2 Horses To Meet in Breeders’ Cup
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Bayakoa was the best race mare trainer Eduardo Inda was ever around, until Riboletta changed his mind.
Beautiful Pleasure’s name describes what it’s been like for Donna Ward to train her.
On Saturday, these two top-flight 5-year-old mares will battle each other for the second time in three weeks when they meet in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.
Round 1 went to Riboletta, and she is favored to stretch her winning streak to seven races and deny Beautiful Pleasure a second straight victory in the Distaff.
There are expected to be nine other fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile Distaff, but it’s the duel between Ribolleta and Beautiful Pleasure that is the focal point of the race.
The match was set up when owner Aaron U. Jones paid $400,000 to get Riboletta, who was not nominated, into the race because he appreciates the job Inda has done and wanted him to have a chance to win the $2 million Distaff.
``It was very nice of him to say that,″ said Inda, a 57-year-old native of Chile, who was an assistant to Ron McAnally when that Hall of Fame trainer won the Distaff with Argentine-bred Bayakoa in 1989-90 and won it again with Argentine-bred Paseana in 1992.
``They need time,″ Inda said Tuesday about South American horses who come to the United States to race. ``She got good at the point I got her. I got lucky. She’s a good horse and good horses makes you look good.″
Riboletta came to the United States in 1999 after racing in Brazil the previous year. She won one of six starts last year for trainer Bob Baffert, then Jones gave her to Inda in January. Since then, she has won seven times, and five of her victories were in Grade I stakes, the last being a two-length triumph over Beautiful Pleasure in the 1 1/8-mile Beldame Oct. 14 at Belmont Park.
Win or lose Saturday, Inda thinks, ``She should be champion. Just to win five Grade I and two Grade II stakes, it’s hard for a horse to do that.″
The 1999 champion older filly and mare was Beautiful Pleasure, who has three wins and two seconds in six starts this year.
``I’ve very proud of her for coming back from a championship year and racing as well as she has,″ Ward said.
As for the loss to Riboletta, Ward said, ``Both of them ran faster than they ever had before (Riboletta in 1:46 and Beautiful Pleasure in 1:46 2-5). Can either of them come back and put on that kind of sterling performance?″
She thinks Beautiful Pleasure might have been hurt in the Beldame by the fact that it was her first start in seven weeks. Riboletta had raced four weeks previously.
While Ward’s husband, John, is listed as the trainer for Beautiful Pleasure, owned by John Oxley, she not only does the actual training but also serves as exercise rider and nursemaid for the mare.
Other Distaff contenders include the 3-year-old Jostle, winner of three straight stakes; Heritage of Gold, winner of five of seven starts this year; and Plenty of Light, winner of Keeneland’s Spinster Oct. 14. Plenty of Light also is owned by Jones, but she is trained by Elliott Walden.
It was announced Tuesday that Celtic Pride Stable, managed by Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino, has sold breeding rights for A P Valentine to Michael Tabor and Coolmore Stud. Nick Zito, trainer of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contender, said the price was $15 million.
Under terms of the deal, A P Valentine will continue to race in Celtic Pride’s colors and be trained by Zito through the 2001 season unless he is retired to stud earlier by mutual agreement. The colt will stand at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.
There will be six other Breeders’ Cup races, topped by the $4 million Classic.