Trainer Richard Mandella announced at Breeders' Cup press conference that his 5yo mare BEHOLDER USA scoped badly and is out of the Breeders' Cup Classic where she was second fav to AMERICAN PHAROAH at 3/1.
She was aggressive on the plane from California and worked herself into a fever. Latest scans show blood on irritated lungs.
Neither Mandella nor her owner Spendthrift Farm wants to risk her despite the condition not being serious.
Connections hope she races at six.
She is by Henny Hughes USA out of Leslie's Lady USA (Tricky Creek USA).
Hardened journalists were teary for Mandella.
The great international champion CIGAR died this year. He resided at the Kentucky Horse Park and was buried at the Hall Champions at the KHP in Lexington.
Douwe 'Dow' Blumberg was commissioned to create a statue of him with Jerry Bailey winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic.
His trainer Bill Mott joined the twosome at the dedication of the tasteful statue: CIGAR 1990 - 2015 iNCOMPARABLE, INVINCIBLE UNBEATABLE.
NATIONAL HORSE SHOW
KY Horse Park Alltech Arena hosts the Longines National Horse Show from October 27 to November 1.
THREE HORSES SET LEVEL OF BC
Triple Crown Winner AMERICAN PHAROAH
UK Derby and Arc de Triomphe winner GOLDEN HORN
So many outstanding horses competing in the nine-race Breeders' Cup Championships and the public has fixated on the three most accomplished.
AMERICAN PHAROAH is the first to win America's Triple Crown in 37 years since AFFIRMED. (Triple Crown includes Derby, Preakness & Belmont Stakes held in May to mid June).
Winning the 1m2f Breeders' Cup Classic would establish another first in racing history for AMERICAN PHAROAH.
Win or not, his stud future is assured at Coolmore's luxurious Ashford Farm.
He is also assured of the Eclipse Horse of the Year Award and Champion Three-Year Old Award.
His major competition for HOY, BEHOLDER, has lost her chance to defeat him in the Classic due to bleeding after flying from California. She was his main rival as second favourite at 3/1.
BEHOLDER's trainer Richard Mandella knew that, despite her winning two Distaffs and many prestigious races over her five years, even winning the Classic would not win her the HOY.
Unlucky year to be the second best. She may have another chance at emulating ZENYATTA in being the second female to win the Classic if she races at six.
Racing is gutted for Mandella and his connections.
GOLDEN HORN is Europe's wonder horse having won the Investec Derby, Coral Eclipse, Irish Champions Stakes and an impressive Arc de Triomphe where he faced two-time winner TREVE FR. He has only lost the Juddmonte International Stakes by a fluke in his eight-race career.
The three-year-old colt is favourite in the Breeders' Cup Turf, 1m4f, which precedes the Classic.
Very wet weather could pose a ground problem, but his trainer John Gosden wants him to run. It will be his last chance as GOLDEN HORN retires to Darley Stud where his sire CAPE CROSS IRE resides.
The two great racing adversaries, Coolmore and Darley or Ballydoyle and Godolphin, have each won the rights to two of the best males in recent history.
If racing is lucky, BEHOLDER will return next year and win the Classic. When she retires, the best males will be her mates.
BREEDERS' CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Keeneland Race Course in Lexington KY was chosen to host the 32nd Breeders' Cup World Championships on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31.
The Breeders' Cup offers 13 grade one races with purses and awards totaling $26 million.
Four races are held on Championship Friday ending with the Distaff which follow Keeneland's earlier races.
Nine races are on Saturday featuring the swan song of the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years - AMERICAN PHAROAH.
NBC Sports Group will televise the Championships live.
Forty-four horses qualified for automatic starting positions through the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series. Approximately 200 horses are entered to qualify for the 178 slots. Twelve races are limited to 14. The Filly & Mare and Dirt Mile races have 12 each.
Horses who are racing come from all over the world.
Keeneland was chosen because it is a first-class race course in the heart of US horse country. It is a small, elegant facility which opened in central Kentucky in 1936 close to Blue Grass Airport and is surrounded by many of the most famous farms in US racing history.
Amazingly this small race course (capacity 45,000) has undertaken its normal races, hosting the Breeders' Cup which will draw many more thousands of visitors and ending with its world-famous Keeneland Sales all within a week.
Just the logistics of barning so many horses for races and sales is daunting in its compact property.
Fortunately, the State of Kentucky is 100% behind Keeneland's efforts and has even volunteered the Kentucky National Guard to safeguard the horses.
Unfortunately, the weather has not been kind. Kentucky's drought ended with a deluge which soaked both the sandy Turf course and Dirt course.
Weather reports predict two dry days (today has glorious sun) with a possible return to rain in the middle of Saturday's Championships. More rain could prevent several of the prominent horses from participating in the top two races (the Turf and Classic).
The caliber of horses is extraordinary in all the races. It could be the best Breeders' Cup Championships in its 32-year existence.
It would be a pity if the weather spoiled the event by forcing some of the best horses to retire.