Billy Reed: I learned some things from Breeders Cup I need to fix, but John Gaines' vision is justified – User-generated content

The Breeders Cup showed me a few things I need to fix about myself and I will try to do just that moving forward. For one thing, I just can’t trust my memory anymore and need to do a better job of fact-checking.
And for another, I need to start keeping up with racing as I did in the old days, making me a lot better prepared when it’s time for the Breeders Cup, which next year will be held at Keeneland.
Somehow or another, I did pick five winners – Space Blues in the Mile, Life Is Good in the Mile, Tiz the Bomb in the Juvenile Turf, Echo Zulu in the Juvenile Fillies, and Corniche in the Juvenile.
I don’t know if that’s a saving grace, but it’s all I have. I also was very high on disputed Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in the Classic and he was a good second to Knicks Go, the likely Horse of the Year.
It was a good Breeders Cup from the International point of view. Winners came from Great Britain (Yibir in the Turf), Japan (Marche Lorraine in the Distaff and Loves Only You in the Filly & Mare Turf), and Ireland (Space Blues in the Mile).
So the Breeders Cup again justified the vision of iconic breeder John Gaines, who announced his plans for the event just before the1983 Kentucky Derby.
The first Breeders Cup was, indeed, held at Hollywood Park, not Churchill Downs, in 1984, and it has produced far more than its share of iconic races. I can imagine Mr. Gaines, wherever his soul is, beaming over the magnificent way his dream has come true.
I’ve covered the Breeders Cup at various venues, but none has done it better than Keeneland. For years, the Breeders Cup refused to consider Keeneland as a site because it feared the track wasn’t equipped to handle the large crowds.
But when it finally gave Keeneland a shot, the track responded as Keeneland always seems to do. The event went off flawlessly, with Keeneland’s elegance and class being impossible to miss.
So now we look forward to next year’s Triple Crown races with the certain knowledge that Keeneland awaits at the end. I think it’s going to be a special year for the sport we all love.
Personally, I hope Bob Baffert comes up with a plausible explanation for his positive tests that will allow him to walk freely in the sunshine at next year’s Breeders Cup.
I admit I’m prejudiced because I like him very much. I also think he’s too smart to make stupid mistakes that are certain to be caught.
With Baffert in purgatory and D. Wayne Lukas all but retired, the sport needs some mega-personalities and ambassadors to replace them. By next year’s Breeders Cup, I hope they will have emerged.

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