By Ron Mitchell, @BH_RMitchell
Stud Dona Pancha's Calidoscopio targeted the leaders at the top of the stretch and pulled away to win the Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. II) by a widening 4 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.
Providing jockey Aaron Gryder with his first Breeders' Cup win, Calidoscopio was well back in the 13-horse field that contested the 1 3/4-mile main track race and picked up horses as they raced down the homestretch for the second time in the three-turn race. He drew off to stop the clock in 2:56.25.
Trained by Guillermo Frankel in his native country, Calidoscopio paid $36.40, $16.00, and $9.60. Another late closer, Sense of Purpose, finished second, paying $12.40 and $7.60. Atigun, who had assumed the lead on the backstretch the second time around, was worth $3.40 for third.
In one of the most unique races on the 15-race World Championships two-day program, the Marathon is contested around three turns, so horses pass the grandstand and clubhouse twice.
Commander and jockey Mario Gutierrez assumed a leisurely early lead before being joined by Jaycito and Joe Talamo, who won the first two races on the Nov. 2 card at Santa Anita. After getting the first six furlongs in 1:12, those two alternated leads through a mile in 1:38.25.
By the time they rounded the third turn, moderate 3-1 favorite Atigun was on the lead while being tracked by longshot Balladry. With Gryder encouraging Calidoscopio on the outside, the son of Luhuk made up ground stride after stride, drawing off by daylight. The final time was the fastest in the five-year history of the Marathon.
"I had a wonderful trip," Gryder said. "They told me to detach myself from the field at the beginning; that he wouldn't be in it at all. They said you can close your eyes for the first mile then pick them up. At about the three-quarters pole he began to pick them up and I started feeling good. He was rolling.
"By the time we reached the half-mile pole, I started to be very confident. I'd seen this horse's races and I knew he could make up seven or eight lengths easy. I thought that if he could duplicate what he'd done in the past, I'd be sitting good. He just got to going and it was all over from there. It was some ride."
With the victory, the 9-year-old gelding improved his record to 39-10-5-8, with earnings of $853,154.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
THE CONNECTIONS OF CALIDOSCOPIO CELEBRATE HIS MARATHON WIN
Photo courtesy of Horsephotos.com