Midlantic Breeders’ Cup: Saturday wrap
Arrogate edges California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Photo by Michael McInally/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup.
Breeders’ Cup Saturday brought more virtuoso performances, topped in the end by Arrogate, who ran down California Chrome to win the $6 million Classic. It also brought victory to one Midlantic-bred.
Here’s the roundup:
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES
It was bombs away in the first Breeders’ Cup race of the day, as 33-1 outsider Champagne Room, involved in the early pace, cleared to lead into the stretch and then had enough to hold off the late run of Valadorna by three-quarters of a length. It was the second graded win for the Broken Vow filly, who broke her maiden in the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar in August.
“She was a little bit strong, but I was able to relax a bit in the backstretch and follow the Baffert horse [Noted and Quoted],” said jockey Mario Gutierrez. “From that point on, she was waiting until I said in the end, when I asked her, she was all game, she was all heart, and she demonstrated that all the way to the wire.”
Maryland-bred Dancing Rags, sent off at 18-1, was the lone Midlantic horse in the race. The Graham Motion trainee, based at Fair Hill, entered off a win in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland but could do no better than an eighth place finish under jockey Angel Cruz here.
BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY AND MARE TURF
The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf set up for a deep closer like Pennsylvania-bred Al’s Gal to get the money, as Avenge and Catch a Glimpse provided a lively pace in the 10-furlong event: 46.16 seconds for the half-mile and 1:10.11 for three quarters.
But when the serious running started, it was English shipper Queen’s Trust who quickened best of all, running down Lady Eli to win by a nose.
“I was very fortunate mid-turn that I got behind the favorite [Lady Eli],” said Queen’s Trust’s rider, Frankie Dettori. “And then on the straight, the first jump on me, and my first reaction, I thought, well, I’ll be a good third. Then she started to motor and, you know, it’s funny. It’s a sure straight, but those last hundred yards make a big difference, and she got into top gear, and we flashed past the line, I was pretty much sure that we won.”
As for Al’s Gal, the Mike Maker trainee found herself just a half-length behind the winner after three-quarters of a mile and in 12th place. She made up a bit of ground late to be ninth but steadied near the eighth pole and could be no better than ninth at the end.
BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
A pair of mid-Atlantic-based horses competed in yesterday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. One, Jorge Navarro trainee Delta Bluesman, figured to be overmatched, went off at 18-1, and ultimately finished sixth after being in the early pace mix.
The other, Arnaud Delacour’s Fair Hill-based A. P. Indian entered the race on a six-race winning streak and figured to be a major player.
Under jockey Joe Bravo, A. P. Indian, the 5-2 second choice in the field of seven, sat a perfect trip off the speed — the opening quarter went in 21.49 seconds, and the half was 44.03 — but ran out of steam in the lane and had to settle for fourth,
Bob Baffert trainee Drefong, a three-year-old Gio Ponti colt, earned the win, wearing down favored Masochistic after a long battle to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
BREEDERS’ CUP TURF SPRINT
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s Obviously ($9.60) became the first favorite to win at the 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships, taking the lead shortly out of the gate and then holding off Om by a nose to win the ninth running of the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up in a race without mid-Atlantic connections.
Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Flavien Prat, Obviously covered the 6 ½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:11.33. It was the first Breeders’ Cup victory for D’Amato and Prat.
“This is tremendous,” said D’Amato. “A (first Breeders’ Cup) win for me and for my old boss Mike Mitchell, who had the horse before me.”
For the 8-year-old Irish-bred Obviously, who was making his fifth Breeders’ Cup start, it was his first taste of success after finishing third, fifth twice and ninth in the past four runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile after setting the pace in all four races.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE
John Oxley’s Classic Empire ($11) disposed of Syndergaard at the head of the stretch and then held off a bid from favored Not This Time by a neck to win the 33rd running of the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) for 2-year-olds. There were no horses with connection to the mid-Atlantic in the race.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Classic Empire covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:42.60. A Kentucky-bred son of Pioneerof the Nile, Classic Empire has won four of five starts with the lone blemish coming in the Hopeful when he wheeled at the start of the race and lost his rider.
“We got a little unlucky with Valadorna [who was second in the Juvenile Fillies], but maybe we got lucky this time,” said winning trainer Mark Casse. “We have a lot of wonderful people that we work for and we have a great team.
The victory was the second World Championships triumph for Oxley, whose Beautiful Pleasure won the 1999 Distaff at Gulfstream Park. It was the third Breeders’ Cup win for Casse and seventh for Leparoux and first in the Juvenile for both.
BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Highland Reel went to the front shortly after the break, opened a huge lead on the run down the backstretch and had more than enough to hold off favored Flintshire by 1 ¾ lengths to win the 33rd running of the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) for 3-year-olds and up. No Midlantic horses were in the race.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Seamus Heffernan, Highland Reel covered the mile and a half on a firm turf course in 2:23.00. Defending champion Found finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in third.
“[Jockey] Seamus (Heffernan) is a great lad,” said winning trainer Aiden O’Brien, who also trains third-place finisher Found. “We were quite happy to make the running here. He’s a very good horse and I’m absolutely delighted.”
It was the seventh victory for the partnership of owners in the World Championships and third in the Turf with the other wins coming with Found last year and St Nicholas Abbey in 2011.
It is Heffernan’s first Breeders’ Cup win and the 11th for O’Brien with six of them coming in the Turf. O’Brien’s other Turf winners are High Chapparal (2002-03), St Nicholas Abbey, Magician (2013) and Found.
BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY AND MARE SPRINT
Two mid-Atlantic horses contested the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, with Finest City winning and Spelling Again running sixth.
BREEDERS’ CUP MILE
WinStar Farm, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s Tourist ($26.80) held off a late charge from defending champion Tepin by a half-length to win the 33rd running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario, Tourist covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:31.71, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan at Santa Anita in 2013.
It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for the winning partnership, the ninth for Mott and fifth for Rosario and the first in the race for the trainer and rider.
“Just a great trip,” said Mott. “He bailed us out. We had three that didn’t run so well and we had one last chance. He ran beautifully.”
Tourist, a 5-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, was making his third start in the Mile having finished eighth last year at Keeneland and 13th in the 2013 Championships at Santa Anita.
Trainer Graham Motion sent out a pair of horses from his Fair Hill base. Miss Temple City, at 22-1, ran a good fifth, beaten just over two lengths. Ring Weekend was another length-and-change farther back in seventh.
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate ($5.40) ran down odds-on favorite California Chrome in deep stretch to win the 33rd running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by a half-length Saturday afternoon before a Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup record crowd of 72,811.
The previous Santa Anita record was set in 1986, the first time the track hosted the event, of 69,155. Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders’ Cup nine times.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Arrogate covered the mile and a quarter on a fast main track in 2:00.11. It was the fifth consecutive victory for Arrogate, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Unbridled’s Song.
“When Chrome was out there cruising, I thought no way he’s going to catch him, he’s going to run second, but at least he showed up,” said Baffert. “Then all of a sudden, Mike’s riding and he’s catching up little by little with that big stride kicking in. I felt like when Trevor (Denman) says ‘this is un-believe-able.’ I never thought he would be able to catch Chrome.”
It was the fifth Breeders’ Cup victory for Juddmonte and first in the Classic.
“He ran his race, but just got beat in those last couple of jumps,” said Chrome’s trainer, Art Sherman. “That winner (Arrogate) is the real McCoy.”
The victory gave Baffert a third consecutive triumph in the Classic, an unprecedented achievement at the World Championships. Now a winner of 14 Breeders’ Cup races, Baffert won the 2014 Classic with Bayern and last year’s running with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Smith, who won three races this weekend to boost his World Championships total to a record 25, won the Classic for the fourth time. Smith’s other Classic wins came on Skip Away in 1997, Zenyatta in 2009 and Drosselmeyer in 2011.
California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took the lead out of the gate and raced on an unchallenged lead through fractions of 23 1/5, 47 and 1:10 4/5. Smith had Arrogate in the clear outside of horses on the run down the backside and began moving at the leaders on the far turn.
On the turn, Arrogate cut to the inside of Melatonin, who had been tracking California Chrome, and then shifted to the outside to take dead aim at California Chrome.
California Chrome still maintained a daylight advantage in the upper stretch, but Arrogate closed steadily to pull away late.
The lone mid-Atlantic horse — War Story, trained at Parx Racing by Mario Serey, Jr. and ridden by Scott Spieth — finished eighth at odds of 104-1.