not just own a dressage horse.

    • Torrie K

      You laugh but the growth rate is not enough to sustain any momentum. We will have another deep recession and Obama is out of his league on this. Bring the money guy in people!

      • Johnny 9X

        Gov Christie and Hurricane Sandy push the Kenyan back in for 4 more. That blows.

  • You Suck

    Obama is white. Just ask Chris Rock. But Romney will still lose. Which sucks.

  • Grote2Dmax

    Thanks for running with the horses instead of having me do a 4 word column: Get Out And Vote.

    • WestCoastCraig

      You can save that one for four years from now.

  • Sam’s-A-Fan

    I only caught a handful of the races over the two days, but the mile was great! Wise Dan should be Horse of the Year for his victory, but had Animal Kingdom had a better trip he would have caught Wise Dan. Go back and look at the race on Youtube and you’ll see Animal Kingdom coming on like a rocket down the stretch. Was also glad that a-hole Bob Baffert came up empty for the two days and that he and Game On Dude didn’t enjoy a home field advantage, when it comes to East/West rivalries, with the exception of The Wire, I always favor the East.

    All praise be to Yim!

    • AngryWard

      Four years from now I predict the Yimnists (I like this SAF change) will absolutely obliterate Christian conservatives when it comes to influencing elections. You will see candidates pandering to bacon junkies every chance they get.

      • oblique outlook

        Sean Payton is coaching his son’s 6th grade football team. The Liberty Christian Warriors. Unless you have warriors, your religion dies.

      • Sam’s-A-Fan

        We will have a Yiminite President before we have a Mormon one.

        All praise be to Yim!

      • yimclancy

        Yimnists…seems too Asian but then again Yimmies was sorta moonie Korean…Yiminites may have the edge.

        The House of Bacon and Yimology ,in general, prefers to stay out of politics-and religion for that matter- but c’mon…his name is Willard Mitt Romney…no one with that name can be elected president…we all remember what happened to Willard in the movie,right?

        • Sam’s-A-Yim

          I never actually saw it, but I’m guessing eaten by rats?!?

          • yimclancy

            Never saw it??!!..well, I won’t spoil it for you but Ernest Borgnine gets eaten by the rats…which was nice.
            I hope all the elections are close and everyone gets to stay up late….as in sports Yiminites hate blow outs–they’re boring

          • AngryWard

            You just spoiled it, oh faithful leader. Now don’t reveal any plot points to the sequel, Ben and His Army of Rats.

          • WestCoastCraig

            I think the next sequel must be called the Secret of Yim.

            So, who is the Master of Yimology, YimClancy or Yim’s-a-Fan?

  • Sam’s-A-Fan

    It may be a post Sandy effect, but for some reason, as I watch the election returns, I want all of the correspondents on these broadcasts to be reporting from wind swept, rain blasted street corners in the Rockaways and along the Jersey shore rather than from hotel ballrooms?

    Praise be to Yim!

  • Sam’s-A-Fan


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