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A Black Tie Affair at Breeders' Cup

Published Nov. 3, 1991
Updated Oct. 14, 2005

The Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs didn't pan out as a repeat of the past two Kentucky Derbys, but the Juvenile unveiled a likely future Derby star. Unbridled and Strike The Gold, winners of the past two Derbys, straggled home in the wake of Black Tie Affair's front-running performance in the 1\-mile Classic.

Black Tie Affair certainly was one of the stars of the cold, sunny day, but the biggest star was a Kentucky-bred, 2-year-old colt from France named Arazi, who was racing in the United States and on dirt for the first time.

Arazi, ridden by Pat Valenzuela, left a crowd of 66,204 oohing and aahing with a dazzling performance in the 1/-mile Juvenile. It marked him as a horse to watch on the first Saturday in May and vaulted him into consideration for Horse of the Year.

Midway through the turn, Arazi shot past pacesetting Bertrando _ who had won his first three starts _ as if that colt was standing still and won by 4} lengths without hardly trying.

Arazi is trained by Frenchman Francois Boutin. The horse's American owner, Allan Paulson, said Arazi should be considered for Horse of the Year.

"I don't know why he wouldn't be," Paulson said. "I know they usually pick older horses. But when have you seen older horses do this?"

And what about next May?

"I said if he ran a good race today, I'd like to bring him back for the Derby," Paulson said. "I think you can say he ran a good race today."

A victory next May would make Arazi the first winner of the Juvenile to win the Derby, though.

Two of the horses who didn't run well and probably faded from the Horse of the Year picture were In Excess and Festin.

In Excess, entered in the Mile on the turf instead of in the Classic, finished in a dead heat for ninth with Tight Spot, who had won eight straight races on the grass. Festin finished sixth in the Classic.

While Festin flopped, Black Tie Affair, ridden by Jerry Bailey, got into the championship picture with his sixth straight victory.

"I think he has a good chance to be Horse of the Year," 65-year-old trainer Ernie Poulos said.

It was a bad day for favorites, and it could have been a tragic day.

Housebuster left the racetrack in an ambulance after injuring both forelegs in the Sprint. The 1990 Sprint champion, who is being retired to stud, finished ninth on heart.

Housebuster ripped open his right front ankle leaving the gate and then, in favoring that leg, injured the suspensory ligament in his left leg.

Housebuster's injury was a quick reminder of the tragedy at last year's Breeders' Cup, when one horse died of a heart attack and two others were fatally injured.

Filago also was taken from the track after he was pulled up at the top of the 1{-mile Turf race. It was first reported that he had broken a bone in his right front ankle, but X-rays showed no fracture.

Giving long-shot players a chance to whoop and holler were Miss Alleged, Opening Verse and Sheikh Albadou.

Miss Alleged paid a winning mutuel of $86.20 after charging through a pack of horses in the middle of the stretch to win the Turf by one-half length over Itsallgreektome, who had finished second by a neck in the Mile last year.

Sheikh Albadou, a British-bred 3-year-old colt running in the United States and on dirt for the first time, returned $54.60 after winning the six-furlong Sprint by three lengths over Pleasant Tap.

Opening Verse, a 5-year-old, paid $55.40 after winning the Mile by 1\ lengths over Val Des Bois of France. The victory snapped a five-race losing streak for Opening Verse dating to May 3, when he won the Early Times Classic in track-record time for 1[ miles on the Churchill Downs turf.

The other two race winners were Dance Smartly and Pleasant Stage.

The Canadian filly Dance Smartly remained unbeaten in eight races this year by winning the 1[-mile Distaff by 1{ lengths over Versailles Treaty. She also will receive Horse of the Year consideration.

Pleasant Stage weaved her way through the stretch under Eddie Delahoussaye after coming from far off the pace to beat La Spia by a head in the final jump to win the 1/-mile Juvenile Fillies.

The two big human winners on this 40-degree day were Valenzuela and Paulson.

The jockey and owner, who won with Arazi, also teamed to win the Mile with Opening Verse, trained by Dick Lundy.

Valenzuela also had two fifths, and his purse earnings for the day were $1,120,000, which nearly doubled his previous Breeders' Cup winnings.

Pat Day, who rode Dance Smartly, tied Laffit Pincay for the most Breeders' Cup series wins with six.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who increased his leading number of Breeders' Cup starters to 73 by saddling eight, failed for the second year to gain his 11th win.

The day was anything but a total loss for Lukas, whose horses brought home $740,000, $600,000 earned by Twilight Agenda with his second place in the Classic.

Pat Eddery of Britain on Sheikh Albadou and Eric Legrix of France on Miss Alleged were the only foreign jockeys to win. Among those failing were 55-year-old Lester Piggott, who finished last on Showbrook in the Juvenile; Steve Cauthen, the British-based Kentuckian who won the Derby on Affirmed in 1978, but finished seventh on In The Groove in the Turf; and Willie Carson of Britain, who finished seventh on Shadayid in the Mile.

Biggest Pick 7 payoff

won through Calder

LOUISVILLE, Ky. _ The organizers had to be disappointed with the interest among bettors in the first National Pick 7 on Saturday's Breeders' Cup races.

The 29 people who won obviously had a different opinion as a host of long shots inflated the payoff for picking six of seven winners.

Three-fourths of the betting total was set aside for the people who correctly picked all seven winners of the Breeders' Cup races. Since no one did, the money was split among those who picked six.

Of the 29 people who correctly picked six of the seven races, 11 bet at Thistledown, 10 at Santa Anita, 6 at Bay Meadows and one each at Calder and Trinity Meadows. No one at Churchill Downs picked six of the races.

The highest payoff was to the lone winner at Calder, who got $235,901.60. Each of the winners from Bay Meadows and Santa Anita got $232,756.20. Thistledown winners got $227,164.60 each, while the lone winner at Trinity Meadows got $218,427.40.

Only $8,525,849 was bet at the participating racetracks, legal sports books and off-track betting parlors. Of the national total, $405,216 was wagered at Calder, including its 17 ITW locations. Among those locations are Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa Greyhound Track and Derby Lane. Before windows opened across the country Friday, estimates on the size of the bet ranged as high as $30-million.

Breeders' Cup winners

Classic

1\ miles, $3-million for 3-year-olds and up.

Win Place Show

1. Black Tie Affair $10 $5.40 $4.20

2. Twilight Agenda $12.20 $7.80

3. Unbridled $4.60

Turf

1{ miles, $2-million for 3-year-olds and up.

Win Place Show

1. Miss Alleged $86.20 $23.60 $8.40

2. Itsallgreektome $6.20 4.60

3. Quest for Fame $16.80

Distaff

1[ miles, $1-million for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up.

Win Place Show

1. Dance Smartly $3 $2.40 $2.40

2. Versailles Treaty $20 $3.20

3. Brought to Mind $8.40

Sprint

6 furlongs, $1-million, for 3-year-olds and up.

Win Place Show

1. Sheikh Albadou $54.60 $21.60 $15.20

2. Pleasant Tap $8.20 $6.60

3. Robyn Dancer $10

Juvenile

1-1/16 miles, $1-million for 2-year-olds.

Win Place Show

1. Arazi $6.20 4.80 $4.80

2. Bertrando $4.40 4.20

3. Snappy Landing $14.40

The Mile

$1-million for 3-year-olds and up.

Win Place Show

1. Opening Verse $55.40 $22.00 $10.60

2. Val des Bois $15.20 $7

3. Star of Cozzene $6.80

Juvenile Fillies

1-1/16 miles, $1-million, for 2-year-old fillies.

Win Place Show

1. Pleasant Stage $13.60 $7.40 $5.60

2. La Spia $29.60 $15.40

3. Cadillac Women $10.40