Breeders’ Cup Saturday: Through the Eyes and Lens of Holly M. Smith

(Enable carries jockey Frankie Dettori across the finish line first in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Without a doubt, Breeders’ Cup is always a blur. No matter how long you spend preparing, the races come and go in what feels like an instant. No matter how much time you allot to handicap, review, watch video and prepare, the horses race through the two days as if on speed dial. No matter how much you take the time to breathe, you are left breathless.

And, the memories? Well, they are lodged in the bank, only to be suppressed and compressed into microchips in the bank of the mind because there is another historic racing encounter about ready to embark and encounter. And, of course, to remember.

That is why no matter what technology comes along next, the camera and the person that can turn that simple device into magic will never be obsolete. For it is the camera — and the person that operates it so professionally and artistically — that save those times in living images. It is those images that spur the mind into action just like an old jukebox. And, it is that old jukebox of a mind that flips that scene back in living color. And, we play it over and over.

It is always a joy for me to get the photo collection from Holly M. Smith. First, they are so expertly done, it makes you feel the sweat and strain; grasp the smiles of jubilation; smell the flowers and scent the victory; see the win inside each victory.

Today, I got my latest fix. Holly sent her file of photos from Saturday.

Oh, what a fix.

Here’s some of what she captured:

(Roaring Lion in the post parade before the Classic; trainer Peter Miller celebrating one of two wins on the top row)

(The tunnel leading from the track to the paddock; the outriders posed and ready for action on the middle row)

(The Indiana-bred Bucchero in the post parade; and Shamrock Rose in the victory lap)

(Accelerate on the way to the winner’s circle; jockey Frankie Dettori flies from the saddle of the grand Enable on the top row)

(Enable is all beauty as she gallops out victorious; Seeking the Soul on his way to the paddock on the middle row)

(Expert Eye shocked the all, including the rider(?); Monomoy Girl is so beautiful on the bottom row)

(Enable and Hunting Horn in the Turf Classic; guess who won?)

(Gunnevera has a nose for the camera; trainer John Sadler enjoys his first Breeders’ Cup win in the quiet of the tack room)

(Monomoy Girl on her way to the winner’s circle — again)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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