ARCADIA, Calif. — Notes and observations from the final day of the Breeders' Cup:
Most deserving winner
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Veteran jockey Richard Migliore, one of the classiest and most respected people in the industry, finally can add a Breeders' Cup triumph to his résumé after guiding Desert Code to an upset victory in the Turf Sprint.
Migliore was the regular rider of 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, but had to miss the race that year when he broke his leg and injured his Achilles' tendon in a paddock accident nine days prior.
"Some of it is just the breaks of the game, some of it unfortunately is the breaks of my body," Migliore said. "Artie Schiller hurt because I was right on the cusp of riding him and I knew how good he was doing. At the same time, the horse deserved to win. He was going to win with anybody that day."
Migliore also gets the honor of having the best perspective. After 26 years of riding on the East Coast, Migliore moved West in fall 2006 but recently shifted his tack back to New York.
"I went back to New York because I knew it was the right thing for my family," he said. "If I fail as a husband and father, there's no coming back from that. I can fail as a jockey and there's nine more horses tomorrow."
Midnight Lute, who made just one start this year and was nearly retired earlier in the year with a hock injury, came back to repeat as the winner in the Breeders' Cup Sprint using the same devastating sweeping move that left fans awestruck a year ago.
Midnight Lute joins Miesque (1987-88 Mile), Lure (1992-93 Mile), Tiznow (2000-01 Classic), High Chapparal (2002-03 Turf) and Bayakoa (1989-90 Distaff) as the only back-to-back Breeders' Cup winners.
"I've never had a horse like this. This was the best horse I've ever trained," trainer Bob Baffert said. "Today, what he did, you just don't see horses do what he does. Incredible."
Best one-man show
If you had Garrett Gomez on your horse this weekend, chances are you had a very good Breeders' Cup. Gomez became the first jockey to ride three Breeders' Cup winners on one card when he guided Albertus Maximus to victory in the Dirt Mile, Midshipman in the Juvenile, and Midnight Lute in the Sprint.
Gomez also rode Ventura to the win in the Filly and Mare Sprint on Friday.
"Any time you end up in the winner's circle, and especially on a day like today, it gives you an amazing feeling," Gomez said.
Best show of strength
The cameras may have been glued to the Coolmore contingent this week but it was Sheikh Mohammed's Darley outfit that stole the show.
In addition to claiming the biggest prize of all, the Classic, with Raven's Pass, Sheikh Mohammed's operation won the Juvenile with Midshipman and the Juvenile Turf with Donativum.
"I'm only sorry Princess Haya of Jordan and Sheikh Mohammed can't be here because that makes it extra special for me," said John Ferguson, chief advisor to Sheikh Mohammed.
Biggest hard-luck tale
While Darley dominated, none of the eight entrants from trainer Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle stable were able to notch a win, although Henrythenavigator finished second in the Classic.
Best overall story
A total of 14 races were held with more than 160 horses participating over two days and we made it through without a single breakdown and without any ambulance runs. Everything else after that was gravy.