One of the most enigmatic heroes of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup was also one of the most unlikely.
A 9-year-old Argentina-bred who arrived in the U.S. long before his date with destiny at Santa Anita Park, Calidoscopio was more than just “under the radar.” Trained by Guillermo Frenkel and owned by Stud Dona Poncha, the son of Luhuk would’ve been a complete unknown had it not been for his “unconventional” training methods that drew attention in the mornings.
Calidoscopio often galloped – and galloped and galloped – without a saddle. Even more intriguing was his unfamiliar headgear, a white cloth called a “bonnet” that wrapped around his neck and stretched between his ears. Frenkel said the bonnet helped “prevent head colds.”
Although Calidoscopio didn’t race in the bonnet, it became a subject of muse during Breeders’ Cup week. The bonnet was elevated to cult status for a short time after Calidoscopio pulled off a 17-1 upset in the Marathon.
The legend of the “bonnet” conjures up memories of other Breeders’ Cup artifacts. Sure, there are the usual pieces – whips, saddlecloths, jockey’s gear, halters and colorful blinkers. Some, however, have special meaning because they stood out as mementos of the moment.
Remember Stacelita’s eye patch? How about an hourglass filled with Santa Anita synthetic? Surely there’s something unique from Zenyatta’s legendary efforts.
It would all make for a visually stimulating trek through time in a Breeders’ Cup museum.
What would be your favorite Breeders’ Cup “artifact?”