LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Born in Argentina, a hero in Uruguay, and now a champion in America.

Invasor beat the mighty Bernardini in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, delivering a performance worthy of Horse of the Year honors.

When the two went eyeball-to-eyeball in the stretch at Churchill Downs and the crowd of 75,132 cheering, it was Bernardini who blinked as Invasor blew past for a one-length victory.

“For sure, he’s the older horse of the year. Maybe the Horse of the Year,” Invasor’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He’s a great horse to have in your stable, that’s for sure.”

Earlier, there was tragedy when the filly Pine Island was euthanized after breaking down on the backstretch during the $2.2 million Distaff. Fleet Indian, the favorite, also was injured in the race won by Round Pond, but was expected to recover.

Invasor’s win in America’s richest race was the ninth in 10 career starts for the 4-year-old colt, whose only loss was in the UAE Derby in Dubai after he was purchased by Sheik Hamdan’s Shadwell Stable.

But when he arrived here under McLaughlin’s care, the colt ripped off wins in the Pimlico Special, the Suburban Handicap and the Whitney Handicap.

Invasor was supposed to meet Bernardini in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 7, but spiked a fever and missed the race. It was 91 days between races, but it didn’t bother Invasor, bred in Argentina and Uruguay’s Triple Crown winner.

With Brother Derek setting the pace, Bernardini made a bold move for the lead around the far turn, and seemed to take charge entering the stretch.

But Invasor, with 18-year-old Fernando Jara aboard, wouldn’t let Bernardini get away and roared past for the victory. And just like that, Bernardini’s six-racing winning streak wasn’t so impressive anymore.

There was an objection lodged against Bernardini by Brother Derek’s jockey, Alex Solis. He claimed Bernardini banged into his colt in the stretch, but the stewards let the order of finish stand.

Javier Castellano, Bernardini’s regular rider, was aboard Pine Island but gave a thumb’s up sign after tumbling off the filly and getting to his feet. He said the fall didn’t affect his ride aboard Bernardini.

Trainer Todd Pletcher was not so lucky. He sent out a record 17 horses and was shut out. He had second-place finishes in three races – Octave in the $2 million Juveniles Fillies, Circular Quay in the $2 million Juvenile and Friendly Island in the $2.1 million Sprint, and still finished with more than $3.4 million in earnings.

Before the Classic, there were several big upsets. Miesque’s Approval won the $2.1 million Mile at 24-1; 15-1 shots took the Sprint (Thor’s Echo) and the Juvenile (Street Sense); Round Pond was 13-1 in the Distaff; and Red Rocks captured the $3 million Turf at 11-1.

Invasor covered the 1 miles in 2:02.18 and returned $15.40 to win as the second betting choice. Lava Man, the best of the West Coast with a 7-for-7 record this year, was never a factor and finished seventh.

Premium Tap was third, followed by 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, Brother Derek, George Washington, Lava Man, Perfect Drift, Lawyer Ron, Sun King, Flower Alley, Suave and David Junior.

In the Distaff, Pine Island, trained by Shug McGaughey, was removed from the track in an ambulance and euthanized because of a dislocated left front ankle, which broke the skin and introduced infection into her bloodstream, said Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, an on-call veterinarian

Fleet Indian sustained ligament injuries in her left front fetlock joint, which is repairable, said McIlwraith.

There were few smiles in the winner’s circle from Round Pond trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado, who endured similar heartbreak when Barbaro took a devastating misstep in the Preakness Stakes in May.

Barbaro’s injury ended his career, and he is still recovering.

“I’ve been in that situation and nobody ever likes to see that happen,” Matz said.

Juvenile

Street Sense pulled a big upset, and now has a big burden to carry into next year’s Kentucky Derby.

After a record-setting 10-length win in the Juvenile, Street Sense now becomes the early Derby favorite saddled with trying to break a 23-year-old jinx: No Juvenile winner has gone on to win the run for the roses.

“I don’t believe in anything,” trainer Carl Nafzger said. “The only problem we got in winning the Derby is we’re 1 in 18,000. There’s 18,000 other colts out there to run at us. You’ve got to be ready on this Saturday and that Saturday.”

Street Sense, ridden by Calvin Borel, shot through along the rail to win by the largest margin in the Juvenile’s 23-year history – and second largest in any Breeders’ Cup race.

Street Sense paid $32.40 to win.

Juvenile Fillies

Dreaming of Anna left her owner with tears in his eyes after an emotional victory.

Named after owner Frank Calabrese’s sister, who died of cancer 16 years ago, Dreaming of Anna took the lead early and beat Octave by 11/2 lengths to remain undefeated in four starts.

Calabrese’s eyes welled with tears on his 78th birthday, and he was too choked up to talk immediately after the race. Later, he said he would consider running his filly in the Kentucky Derby.

“If she stays healthy, I think she can do it,” he said.

Dreaming of Anna likely clinched the 2-year-old filly championship in beating 13 rivals.

Filly & Mare Turf

Just call Ouija Board the queen of the turf.

The 5-year-old European sensation unleashed an explosive rally in the stretch and won the Filly & Mare Turf by 2 1/4 lengths over Film Maker in her final race in America.

Ouija Board also won the 2004 Filly & Mare Turf at Lone Star Park and finished second in last year’s edition at Belmont Park.

“I was very fortunate to have ridden her,” jockey Frankie Dettori said. “She’s the best filly in the world, without a doubt.”

Ouija Board will be retired at the end of the season after races in Japan and Hong Kong. The 7-5 favorite returned $4.80 to win.

Sprint

Thor’s Echo took the lead at the top of the stretch and pulled an upset in the Sprint, defeating another long shot, Friendly Island, by four lengths.

Henny Hughes, the 8-5 favorite, finished last in the 14-horse field.

Thor’s Echo paid $33.20 to win.

Mile

Miesque’s Approval was headed for retirement late last year. Marty Wolfson talked owner Charlotte Weber out of it, and the 7-year-old horse won the biggest race of his career.

Pulling away in the stretch, Miesque’s Approval beat Aragorn by 2 3/4 lengths at odds of 24-1, returning $50.60 to win.

Turf

Red Rocks rallied for an upset as Frankie Dettori won his second Breeders’ Cup race of the day.

“I’m having a fabulous Breeders’ Cup,” Dettori said before launching his famed flying dismount in the winner’s circle.

Red Rocks, trained by Brian Meehan, paid $23.60 to win.

AP-ES-11-04-06 1941EST


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