by Jon White
November 7, 2019
VENUE: Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2.
Main Track: dirt, fast Friday and Saturday; Turf Course: firm Friday and Saturday.
$6 MILLION CLASSIC (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Vino Rosso, who paid $11.20, (2) McKinzie, (3) Higher Power.
Winner: Owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable; trained by Todd Pletcher; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 111. Accelerate won the 2018 BC Classic at Churchill Downs with a 105 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Classic: 124 (Sunday Silence in 1989 at Gulfstream Park, Ghostzapper in 2004 at Lone Star Park).
Recap: The final race of Vino Rosso’s career quite probably was his finest.
Fourth early in the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic, he surged to the front with a little more than a sixteenth to go, then drew away to win with authority by 4 1/4 lengths in 2:02.80. This actually was an excellent final time on a main track that many deemed to be deep and quite tiring during both days of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
In my Breeders’ Cup selections for Xpressbet.com and the official Santa Anita program, I picked Vino Rosso to win, McKinzie second and Higher Power third. They finished one-two-three in that order. The 50-cent trifecta paid $98.50.
This win meant a lot to Pletcher, who is a slam-dunk to be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible for the first time in 2021. Pletcher has won the Kentucky Derby twice (Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017), but the BC Classic had eluded him until this year.
Like a fine wine, Vino Rosso has seemed to get better as he has aged. He was a pretty good 3-year-old in 2018, highlighted by a victory in the Grade II Wood Memorial during the spring. But he clearly has been better this year at 4.
In his BC Classic win, Vino Rosso was credited with a career-best 111 Beyer. It was his fourth straight triple-digit figure. He did not record a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in any of his races prior to this year.
It hardly seems a coincidence that Vino Rosso’s first triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure came last spring in a race run over the same surface and at the same 1 1/4-mile trip as this year’s BC Classic. He posted a 105 Beyer when victorious in the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 27.
In between the Gold Cup during the spring in Southern California and the BC Classic in SoCal during the fall, Vino Rosso raced twice in New York. He recorded a 100 Beyer in the Grade I Whitney Stakes and a 106 in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Vino Rosso ran third behind McKinzie and Yoshida in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 3. Vino Rosso then finished first by a nose in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 28, but the stewards disqualified him and placed him second for causing interference, which elevated Code of Honor to first in that 1 1/4-mile event. Code of Honor went into the Gold Cup at Belmont off a win in Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes against fellow 3-year-olds.
Vino Rosso, off at 9-2, avenged his Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup losses in the BC Classic by outrunning both 5-2 favorite McKinzie and 7-2 second-wagering choice Code of Honor.
Vino Rosso followed in the footsteps of his sire, Curlin, as a BC Classic winner. Curlin, voted Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008, won the 2007 BC Classic on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park by 4 1/2 lengths, almost the same 4 1/4-length margin as Vino Rosso in this year’s BC Classic.
As for McKinzie, many have expressed the thought that he probably is at his best when racing from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. But despite being no match for Vino Rosso in the final sixteenth last Saturday, McKinzie did manage to beat everyone else in this particular 1 1/4-mile race. Not only that, it’s to McKinzie’s credit that even though he did not win the BC Classic, he ended up 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Higher Power.
It is true that McKinzie now is winless in three starts at 1 1/4 miles. But it should be remembered that he did run well enough to lose the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap by a only nose when second to Gift Box in that prestigious 1 1/4-mile affair last April 6.
This year’s BC Classic unfortunately was marred by an injury sustained by Mongolian Groom. After winning Santa Anita’s Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 28 in a 25-1 upset, he was made eligible to compete in the BC Classic when his owner, Mongolian Stable, paid a nomination fee of $200,000.
After racing just off pacemaker War of Will through the early furlongs last Saturday, Mongolian Groom began to retreat after going one mile. Jockey Abel Cedillo then pulled up Mongolian Groom in the stretch when the 4-year-old Hightail gelding was in distress. He was vanned to the equine hospital at Santa Anita.
What happened to Mongolian Groom cast a pall over what had been an extremely entertaining two days of Breeders’ Cup competition until that sad incident.
The Breeders’ Cup issued a statement Saturday evening, which said in part: “Mongolian Groom sustained an injury in the Breeders’ Cup Classic today and was immediately attended to by an expert team of veterinarians, led by board certified veterinary surgeon Dr. Ryan Carpenter. During their evaluation at the equine hospital at Santa Anita, they observed a serious fracture to his left hind limb. Radiographs were taken and a complete evaluation was performed. Given the extent of the injury, Dr. Carpenter, in consultation with Dr. Wayne McIllwraith, veterinary surgeon and professor emeritus at Colorado State University; Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board; and attending veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker recommended humane euthanasia of Mongolian Groom.”
$4 MILLION TURF (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Bricks and Mortar, who paid $4 as the favorite, (2) United, (3) Anthony Van Dyck.
Winner: Owned Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 104. Enable won the 2018 BC Turf at Churchill Downs with a 114 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Turf: 118 (Daylami in 1999 at Gulfstream Park).
Recap: With this win, Bricks and Mortar completed his racing career with an unblemished 2019 campaign. He was six for six this year while racing from January to November. Five of his 2019 victories came in Grade I events.
There are 14 Breeders’ Cup races, yet none were considered to be in Bricks and Mortar’s comfort zone in that it was evident that Brown preferred to run him in races at 1 1/8 miles or 1 1/4 miles. Consequently, for a time during the summer, Brown indicated that Bricks and Mortar might not even be seen at the Breeders’ Cup. The 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million was under consideration to serve as Bricks and Mortar’s Breeders’ Cup race, so to speak, according to Brown.
But after Bricks and Mortar won the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 10 to solidify his position as a leading Horse of the Year candidate, it was decided that a trip to the Breeders’ Cup was in order.
But which Breeders’ Cup race should Bricks and Mortar run in, the Mile or the 1 1/2-mile Turf? Brown had been leaning to the Mile. But then a couple of weeks or so before the Breeders’ Cup, he let the cat out of the bag that, based on how Bricks and Mortar had been training, he now was thinking seriously of opting for the longer Turf. It actually made sense that if Bricks and Mortar were to stretch out to 1 1/2 miles for the first time, Santa Anita was an ideal place to try it inasmuch as the first part of the race would be run downhill.
As it turned out, Bricks and Mortar did not have the best of trips in the BC Turf. He pretty much was bottled up through most of the race. After Bricks and Mortar continued to be bottled up on the far turn, Ortiz seized the opportunity to maneuver him toward the outside turning into the stretch to give them a clear run at the top of the lane.
“Bricks and Mortar now gets a seam and he’s going to be cut loose with a furlong to go,” said track announcer Frank Mirahmadi during his call of the race. “Here comes Bricks and Mortar on the outside. And he is finishing with a flourish! Bricks and Mortar STORMS to the front! United running a giant race. But it’s Bricks and Mortar bringing his brilliance to the biggest stage to win the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf!”
By the way, while Bricks and Mortar no doubt was impressive in taking this year’s BC Turf, his performance is an indication of just how great Enable is. Bricks and Mortar was credited with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for his BC Turf win. When Enable won the 2018 BC Turf, she recorded a 114 Beyer.
After Bricks and Mortar’s BC Turf victory, accomplished in 2:24.73, he will race no more. He heads off to stud having won 10 of 12 lifetime starts.
Bricks and Mortar is odds-on to be voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion male turf horse. He also is a heavy favorite to be voted 2019 Horse of the Year.
An indication of the support Bricks and Mortar is going to get from Eclipse Award voters for the Horse of the Year title is he was the overwhelming choice as the top-ranked horse in the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for 2019. He received 42 first-place votes, compared to only two such votes for Mitole. No one else received a single first-place vote.
Bricks and Mortar, I believe, would be a very deserving Horse of the Year in that he ranked No. 1 in the poll for most of the year. When he ranked No. 1 this week, it was the 32nd consecutive week that he had held the top spot.
Here is the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2019:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 438 Bricks and Mortar (42)
2. 388 Mitole (2)
3. 332 Vino Rosso
4. 297 Midnight Bisou
5. 157 McKinzie
5. 157 Sistercharlie
7. 151 Uni
8. 109 Covfefe
9. 102 Blue Prize
10. 90 Maximum Security
Also receiving votes: Code of Honor (50 points), Omaha Beach (34), Imperial Hint (18), Higher Power (16), Spun to Run (15), Got Stormy (14), Elate (10), Iridessa (10), British Idiom (8), Vasilika (7), Belvoir Bay (4), Storm the Court (2), World of Trouble (2), Four Wheel Drive (1).
This was the ballot that I submitted for the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2019:
1. Bricks and Mortar
3. Vino Rosso
4. Midnight Bisou
7. Maximum Security
8. Omaha Beach
10. Code of Honor
A Paulick Report poll is another indication that Bricks and Mortar is going to be the 2019 Horse of the Year. The last time I checked, Bricks and Mortar was receiving 68% of the vote, followed by Mitole at 14%, Vino Rosso at 11% and Midnight Bisou (7%).
$2 MILLION DISTAFF (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Blue Prize, who paid $19.80, (2) Midnight Bisou, (3) Serengeti Empress.
Winner: Owned by Merriebelle Stable; trained by Ignacio Correas; ridden byJoe Bravo.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 103. Monomoy Girl won the 2018 BC Distaff at Churchill Downs with a 96 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Distaff: 120 (Princess Rooney in 1984).
Recap: After losing her first 3 starts of 2019, Blue Prize reeled off three straight victories.
Blue Prize won the Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 18. Next, she took the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 6, a race she also had won in 2018.
And then Blue Prize, in the biggest triumph of her career, rallied from 10th to win the 1 1/8-mile BC Distaff by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:50.50. Midnight Bisou, toward the back of the pack going into the far turn when seeming to struggle on the track, rallied belatedly to finish second in the field of 11 when well clear of everyone but the winner. Serengeti Empress held on for third after leading to the final furlong in her bid to add a BC Distaff win vs. older rivals to her resume after having become a Grade I Kentucky Oaks winner back on May 3.
Midnight Bisou went into the Breeders’ Cup with seven wins this year from seven starts, a record that made her a Horse of the Year candidate. But her Horse of the Year hopes took a major hit with her defeat in the BC Distaff, a race she had finished third in as a 3-year-old in 2018.
As for Blue Prize, who was bred in Argentina, the 6-year-old Pure Prize mare came away with first prize in the 2019 BC Distaff.
$2 MILLION MILE (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Uni, who paid $9.20, (2) Got Stormy, (3) Without Parole.
Winner: Owned by Head of Plaines Partners, Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Joel Rosario.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 106. Expert Eye won the 2018 BC Mile at Churchill Downs with a 101 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Mile: 119 (Miesque in 1987 at Hollywood Park).
Recap: This race was all about girl power.
Uni unleashed a devastating late kick, as she had done a number of times before, to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:32.45. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred More Than Ready mare was 7-2 in the betting. Got Stormy, the 3-1 favorite and the only other distaffer in the field, had a slight lead with a furlong to go. But Got Stormy had to settle for second in the field of 13. European shipper Without Parole nosed out Circus Maximus, also a Euro invader, for third.
With this victory by Uni, she turned the tables on Got Stormy. They had met previously in the Grade I Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 10, a race in which Got Stormy won, while Uni wound up third.
In Uni’s only start between the Fourstardave and the BC Mile, she rocketed home to win Keeneland’s Grade I First Lady Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths on Oct. 5.
$2 MILLION SPRINT (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Mitole, who paid $5.60, (2) Shancelot, (3) Whitmore.
Winner: Owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 112. Roy H won the 2018 BC Spint at Churchill Downs with a 111 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Sprint and the top Beyer in Breeders’ Cup history: 125 (Precisionist in 1985).
Recap: This ride by Santana was a masterpiece. Shortly after Mitole broke alertly, Santana took a peek to his right. Toward Santana’s outside, the speedy 3-year-old Shancelot and Japan’s Matera Sky were dashing for the lead with the kind of speed similar to the Road Runner zooming away from Wile E. Coyote.
Sensing it would not be a good idea to get embroiled in what seemingly was going to be a wicked pace, Santana took a light hold on Mitole, who cooperated to his rider’s cue while proving amenable to being rated. This put Mitole 3 1/2 lengths off the early lead. It might not seem like much, but this meant Mitole was farther behind early than he had ever been in his previous 13 lifetime starts.
Shancelot would go on to complete the opening quarter in :21.47, extremely swift on this track. At that point, he was 1 1/2 lengths in front of Matera Sky, who was the same margin in front of Firenze Fire, who was a half-length in front of Mitole.
A decision to rate a horse early, whether made by a jockey spontaneously or whether a jockey is riding as instructed, can be very significant. A prime example of not rating a horse when it would have been prudent to do so took place in the 2016 Preakness Stakes.
Think of what might have happened if Nyquist had been rated early by Mario Gutierrez in the Preakness. Nyquist would have had a much better chance to win rather than running out of gas late and finishing third after getting cooked in a wicked pace duel with longshot Uncle Lino. How wicked was that pace? It was the fastest opening quarter, :22.38, in the history of the Preakness.
In the Daily Racing Form, Andrew Beyer slammed Gutierrez for his ride.
“It’s not as if Nyquist is a one-dimensional horse,” Beyer wrote. “He did win the Breeders’ Cup coming from eighth place. So he’s a tractable horse when they want him to be. When the gate opened, Gutierrez just put him in a drive, going head-and-head with a 40-1 shot, Uncle Lino. It was reminiscent of Ronnie Franklin [on Spectacular Bid] hitting the gas in the middle of the Belmont to put away a 40-1 shot.”
However, in Gutierrez’ defense, he was riding to the instructions that had been given to him by trainer Doug O’Neill. O’Neill did admit that Gutierrez was only doing what he had been told to do.
Not only did Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist get beat for the first time in his life when he lost the Preakness, he was never the same after that race. He ran fourth and sixth in his next two starts before being retired to stud.
What happened to Nyquist in the Preakness illustrates what a brilliant move it was on Santana’s part to take a light hold early on Mitole in the six-furlong BC Sprint. Shancelot flirted with going the half in :43 and change, a sizzling pace on any surface, let alone on this one. When Shancelot blazed the initial half in :44.04, Mitole had moved closer to get within 2 1/2 lengths of the lead while racing in fourth.
At the eighth pole, Mitole got even closer to the leader, who still was Shancelot. Mitole now was second, just 1 1/2 lengths off Shancelot.
In the final furlong, Mitole charged past Shancelot to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09.00. Shancelot held on for second in the field of eight as the 3-2 favorite. It was an admirable effort by Shancelot considering the rapid pace he had set. Whitmore ended up third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Shancelot.
This completed an outstanding 2019 and a stellar racing career by Mitole. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Eskendereya colt goes off to stud having won 10 of 14 lifetime starts. He won six of seven this year, highlighted by Grade I victories in the Churchill Down Stakes, Met Mile, Forego Stakes and BC Sprint.
Mitole’s 112 Beyer was the highest figure by a winner at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. He is almost certainly will be voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.
$2 MILLION FILLY & MARE TURF (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Iridessa who paid $28.40, (2) Vasilika, (3) Sistercharlie.
Winner: Owned by Mrs. C.C. Regalado-Gonzalez; trained by Joseph O’Brien; ridden by Wayne Lordan.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 105. Sistercharlie won the 2018 BC Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs with a 103 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Turf: 112 (Banks Hill in 2001).
Recap: Move over Craig Dollase.
O’Brien, 26, became the youngest trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race with this victory. He broke the record held by Dollase, who at the age of 27 saddled Reraise to take the 1998 BC Sprint.
In 2011, O’Brien became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup race. He guided St. Nicholas Abbey home first in the 2011 BC Turf for his father, trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Close up when third early in the 1 1/4-mile BC Filly & Mare Turf, Iridessa responded when the real test came to win by a neck in 1:57.77. Vasilika finished second in the field of 10. Sistercharlie came in third as the 4-5 favorite, 2 1/4 lengths behind Vasilika.
Iridessa won two of seven 2019 starts prior to the Breeders’ Cup while racing in Ireland and England. The 3-year-old Ruler of The World filly was victorious at the Group I level in Ireland this year in June and September.
Vasilika could not quite win, but a splendid try was nothing unusual for her on this grass course. Including this race, Vasilika’s record on the Santa Anita turf course is nothing less than remarkable: 13 starts, 11 wins, 2 seconds.
Unquestionably one of the greatest claims in the history of the sport, Vasilika was taken for $40,000 in a race at Santa Anita on Feb. 11, 2018. After that, Vasilika would win 13 of 18 starts while earning $1,722,320 through the BC Filly & Mare Turf.
By finishing third in this race, Sistercharlie was unable to defend her title after winning the 2018 BC Filly & Turf. This defeat also brought an end to Sistercharlie’s streak of six straight victories, all in Grade I events.
$1 MILLION DIRT MILE (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Spun to Run, who paid $20.20, (2) Omaha Beach, (3) Blue Chipper.
Winner: Owned by Robert Donaldson.; trained by Juan Carlos Gonzalez; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 109. City of Light won the 2018 BC Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs with a 110 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Dirt Mile: 119 (Corinthian in 2007).
Recap: Spun to Run won in wire-to-wire fashion by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:36.58 while defeating nine foes. This proved his 6 3/4-length victory in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile at Parx Racing on Oct. 12 was not a fluke.
Spun to Run recorded a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure in the Parx race. He came very close to duplicating that number at the Breeders’ Cup by posting a 109.
This was Spun to Run’s fifth win from eight starts this year. It was his first victory in a Grade I race. The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt’s only other win in a graded race came in the Grade III Smarty Jones at Parx on Sept. 2.
Omaha Beach, also 3, was sidelined following an operation for an entrapped epiglottis that caused him to be withdrawn from the Kentucky Derby on May 4. He returned to competition by winning the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 5, a race in which he defeated the speedy Shancelot by a head in a terrific 1:08.79. That six-furlong clocking was faster than Mitole’s 1:09.00 to win the BC Sprint.
Sent off as the even-money favorite in the BC Dirt Mile, Omaha Beach did not break sharply. He was 7 1/2 lengths off the lead at the quarter pole. Making up that kind of ground in the final quarter on the main track proved problematic for everyone during this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Omaha Beach kept trying and did gain in the lane, but lost by 2 3/4 lengths when unable to close the gap on Spun to Run.
Blue Chipper, the first Korean-raced Thoroughbred to ever participate in a Breeders’ Cup race, finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Omaha Beach. It was a fine effort at 16-1 by Blue Chipper, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by two-time Grade I BC Classic winner Tiznow.
$1 MILLION TURF SPRINT (NOV. 2)
Results: (1), Belvoir Bay, who paid $31.60, (2) Om, (3) Shekky Shebaz.
Winner: Owned by Gary Barber; trained by Peter Miller; ridden by Javier Castellano.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 107. Stormy Liberal won the 2018 BC Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs with a 119 Beyer. Previous top Beyer in the BC Turf Sprint: 119 (Stormy Liberal in 2018).
Recap: Trainer Peter Miller, in quite an accomplishment, won this race for the third straight year. Additionally, Miller finished one-two in this race, also sending out runner-up Om. The $1 Peter Miller exacta paid $133.70.
Miller won this race in both 2017 and 2018 with Stormy Liberal, who finished eighth in this year’s renewal. Stormy Liberal seemed to have lost a step this year at the age of 7. He had lost six in a row going into last Saturday’s BC Turf Sprint.
Belvoir Bay darted immediately to the front and won by 1 1/4 lengths to outrun 11 opponents while completing five furlongs in :54.83.
Though Belvoir Bay went into this race having lost three straight, she figured to appreciate a return to this grass course. This was her seventh win from 10 starts on the turf at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old Great Britain-bred Equiano mare also showed she should not be taken lightly in this race by finishing second to the marvelous sprinter Blue Point in the Group I, $2 million Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai last March 30.
Om, now 7, once again had to settle for second in the BC Turf Sprint. He also was the runner-up in the 2016 edition, losing by a scant nose to Obviously when the race was contested at about 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita.
$1 MILLION FILLY & MARE SPRINT (NOV. 2)
Results: (1), Covfefe, who paid $5, (2) Bellafina, (3) Dawn the Destroyer.
Winner: Owned by LNJ Foxwoods; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Joel Rosario.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 106. Shamrock Rose won the 2018 BC Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs with a 92 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint: 108 (Groupie Doll in 2012 at Santa Anita).
Recap: Unlike the last couple of years, this race was not won by a huge longshot this year.
Bar of Gold paid $135.40 for a $2 win ticket when she took this race in 2017 at Del Mar.
Shamrock Rose returned $53.80 for a $2 win wager when she was victorious in this race in 2018 at Churchill Downs.
This time it was the favorite, Covfefe, who got the job done and paid $5 to win.
Covfefe raced third early in this seven-furlong sprint while within close attendance of the early pace after breaking from the inside post. She grabbed the lead nearing the quarter pole, shook well clear in upper stretch, then held off Bellafina late. Covfefe won by three-quarters of a length in 1:22.40.
Three-year-old fillies finished one-two.
Dawn the Destroyer, a 5-year-old, trailed early in the field of nine and ended up third, 7 3/4 lengths behind Bellafina.
This was Covfefe’s fifth win in six 2019 starts. It was the third time this year that she recorded a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure. For this race, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief received a 106 Beyer. She previously had recorded a 107 when she won the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on Sept 21 and also a 107 when victorious in the Grade III Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 17.
$2 MILLION JUVENILE (NOV. 1)
Results: (1) Storm the Court, who paid $93.80, (2) Anneau d’Oro, (3) Wrecking Crew.
Winner: Owned by Exline-Border Racing, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock; trained by Peter Eurton; ridden by Flavien Prat.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 87. Game Winner won the 2018 BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs with a 93 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile: 113 (War Pass in 2007 at Monmouth Park).
Recap: This was a record-breaking victory. Virtually ignored in the wagering, Storm the Court returned $93.80 to win. This broke the record for the biggest upset in the 36-year history of the BC Juvenile. The highest win payout in this race previously had been $63.20 when European shipper Vale of York took the 2009 renewal by a head on a synthetic surface over 2-1 favorite Lookin At Lucky.
The complexion of this race changed dramatically at the beginning. Dennis’ Moment, the 9-10 favorite, stumbled badly at the start. He trailed throughout.
Considering what happened to Dennis’ Moment at the start, many no doubt then thought 3-2 second favorite Eight Rings had a golden opportunity to win. Eight Rings sat just slightly off pacesetter Storm the Court through the early furlongs. But on the far turn, Eight Rings began to retreat and eventually finished sixth in the field of eight.
Storm the Court, a Kentucky-bred son of Court Vision, won by a neck while completing his 1 1/16-mile journey in 1:44.93. Anneau d’Oro, 28-1 in the wagering, finished second. Wrecking Crew, 39-1, came in third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Anneau d’Oro.
Court Vision once scored an even bigger upset in a Breeders’ Cup race than Storm the Court. Court Vision paid $131.60 when victorious in the 2011 BC Mile at Churchill Downs.
Storm the Court now has won two of four starts. He won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 1 1/2 lengths at first asking Aug. 10 at Del Mar. But in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on Sept. 2, 14-1 Storm the Court was an innocent victim when 1-2 favorite Eight Rings took a left-hand turn shortly after the start and bumped Storm the Court, causing Storm the Court to unseat Prat.
In Santa Anita’s Grade I American Pharoah Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 27, Eight Rings won by six lengths. Storm the Court finished third, 8 1/4 lengths behind Eight Rings.
Eurton added blinkers to Storm the Court’s equipment for the BC Juvenile. This time, Storm the Court not only won, he beat Eight Rings by 12 1/4 lengths.
$1 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (NOV. 1)
Results: (1) Sharing, who paid $29.60, (2) Daahyeh, (3) Sweet Melania.
Winner: Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable; trained by Graham Motion; ridden by Manuel Franco.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 86. Newspaperofrecord won the 2018 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs with a 96 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf: 96 (Lady Eli in 2014 and Newspaperofrecord in 2018).
Recap: Talk about a young filly with a Breeders’ Cup pedigree.
Sharing’s sire is 2004 BC Sprint winner Speightstown.
Sharing’s dam is 2010 BC Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account.
Sharing’s maternal grandsire is 2003 BC Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect.
Motion trained Shared Account, who won the BC Filly & Mare Turf in an even much bigger Breeders’ Cup upset than Sharing. Shared Account paid $94 for a $2 win ticket when she captured the BC Filly & Mare Turf by a neck at Churchill Downs.
How shocking was Shared Account’s BC Filly & Mare Turf win in 2010? At the time, the only bigger longshot to win in Breeders’ Cup history was Arcangues, who paid a rags-to-riches $269.20 for each $2 win wager in the 1993 Classic at Santa Anita.
Fourth early last Friday in the field of 14, Sharing generated the necessary rally to win by 1 1/4 lengths while completing one mile in 1:34.59. Daahyeh, the 7-2 favorite, finished second. Sweet Melania came in third, a neck behind Daahyeh.
$2 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES (NOV. 1)
Results: (1) British Idiom, who paid $7.40, (2) Donna Veloce, (3) Bast.
Winner: Owned by Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Javier Castellano.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 79. Jaywalk won the 2018 BC Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs with a 94 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies: 107 (Tempera in 2001).
Recap: British Idiom now is three for three following this hard-fought, narrow victory at 5-2 over 2-1 favorite Donna Veloce. Bast finished third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Donna Veloce, in the field of nine.
British Idiom and Donna Veloce played bumper cars going into the first turn. After that, Donna Veloce lurked in fourth on the backstretch, while British Idiom was three lengths or so farther back.
Donna Veloce moved up readily to take command turning into the stretch. British Idiom came on to challenge Donna Veloce a furlong out, with just a half-length separating the pair at that point. These two then battled it out fiercely all the way to the finish.
British Idiom won by a neck while completing 1 1/16 miles in an unimpressive 1:47.07. Donna Veloce had to settle for second while making only her second career start and racing around two turns for the first time.
In British Idiom’s first career start, she won a six-furlong maiden special weight race by 3 1/2 lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 15. The Kentucky-bred Flashback filly then took Keeneland’s Grade I Alcibiades Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles.
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF (NOV. 1)
Results: (1) Structor, who paid $12.60, (2) Billy Batts, (3) Gear Jockey.
Winner: Owned by Jeff Drown and Don Rachel; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 79. Line of Duty won the 2018 BC Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs with an 83 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Turf: 93 (Donativum in 2008, Outstrip in 2013, Oscar Performance in 2016).
Recap: Sixth early in the field of 14, Structor got shuffled back to 11th, then came on strongly in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length while completing one mile in 1:35.11. Billy Batts, off at odds of 55-1, finished second. Gear Jockey, an even bigger longshot at 67-1, came in third. Arizona, 12th in the early stages after a sluggish start as the 2-1 favorite, did rally late to end up fifth, though he never threatened.
With this victory, Structor remained undefeated in three starts. He won a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race on the grass Aug. 31 at Saratoga. Next, he won Belmont’s Grade III Pilgrim Stakes by a head at 1 1/16 miles on the turf Sept. 20.
Structor is a Kentucky-bred Palace Malice colt. Palace Malice won the Grade I Belmont Stakes in 2013 and Grade I Met Mile in 2014.
According to Brown, dirt racing likely is in Structor’s future in terms of seeing if he could be a candidate for the Grade I Kentucky Derby next year.
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF SPRINT (NOV. 1)
Results: (1) Four Wheel Drive, who paid $5 as the favorite, (2) Chimney Rock, (3) Another Miracle.
Winner: Owned by Breeze Easy; trained by Wesley Ward; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 86. Bulletin won the 2018 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs with a 90 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint: 90 (Bulletin in 2018).
Recap: This was just the second running of the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Remaining undefeated in three starts, Four Wheel Drive dashed immediately to the front and went on to prevail by three-quarters of a length in the field of 12. The Kentucky-bred American Pharoah colt got the job done as the favorite by holding off a late challenge from 12-1 Chimney Rock.
It was an Oritiz brothers exacta, with Irad winning and Jose finishing second. The $1 exacta paid 23.10.
Four Wheel Drive, who won the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint by completing five furlongs in :55.66, has never run in a maiden race. He won the 5 1/2-furlong Rosie’s Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on the grass as a first-time starter Aug. 31 at Colonial Downs when defeating six opponents who all had raced previously. Four Wheel Drive then won Belmont’s Grade III Futurity by three lengths at six furlongs on the turf Oct. 6 prior to his BC Turf Sprint triumph.
The Juvenile Turf Sprint kicked off this year’s Breeders’ Cup action at Santa Anita. The Breeders’ Cup will be held next year at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.