Catching Up with 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic Winner Ghostzapper

To celebrate the 40th running of the Breeders' Cup, the TDN will share a photo and catch up with a past winner in each of the 40 days leading up to the event. Today, we have Classic winner Ghostzapper. | Sarah Andrew


Horses aren't supposed to be able to do what Ghostzapper did. The Hall of Famer was so dazzling that the 128 Beyer Speed Figure he registered in the GIII Philip H. Iselin H.–still the highest figure in the history of American racing at a route–isn't even remembered as one of his top races. Some people might count his GI Vosburgh sprinting at three against older horses as one of his best, others might prefer his GI Woodward battle over eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam, and still others might best remember his spectacular daylight GI Met Mile win coming off a seven-month layoff. But there's no denying his GI Breeders' Cup Classic, his first and only time at 10 furlongs, left such an impression he still holds the stakes record of 1:59.02, having run the fastest Classic in the 39-year history of the Breeders' Cup.

Javier Castellano was aboard Ghostzapper for every one of those remarkable performances.

“He was one of the biggest horses and one of the best in my career,” said Castellano. “I say that because you don't see too many horses that do what he did. This horse was particularly diversified at distances. From sprint to long distances, he did everything. He won the sprint races, he won at 1 1/4 miles, he won at a mile, at all the distances. It's hard to stretch out a horse from six furlongs to long and back again, but he did it and he won. He did everything.

“He still has [the Breeders' Cup] record. We're talking about 19 years ago and nobody has broken that record. It was against all the best horses in the world at the time: Funny Cide, Azeri, Pleasantly Perfect.

“He's pretty amazing, such a special horse. He put me on another level in my career. People didn't know who Javier Castellano was at the time and for me to ride the best horse, he opened the door for myself and my family. He opened the door for my career. He's such a special horse. I love him.

“He's just amazing. I'm blessed, thankful, grateful to have ridden such a special horse. Mr. Frankel told me Ghostzapper was the best horse he'd trained in all his life. For him to say that, with all those good horses he had, was pretty amazing.”

Ghostzapper (2000 bay horse, Awesome Again–Baby Zip, by Relaunch)

Lifetime record: Horse of the Year, Ch. older male, MGISW, 11-9-0-1, $3,446,120

Breeders' Cup connections: B-Adena Springs (KY); O-Stronach Stables; T-Robert Frankel; J-Javier Castellano.

Current location: Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa, Paris, Ky.

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