Singletary a surprise winner of Breeders' Cup Mile
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- A colt named for a famous football player scored big for an exuberant group of self-proclaimed small-time owners when Singletary, using a huge rally after turning for home, raced to an upset victory Saturday in the $1,540,560 Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park.
The victory resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of emotion from the connections of Singletary, a 4-year-old colt who cost a mere $3,200 when sold at auction as a yearling. Most of the 13-member Little Red Feather syndicate that owns Singletary watched the Mile on the second floor of the Lone Star grandstand along with family and friends, and as soon as the field crossed the wire, they broke out in chants of "Singletary! Singletary!" Some even ran down the up escalator on their way to the winner's circle.
"We're just modest, everyday people," said Billy Koch, who heads up the California-based syndicate. "I try to show people that this game is for everyone. This shows you don't have to spend $1.5 million or $8 million to come up with a good horse. We know how lucky we are to be here."
Singletary, named for retired Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, returned $35 after finishing in 1:36.90 over a yielding turf course. The $2 exacta paid $1,495.60, and the $2 trifecta paid $12,435.20.
For winning trainer Don Chatlos, Singletary was his first Breeders' Cup starter.
"Here I am, just a poor kid from the south side of Chicago where there aren't any horses, and here I am, on top of the world," said Chatlos, a former assistant to California trainers Ron Ellis and John Sadler.
Soaring Free led for the first six furlongs of the Mile, setting fractions of 24.03 seconds, 48.65, and 1:12.71 while being chased by Special Ring, Domestic Dispute, and Whipper. As the leaders bent for home, Flores urged Singletary for his best, driving him through an opening, and the furious midstretch run kept Singletary clear of Irish invader Antonius Pius, ridden by Jamie Spencer.
"When I saw light at the head of the stretch, I let him roll," said Flores.
Spencer said of Antonius Pius, "I gave him a couple of cracks in the stretch and he edged away from the stick. He really should have won it. He has so much ability."
Singletary, by Sultry Song, had been first or second in 10 of his 15 previous starts, with his most notable victory coming in the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup at Bay Meadows in April.
Koch said that Mike Singletary, the Chicago Bears linebacker who is now an assistant coach for the Baltimore Ravens, was unable to watch the Mile because of his traveling schedule, "but I'm sure he is going to be thrilled."