The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Zenyatta was the focal point of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic as the legendary mare would attempt to become the first back-to-back winner since Tiznow and the first North American horse to reach twenty consecutive victories. It was a lofty goal for the six-year-old mare and there were plenty of threats in the marquee race at the world championships.
The field was certainly one of the most talented ever assembled but the oddsmakers had designated it a four-horse affair. Quality Road was a 5/1 third choice after winning the 2010 Donn Handicap, Met Mile and Woodward Stakes.
The 2010 Breeders’ Cup
Classic also included Lookin At Lucky, a three-year-old colt who had won the 2010 Preakness Stakes and the Haskell Invitational. First Dude, who had finished second at the Preakness behind Lookin At Lucky, was also featured.
By far, the biggest threat to Zenyatta was Blame, a 9/2 second choice who had ripped off three straight wins in the 2010 William D. Shaeffer Handicap, Stephen Foster Handicap and Whitney Handicap before coming up short as the runner-up in the Jockey Club Gold Cup with a loss against Haynesfield.
With excitement buzzing through the air at Churchill Downs, the runners took to their posts while the crowd anxiously awaited the bell. Quality Road and First Dude took the early lead while Zenyatta was off to a surprisingly slow start, beginning five lengths back of the entire field in dead last. It was jarring to watch. Blame surged to the front by mid-race and held a very steady pace after enjoying a perfect trip out of the gate.
Zenyatta was in trouble with the field standing as a physical obstacle on the track. Jockey Mike Smith took the defending champion out wide in a desperate effort to give her room. Down the backstretch, Zenyatta devoured the gap between her and Blame with a thunderous effort that had the crowd roaring. With each stride, the legend seemed like she would surpass Blame, who had established a good lead but the fairytale ending was not meant to be. Zenyatta would fall to Blame by a neck at the wire.
The upset for Blame was worth $12.40, $4.40 and $3.80 across the board while Zenyatta’s second place finish brought in $3.60 and $2.80. Fly Down rallied to finish a very distant third and was worth $8.60 to show at 15/1.
Lookin At Lucky, Paddy O’Prado and Etched would finish fourth through sixth while Quality Road dropped to dead last.
Mike Smith was inconsolable following the race. “I got away slow and got squeezed out of there,” Smith said through tears. “I couldn’t level her off. If you have to blame anyone today, it would be me.”
There was nobody truly to blame except Blame himself. It was a monumental upset for trainer Albert Staal who won his first Breeders’ Cup Classic alongside owners Adel Dilschneider of Claiborne Farms. Blame would go on to win honors for Champion Older Male Horse, while Zenyatta was awarded American Horse of the Year despite her 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic loss.
2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic Results – Churchill Downs
||Lookin At Lucky