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Volponi Shocks in Breeders’ Cup Win

October 26, 2002

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) _ Volponi stunned the racing world with one of the biggest upsets in Breeders’ Cup history, running away from Medaglia d’Oro to win the $4 million Classic on Saturday.

Sent off as the longest shot (40-1) in the star-studded field of 13, the unheralded Volponi found room along the rail and blew past the fading Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem and beat Medaglia d’Oro by 6 1/2 lengths.

Discarded by the Arlington Park crowd of 46,118 at the betting window, Volponi gave 77-year-old Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson the biggest win of his career.

``He’s a nice horse,″ Johnson said. ``That makes it easy.″

Ridden by Jose Santos, the 4-year-old son of Cryptoclearance failed to win in four starts prior to the Classic, the last and most heralded of eight races at the World Thoroughbred Championships.

``I really believed in this horse,″ Santos said. ``We came to win and we did it.″

War Emblem, in the final race of his career, finished eighth. The frisky black colt now heads for Japan where he will stand at stud after a 55-week campaign that lifted him from obscurity to nearly becoming a Triple Crown winner.

Volponi returned $89, $26.80 and $12.40. Medaglia d’Oro, ridden by Jerry Bailey and trained by Bobby Frankel, paid $4.60 and $3.60 as the 5-2 favorite. Milwaukee Brew, also trained by Frankel, was third and returned $9.06.

Time for the 1 1/4 miles was 2:01.39.

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