BC Classic (Grade 1)- $6,000.000 Purse
DMR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Dirt
November 6, 2021
It was a great day of racing at DMR that saw a few trainers win multiple races, but the biggest prize of them all was left for last in the running of the BC Classic. This was the third time that Tactical had run in the BC Classic, and in 2019, he nearly pulled it off. That year, he lost in a photo to Splash Mountain at the wire. A year later, and once again starting from post fourteen, Tactical was a non factor. During the 2021 season, Tactical was very strong, but maybe not quite as successful, since he only managed one win before the Classic. He had failed to hit the board in three out of four races, something that only happened one time before in his great career. Still, he was running well but others in the field may have seemed a little more appealing in a race like this. In this BC Classic, he would be closer to the front than he had been in the prior two years, and when it was time to make his move, he stepped up and would not be denied. It’s the third win in the BC Classic for Mb Stables, tying Australia Wide for the most ever, but he has done it with more horses! Jockey T Gaffalione has now won the race twice, having also done so in 2019. Congratulations to them! The winning race time was 2:00.89, nearly the same as the prior edition that was run at DMR. Let’s take a look at it!
(½ Mile- :47.87)- The race begins with Gran Z being shot out of a cannon for Maxmillion Farm. Almost immediately, he opens up a big lead as no one is interested in going up there and running with him. This gives him an initial three length lead over the group of stalkers. There were four lined up in that position, and one of them would be our eventual race winner, Tactical for Mb Stables. He would ride the rail around the opening turn, but be scored in fifth position at half a mile, since the other three were slightly ahead of him. Breath Of The Wild held the second position for Smokey Stover, and running beside him would be Howl Of The Hound, out of Mb Stables. Now, Howl Of The Hound was not initially one of the stalkers, starting a little further back, but came charging on through during the opening turn to get up for the third spot. War Chant ran fourth for Jive Inc., holding the outside line. Just behind them would be Asgar’s So Profound, who would be the post time favorite for the race. He was one of the initial group of four stalkers, but backed off of that just a bit during the turn. In the middle of the field, horses ran in a tight pack, spread five wide across the track. Graveyard (Mb Stables) held the rail here while last year’s Classic winner, Charleys Latte (John Henry) ran right beside him. He won with a come from behind style last year, so there was no reason to be concerned as of yet. Stablemate Splash Mountain was one more lane over, while Aer Stables’ running mates, Locamotive and Contradiction held the outer lanes here. Space Commander (Nakamura Stables) as about a length behind them while running wide, and the trailers were Cheesy (Keikowin Racing) and Grayte Cruise (Fractious).
(¾ Mile- 1:11.71)- Going down the backstretch, Gran Z remains the leader, but his big lead is no longer. Howl Of The Hound, who began his move in the opening turn, would continue to move forward and now be within a half length of the lead, pulling to the outside of Gran Z. He was not the only one looking to get more involved as Breath Of The Wild was not going to let Howl Of The Hound get away from him. He stayed a length behind him, which in turn brought him closer to Gran Z. Tactical ran a good tactical race in the backstretch, continuing to the stay on the rail and staying about two and a half lengths from the lead. He was not pressing the pace, but T Gaffalione was doing well to keep him ahead of the big pack that was behind him. War Chant, still running on the outside, was trying to stay ahead of the pack, too, but looked like he was going to have more trouble doing so. Contradiction was the leader of the group of five behind him, still running on the outside but it would be a clear lane to move forward if he wanted to take a hold of it. Graveyard and Charleys Latte were content to maintain their pace for now while So Profound lost a little ground, dropping into the pack. Locamotive remained in close proximity to them. It was another length and a half to Splash Mountain and Space Commander with Cheesy and Grayte Cruise seemingly way out of it unless they were really saving everything they had for later.
(Top of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- The excitement picks as up as we round the final turn and see Gran Z having company at the front. For now, he was hanging in there but he would lose the lead to Breath Of The Wild. It looked like Howl Of The Hound was going to be the first one to past Gran Z, moving gradually closer with every stride, but once he pulled even, he didn’t quite make the pass. There was always a lane to come on between them, and Breath Of The Wild took a hold of it, and advanced, especially in the second half of the turn. Therefore, it would be him in the lead first as they moved into the stretch, leading Howl Of The Hound by a neck. While this was going on, T Gaffalione decided it was time to have Tactical to make his move for the lead as well, and moved him off the rail since it was occupied still by Gran Z. He looked really good at this point, so Smokey Stover certainly knew that was the one in Mb Stables silks to be worried about. He was within a length of Breath Of The Wild and ready to have a strong run in the stretch. There was about two lengths to the rest of the field and a horse that was really running well was Contradiction, but it was not easy for him since he had to do this on the far outside. He’d get by his former stablemate, War Chant, and was the best choice to grab the win if you didn’t think it was going to be one of the top four. Graveyard, So Profound, and Locamotive were next but lacking the needed push. Then came Splash Mountain, who moved up a little bit, but he had a large task in front of him if he was going to make a bid for the win. The others were beaten at this point.
(Finish- 2:00.89)- Moving into the stretch, Breath Of The Wild dug down deep and showed that he has plenty of heart and desire. It seemed as though Tactical would get to him sooner, but Breath Of The Wild was doing everything he could to hold him off. Tactical, however, is also a horse full of heart and desire, but he also was not going to finish second in a photo again. In the final furlong, he would finally grab the lead from Breath Of The Wild, and pull off the victory by half a length. Howl Of The Hound ran with these two for most of the stretch run but tired late and settled for fifth. While all of this was going on, Splash Mountain kicked it into gear and was the quickest mover in the stretch. This charge would allow him to be third, leaving us to wish he would have started this a little earlier because it would have been great to see another Tactical-Splash Mountain BC Classic photo. Contradiction, needing to run in the middle of the track at this point, ran really well and takes fourth and leaves his trainers wishing he had a better trip. Gran Z tired, especially in the late moments, and ends up seventh, caught in the last stride for sixth by Locamotive. So Profound is a disappointment today as he seemed to lack response during the entire race. Rounding it out, it’s War Chant, Graveyard, Space Commander, Cheesy, Grayte Cruise, and Charleys Latte.
About The Winner- Tactical, trained by Mb Stables and ridden to victory by T Gaffalione, is a five year old horse by Cherokee Sunset and is out of Unnatural. He was bred in California by Team 7 Illusions as a third quarter two year old, and was acquired by Mb Stables via a $75.000 claim in his second career start in October 2018. Congratulations to the connections! The win is 11th in 28 starts, his ninth stake win, and eighth graded win. His career earnings are now $7,641.010.
Time: :474 1:113 1:354 2:004
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 4 – 10 Paid 136.40
$1 Trifecta: 4 – 10 – 3 Paid 1,147.90
Scratched: Big Bang Raj, Downward Roll, Freddo Cappuccino
Categories: BC 2021, Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES, THE BREEDERS CUP