By Emily Shields
Umberto Rispoli’s first Breeders’ Cup ride turned into a bit of a rodeo when his mount Abarta was pinched between rivals in the first few strides. Rispoli was forced to take up and lost his right iron. Abarta eventually finished 13th in a 14 horse field, but Rispoli was still on board.
On Saturday, Rispoli has two Breeders’ Cup rides, starting with Glass Slippers in the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1). He rides #14 Extravagant Kid, a seven-year-old gelding by Kiss the Kid who has won 14 of 45 career starts. “It’s a sprint race, and they can always be messy,” Rispoli said. “It’s only five and a half furlongs, and everyone wants a good position. But we’ll have had the Friday races to see how the track is playing, and if it gives an advantage to front runners or horses coming from behind.”
Extravagant Kid has been second in his last two starts, including the Woodford Stakes Presented by TVG (G2) over this course. Rispoli rode a different horse in that race, finishing fourth. “I would prefer to have drawn between 6 and 9, but I’d rather be outside than inside,” the rider said. “You might get stuck when horses are tiring, and you don’t want that. There are plenty of horses in the race with a chance. Leinster was the winner last time (over Extravagant Kid), Oleksandra will be coming from behind. Horses like Bombard, Wildman Jack, and Into Mystic have speed. Got Stormy has been amazing and is probably going to be the favorite in the race. We’re going to need luck.”
Rispoli’s second mount is the Phil D’Amato-trained Red King, who drew Stall 8 in the $4 million Turf (G1). “We are facing some high-level horses from all around the world,” Rispoli said. “I don’t think this horse deserves to be 20-1, but I don’t really look at numbers. They don’t matter, so I don’t care about them. The horse has done nothing wrong since Del Mar. He’s a good feeling horse, but three-quarters of the horses will be able to run the distance pretty well. Magical is the one to beat. United is having an amazing season. Mogul is a nice three-year-old coming up. I just wish there was a lot of speed in the race because that’s what he needs. Winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf would be a dream come true.”
As for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Rispoli likes Improbable. “I saw him in the morning at Santa Anita, and he’s working amazing. He’s having a different season than the others, and will enjoy the fact that there’s a lot of speed up front. He is the horse to beat.”
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