Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yeats' Gold Cup grand slam makes history

Yeats made his case as the greatest stayer on the flat of all time Thursday, settling off the pace set by Hindu Kush and driving home under Johnny Murtagh the smashing winner of the Ascot Gold Cup(Eng-G1) for the fourth year in a row.

The Sadler's Wells stallion, out of the multiple stakes-producing Top Ville mare Lyndonville, becomes the first horse to win the 2-mile, 4-furlong Gold Cup four times, and the first 8-year-old to win it in 100 years, according to The 20-furlong test is perhaps the racing world's ultimate challenge for a distance horse. Patkai, a son of supposed speed sire Indian Ridge, finished impressively for second, while Geordieland was a distant third.

I'm a huge fan of distance racing (even as measured in more than just Body Mass Index), so this accomplishment is of particular interest to me. I'm enthused about the addition of the Breeders' Cup Marathon here in the States, although the rest of the word guffaws when we call 12 furlongs a "marathon."

So here's to distance racing, and especially to trainer Aidan O'Brien and Yates. What a splendid record by a spectacular horse.

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