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Upsets on, off the track

Calvin Borel is restrained from going after fellow jockey Javier Castellano over a midrace maneuver in the opening race.

Associated Press

Calvin Borel is restrained from going after fellow jockey Javier Castellano over a midrace maneuver in the opening race.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Breeders' Cup began with fists flying in the winner's circle.

The mayhem was just starting.

Jockeys brawled and long shots dominated on a wild opening day Friday, capped by Unrivaled Belle's victory in the $2 million Ladies' Classic under the lights at Churchill Downs.

Unrivaled Belle ran 11/8 miles in 1 minute, 50.04 seconds, winning by 13/4 lengths over 3-2 favorite Blind Luck.

After the first race, jockeys Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano traded punches, with an enraged Borel needing to be restrained. He was furious about a move Castellano made in tight quarters during the race.

Later in the day, Shared Account scored the second-biggest upset in the Cup's 27 years, winning the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf at 46-1 odds.

American horses won all six races on the first of the two-day event, which concludes today. No jockey or trainer won more than once on a gray, chilly day that started with a jolt: Borel and the lesser-known Castellano tangling in the winner's circle.

Borel charged Castellano shortly after the $500,000 Marathon, angry over a dangerous midrace move that endangered Borel and jockey Martin Garcia.

Borel and Castellano were near the weigh-in station next to the winner's circle when things grew heated. Borel, 43, pointed a finger at Castellano, 33. The 5-foot-1, 110-pound Castellano then took a swing at Borel, who is 4 inches taller. Security officials struggled to separate them, holding Borel, who urged them to let him go back at Castellano.

It took several minutes for Borel, his eyes bugging out and his face a deep red, to be restrained. Eventually, his wife, Lisa, and brother Cecil each grabbed an arm and walked the three-time Kentucky Derby winning-rider to the jockeys' room, where he flung off his silks.

In an interview with ESPN as he rode out for the Juvenile Fillies race aboard Tell A Kelly, Borel said he and Castellano had patched things up. "I want to apologize to everybody," Borel said. "It's over. It's all good. We talked."

During the race, Castellano, on Prince Will I Am, moved into the path of Romp and jockey Garcia, causing Romp to stumble. Borel and mount A.U. Miner were jostled as a result.

"I had pressure outside me," Castellano said. "I went for a hole, and they said I took his lane. I don't know. I don't know."

Prince Will I Am, who finished runnerup to Eldaafer, was disqualified and placed 10th. Pace­setter Gabriel's Hill was moved up to second, and A.U. Miner was placed third.

Kentucky chief state steward John Veitch said officials will review videotape of the race and interview Borel and Castellano. If they find either jockey at fault, penalties could range from a warning to a suspension.

In the Ladies' Classic, Unrivaled Belle, under Kent Desormeaux, was fifth much of the way before making a four-wide move on the final turn and taking charge at the top of the stretch. "She left them for dead leaving the three-eighths pole," Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said.

In the Filly & Mare Turf, multiple graded stakes winner Shared Account upended defending race winner Midday. Shared Account's $94.00 win payoff is the second highest in Cup history, behind Arcangues' $133.60 in the 1993 Classic.

Florida ties: Unbeaten Awesome Feather, who swept the filly division of the Florida Stallion Series at Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens this year for owner Jack Brei and his Jacks or Better Farm in Reddick, near Ocala, won the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. Awesome Feather is trained by Stanley Gold, who won two stakes at the Tampa Bay Downs 2007-08 meet in Oldsmar with Honey Honey Honey (Inaugural and Pasco). Gold won his Cup debut. … Atoned, runnerup in the 2008 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, was eighth in the Marathon at 31-1 odds.

A classic day: It takes some kind of horse to get people talking about racing beyond the Triple Crown races. Cigar was the last one to capture the imagination of casual sports fans with a 16-race winning streak over his 1995 and 1996 seasons, winning the Breeders' Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup in that span.

Thoroughbred racing finally has another transcendent star in the big old mare Zenyatta. Unlike Cigar, she has never lost, and when she enters the starting gate at 6:45 p.m. or so today for the Classic, it will be for the last time. If she wins, she retires 20-0.

Much is at stake: 60 percent of the $5 million purse, a horse of the year title worth millions more in the breeding shed, and a place in history, either for Zenyatta or the horse that defeats her.

"She's the game right now," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. "Zenyatta has proved that people can fall in love with our sport."

Still, 11 rivals will line up against her, including the Baffert-trained Lookin At Lucky, the Preakness winner who was last year's Juvenile champion and will probably be this year's 3-year old champ.

"I don't think there'll be anybody rooting against (Zenyatta)," Baffert said. "I don't root against her."

Times correspondent Don Jensen contributed to this report.

.fast facts

Breeders' Cup

Season-ending thoroughbred championship; 14 races (eight today) with total purse of $25.5 million

When/where: Concludes today; Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.

TV: 1:30 p.m. Ch. 28; 3:30 p.m. ESPN. The Classic, featuring undefeated Zenyatta, is scheduled for 6:45 post time.

Upsets on, off the track 11/05/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 12:20am]
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