Saturday's first race of the 2011 Breeders' Cup, the Marathon, has come and gone, and already racing fans are seeing their share of shockers. Birdrun, ridden by John Velazquez, who was the favorite heading into today, finished second. Giant Oak, another one of the favorites, ended up finishing third.
The winner? None other than Afleet Alex's son, long-shot Afleet Again. The horse had the greatest odds heading into the race, with odds as high as 41/1, and anyone was ended up betting on him is sitting pretty after this race.
The win was Afleet Again's first this year, and in 24 races, it is only his fourth. Given the rarity of wins in Afleet Again's career, this just makes the race that much more surprising. The fact that it was a definitive two-length victory shows that he had this race well in hand.
It seems that the Marathon, the 14 furlong race (one-and-three-fourths miles), was exactly the type of race that the horse needed to show what he can do, which in his career had not been all that much.
This is the fifth Breeders' Cup win for Cornelio Velasquez and the first for trainer Butch Reid.
The only question in hindsight of this race was how Afleet Again was able to pull this off. It seems that this horse is the opposite of Shackleford. While he's a horse with great speed who tends to tire down the stretch, Afleet Again is one that can clearly hold on for great distances, as we just saw.
Afleet Again is only four years old, and while that may be too old for the major races, most of the horses in this race were between four and six. As a result, it will be exciting to see him in this race next year.