Saturday, November 5, 2011

Drosselmeyer Dances Home in the Classic

Last year, I watched in devastation as Zenyatta fell half a head short in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As distraught as I was, it was nowhere near what Mike Smith must have felt. However, the 2011 Classic brought redemption for the Hall of Fame jockey.

Drosselmeyer on the track
Thursday morning

Photo by Mary Cage
On the Thursday before the Breeders’ Cup, Drosselmeyer was one of many Breeders’ Cup horses I saw out on the track in the morning. He blew me away with the class he carried, traveling down the track beautifully. I knew in that moment that the son of Distorted Humor would run a huge race. Click here to see the clip of Drosselmeyer on the track in the morning, along with video footage of other Breeders' Cup horses.

I saw him again on Friday morning and he still looked fit and composed. He was the most impressive of all the Classic horses I saw. I had Flat Out as number one on paper, but Drosselmeyer impressed me most with looks and class. I voted for him on Twitter to win, as he was definitely the most imposing Classic horse I saw on the track in the mornings. Throughout Breeders’ Cup weekend, I had the best feeling about Drosselmeyer and so it was no surprise to me that he crossed the wire first.

Photo: Terri Cage
Having to go extremely wide, Drosselmeyer flew on the outside, nearing the front runners just before the sixteenth pole. In a turn of events that even the makers of a movie couldn’t come up with, Mike Smith on Drosselmeyer passed his ex-fiance Chantal Sutherland on Game On Dude in the final strides. In a great call by Trevor Denman, he described Drosselmeyer as “a ghost on the outside.”
Of course, Drosselmeyer was best known before the Classic as the 2010 Belmont Stakes (GI) winner. Mike Smith also rode the striking chestnut in that race, recording his own Triple Crown. This win in the Classic obviously meant much to him after the heartbreak with Zenyatta last year. I’m overjoyed that Drosselmeyer and Mike Smith won and not just because I picked Drosselmeyer, but because it was just one day after I had met Mike Smith in person and had given him a big hug. It was wonderful to see my favorite jockey pull off the upset on one of my favorite horses in a race of redemption.

Drosselmeyer and Mike Smith after winning the Classic
Video by Mary Cage

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