Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates after riding Vino Rosso to victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic horse race at Santa Anita Park, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Vino Rosso wins Breeders' Cup Classic marred by horse injury

November 02, 2019 - 9:21 pm

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Vino Rosso won the $6 million Classic at the Breeders' Cup by 4 1/4 lengths, upsetting 5-2 favorite McKinzie in a race marred by an injury to a 15-1 long shot on Saturday night.

Mongolian Groom was part of the early pace in the 1 1/4-mile race that capped the two-day world championships at Santa Anita. But jockey Abel Cedillo pulled up the 4-year-old gelding near the eighth pole as the rest of the field charged toward the finish line.

Santa Anita has been the site of 36 horse deaths since December.

It was the only injury in the 14 Cup races.

A green screen was rushed onto the track to block Mongolian Groom from the view of 67,811 fans and a prime-time television audience. The 4-year-old gelding was loaded onto an equine ambulance and taken to a hospital on the backstretch.

"We know he's injured his left hind leg," said Dr. Al Ruggles, the on-call veterinarian. "We don't understand the severity of the injury."

Vino Rosso went off at 9-2 odds for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Classic. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned a leading fourth Cup victory of the weekend.

McKinzie, the 5-2 favorite, finished second for trainer Bob Baffert.

Higher Power was third and Elate, a 5-year-old mare taking on the boys, finished fourth.

Vino Rosso covered the distance in 2:02.80 and paid $11.20, $5.80 and $4.


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