Drosselmeyer wins the 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic, beating Game On Dude to the wire (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
When Drosselmeyer crossed the line first in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic, he cemented his place in racing’s history books.
Drosselmeyer became only the second horse to win both the Belmont Stakes - a feat he accomplished in 2010 - and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Breeders’ Cup Classic win also was the first victory in the race for Drosselmeyer’s owner, WinStar Farm, which bought the colt in the name of Maverick Racing for $600,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.
WinStar won the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2010 and had a recent track record for success with horses at classic distances. WinStar bred 2003 dual classic winner and champion Funny Cide and WinStar homebred Bluegrass Cat ran second in the 2006 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes; homebred Well Armed won the 2009 Dubai World Cup; and homebred Super Saver prevailed in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Drosselmeyer continued WinStar’s fantastic classic run.
Drosselmeyer broke his maiden in 2009 by sixth lengths, showing the talent that had prompted his price tag. Stepping up to stakes competition as a 3-year-old in 2010, Drosselmeyer finished third in the Louisiana Derby before taking second in the Dwyer Stakes in his next start.
The Dwyer set him up perfectly the Belmont Stakes. Drosselmeyer worked his way from fifth to third by the time the field hit the stretch, rallying five wide under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. Drosselmeyer responded to Smith’s urging to take command in the final sixteenth of a mile and win his first graded stakes in one of U.S. racing’s signature races. The Belmont was Drosselmeyer’s final start of the year, but he would return for an encore in 2011
Drosselmeyer spent his 4-year-old season running against some of the top horses in the country, including an attempt on the turf that August. With a win in the One Count Stakes and seconds in the Brooklyn Handicap and the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, it appeared that Drosselmeyer was coming into the Breeders’ Cup Classic in peak form.
Drosselmeyer raced near the back of the field in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, sitting comfortably in ninth then 10th as the 12-horse raced along the backstretch. As the field rounded the final turn, Drosselmeyer was in seventh with all of the crowd’s attention focused on the battle up front. It looked like front-runner Game On Dude was poised to get a Breeders’ Cup victory as he lengthened his lead on the field approaching the finish line, but Drosselmeyer spoiled that scenario. He charged down the middle of the track to catch Game On Dude and powerfully drew away to win by 1 ½ lengths.
Drosselmeyer’s win placed him in company with the legendary A.P. Indy, who had pulled off the Belmont Stakes/Breeders’ Cup Classic double 21 years earlier. The win took on even more significance for WinStar because he was sired by Distorted Humor, the farm’s flagship stallion.
“The impact of Drosselmeyer’s win is really hard to put into words. It was an incredibly emotional experience for the farm,” said Leanna Packard, Winstar’s StableMates coordinator and bloodstock assistant. “Drosselmeyer was an underdog and so many people underestimated his ability. He proved people wrong every time. He really helped solidify WinStar’s racing stable as a force. His wins also had a highly emotional impact on the farm because he is by our foundation stallion, Distorted Humor. To see a horse achieve its full potential is just unbelievable.”
Drosselmeyer retired to WinStar after the Breeders’ Cup with more than $3.7 million in earnings. He is popular with fans who stop at the farm and attracts people who like an underdog. Drosselmeyer is good with the frequent crowds that the farm attracts during its tours with his laid-back personality, which also makes him one of the favorites with the farm staff.
Drosselmeyer stands beside his sire at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., where the farm conducts tours three days a week. Drosselmeyer’s first foals will reach the racetrack as 2-year-olds in 2015.
DROSSELMEYER AT WINSTAR FARM
Photo courtesy of WinStar Farm