SPIRIT OF A CHAMPION: THE STORY OF THE 1990 BREEDERS' CUP
The Breeders' Cup symbolized by its coveted trophy is the most important event in all of racing. The day is comprised of seven races worth $10 million - the centerpiece is the $3 million Classic...the world's richest race. Since Thoroughbred racing began on this continent, Belmont Park has been its most prominent and elegant stage - at 430 acres it's the nation's largest track...a vibrant monument to American racing. With its 1-1/2 mile track, historic Belmont has long been considered the testing ground of champions.
Take a thrilling ride through Breeders' Cup 1990 as all seven "Championship" races are re-visited in this JOHN FORSYTHE-narrated documentary...complete with interesting stories of various race favorites, interviews with their human connections and basically a sampling of the day's activities.
A seemingly endless supply of talented runners assembled on that day and it included: Sprinters: DAYJUR, DANCING SPREE, MR. NICKERSON, SAFELY KEPT, GLITTERMAN, BLACK TIE AFFAIR and PROSPECTOR'S GAMBLE; Juvenile Filly, MEADOWSTAR; Distaffers: BAYAKOA and GO FOR WAND; Milers: ROYAL ACADEMY, IT'SALLGREEKTOME, STEINLEN and MARK OF DISTINCTION; Juveniles: FLY SO FREE, BEST PAL and TAKE ME OUT. Turf Specialists: EL SENOR, WITH APPROVAL, IN THE WINGS, PLEASANT TAP and SKY CLASSIC; and the Classic Contenders: RHYTHM, GO AND GO, UNBRIDLED, LIVELY ONE, DISPERSAL and FLYING CONTINENTAL. Another memorable chapter in racing was about to begin!
While males often dominate the spotlight in Thoroughbred racing, three exceptional fillies were drawing an inordinate amount of attention: the $1 million Distaff was believed to be a match race: BAYAKOA, the rangy defending Distaff Champion had been brought to New York from California by her trainer, RON McANALLY and patiently prepared her for her second-only career start at Belmont. A six-year-old Argentine-bred mare and winner of twenty races was the reigning queen of the older females. Trainer, BILLY BADGET was a close observer of BAYAKOA's early morning work-outs; a year before he had sent his first horse into a Breeders' Cup race and cheered GO FOR WAND home in the $1 million Juvenile Filly. BADGET now hoped that New York's darling, GO FOR WAND, could de-thrown BAYAKOA as the world's top female and the fans' affection for her approached reverence.
The third leading lady in this Breeders' Cup championship was trained by Hall of Fame trainer, LEROY JOLLY...her name was MEADOWSTAR and she had rolled through six starts undefeated; the Breeders' Cup Fillies had been her major goal for months and she would run for her place in history on this day.
In the Sprint, Europe's best sprinter and race favorite, DAYJUR, was matched stride-for-stride by the game and determined filly, SAFELY KEPT, down the stretch but dashed all hopes for victory when he jumped two shadows in the last few yards and relinquished his lead to SAFELY KEPT. The filly not only avenged her narrow defeat from the year before but she became the second filly in seven runnings to win the Sprint.
In the grandest of comebacks, LESTER PIGGOTT, the living riding legend, out of retirement after a five-year absence, wins the Mile with 5-2 favorite, ROYAL ACADEMY...serving notice that he was still, "The Maestro."
A wave of European horses which was not only largest in number but the deepest in talent assembled for the Turf - the unlikely combination of an American rider and a French colt gave European racing a sweep in the grass events as, IN THE WINGS, earned American rider, GARY STEVENS his first Breeders' Cup victory.
Like so many young champions before, FLY SO FREE's first steps toward stardom were taken at Belmont Park when he effortlessly drew away from BEST PAL and TAKE ME OUT in the Juvenile. In a race that could've went any way.
UNBRIDLED, that years Kentucky Derby winner made his presence felt in the Classic as he powered to the front in a daring move in deep stretch and crowned himself the undisputed Horse-of-the-Year.
But the most anxiously awaited race of the day was the Distaff...the first meeting between the sport's two dominant and evenly-matched female champions. GO FOR WAND, the 3-5 favorite, had won five straight stakes races in five of her six starts at Belmont Park but standing tall in the path of the three-year-old sensation was the established six-year-old reigning Champion Distaffer and winner of
the previous year's Breeders' Cup Distaff...BAYAKOA. As expected, the race quickly turned into a compelling test of wills as both fillies were locked in mortal combat with each other for the entire race. GO FOR WAND sustained a slight lead throughout but in one of racing's saddest chapters, she tragically broke down at the sixteenth pole. The fans were grief-stricken as GO FOR WAND's shattered ankle was beyond repair and had to be humanely destroyed right on the track. BAYAKOA returned to the winner's circle for a joyless ceremony - her moment overshadowed by thoughts of GO FOR WAND.
The tragic fall of the beloved GO FOR WAND cast a somber emotional canopy over Belmont. But racing is a sport which tests emotions day after day and race after race. It is a sport which can somehow spin emotions very quickly from triumph to tragedy as in the sad and gut-wrenching untimely end to GO FOR WAND...her giant heart tragically greater than her fragile stride...always she ran with, "THE SPIRIT OF A CHAMPION."
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||European Flat Racing|