VENUE: Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3.
Main Track: dirt, fast Friday and Saturday; Turf Course listed as yielding by Equibase on Friday; Turf Course listed as yielding by Equibase for Saturday’s Turf Sprint; Turf Course listed as good by Equibase for Saturday’s Filly & Mare Turf, Saturday’s Mile and Saturday’s Turf.
$6 MILLION CLASSIC (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Accelerate, who paid $7.40 as the favorite, (2) Gunnevera, (3) Thunder Snow.
Winner: Hronis Racing; trained by John Sadler; ridden by Joel Rosario.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 105. Gun Runner won the 2017 BC Classic at Del Mar with a 117 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Classic: 124 (Sunday Silence in 1989 at Gulfstream Park, Ghostzapper in 2004 at Lone Star Park).
Recap: Not surprisingly, going into the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, much was made of the fact that Sadler was 0 for 41 in Breeders’ Cup races through 2017. Considering how the media kept bombarding the trainer with this stat time and time again prior to this year’s Breeders’ Cup, one could not have blamed Sadler if he had put on a disguise so that nobody could recognize him.
But to his credit, Sadler never tried to duck the issue. Not only that, he handled it with class and grace, even though he admitted it did bother him inside when interviewed last Sunday by Mike Willman on the radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles.
“I was twisted up inside,” Sadler admitted to Willman. “I think I’m about 200 years old inside. There’s no doubt about that. I’m not going to lie.”
A while back Sadler joked about his lack of a Breeders’ Cup victory, saying that even Susan Lucci finally won an Emmy. It was a reference to the female actor who, for her work on the soap opera “All My Children,” was nominated 18 times before she finally an Emmy in 1999.
Going into this year’s Classic, Sadler’s Breeders’ Cup losing streak had grown to 44 after Selcourt finished 12th at 5-1 in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Catalina Cruiser finished sixth as a 4-5 favorite in the Dirt Mile and Catapult finished a close second at 7-1 in the Mile.
But when Accelerate won the Classic as the 5-2 favorite, Sadler’s Breeders’ Cup losing streak, at long last, had come to an end.
Accelerate, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Lookin At Lucky and Issues, overcame a lot to win Santa Anita’s Grade I Awesome Again Stakes in his most recent start before the BC Classic. Prior to the Awesome Again, Accelerate balked at going into the gate, then threw a fit in the gate. After all that, he did not begin well.
Just before the BC Classic, Accelerate again balked at going into the gate. But this time he did not throw a fit in the gate. And this time he broke alertly for Rosario. Sadler chose Rosario to become Accelerate’s rider earlier this year when a replacement was needed after Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza was seriously injured in a morning mishap at Del Mar on July 22. Espinoza is still recovering from that incident.
Fifth through the early stages of the BC Classic after exiting from the outside post in the field of 14, Accelerate advanced steadily on the far turn while wide to poke his head in front of pacesetter Mendelssohn coming into the stretch. Mendelssohn carved out fractions of :22.68, :46.46, 1:10.61 and 1:35.90.
Gradually increasing his lead in upper stretch, Accelerate had a one-length advantage at the eighth pole. He would go on to win by that same one-length margin in 2:02.93. Gunnevera, 11th early, rallied in the stretch to finish second. Thunder Snow, never far back, nosed out Yoshida for third. Mendelssohn finished fifth, followed in order by Lone Sailor, West Coast, Discreet Lover, Axelrod, Pavel, Mind Your Biscuits, McKinzie, Catholic Boy and Roaring Lion.
Looking ahead, the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 now will be targeted for Accelerate before he commences stud duty in 2019 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky.
Accelerate’s BC Classic triumph is particularly impressive in that he won despite a wide trip. According to Trakus, Accelerate traveled 6,696 feet, making his trip 49 feet farther than Gunnevera’s and 67 feet farther than Thunder Snow’s. That means Accelerate ran approximately 5 1/2 lengths farther than Gunnevera and 7 1/2 lengths farther than Thunder Snow.
By winning the BC Classic, Accelerate follows in the footsteps of his maternal grandsire, Awesome Again. Awesome Again won one of the strongest BC Classics of them all in 1998. Awesome Again now has sired two BC Classic winners. Ghostzapper, also by Awesome Again, won the 2004 BC Classic at Lone Star Park. Ghostzapper was voted the 2004 Horse of the Year.
In terms of the 2018 Horse of the Year situation, Accelerate certainly has a strong resume for voters to consider. He has won this year’s Grade II San Pasqual Stakes in February, Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in March, Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May, Grade I Pacific Classic in August, Grade I Awesome Again in September and Grade I BC Classic in November.
Accelerate’s lone 2018 defeat came when he ran second, a neck behind City of Light, in the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap in April. Even that loss by Accelerate does not look quite as bad after City of Light also became a 2018 Breeders’ Cup winner by taking the Dirt Mile.
But, of course, there is a 3-year-old who also must be viewed as a major Horse of the Year contender. Justify never lost a race this year (or in his career) and became the 13th winner of the sport’s coveted Triple Crown.
It will be very interesting to see whether Justify or Accelerate is elected 2018 Horse of the Year. The debate figures to be spirited. Eclipse Award voting is conducted in December, with the winners announced early next year.
I honestly think it’s a shame that Justify or Accelerate is not going to be the 2108 Horse of the Year. This is how I also felt about Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in 2009. Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta both deserved to be voted Horse of the Year, with the award going to Rachel Alexandra. At least Zenyatta did get a Horse of the Year title the following year.
Going into this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Accelerate was No. 1 in the Oct. 29 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. In the Nov. 5 final poll of the year that was taken after the Breeders’ Cup, Accelerate again ranked first and Justify second, though the gap between the two widened.
In the Oct 29 poll, Accelerate had just seven more points than Justify. In the final poll, the spread between the two increased to 57 points.
Here is the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2018:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
- 437 Accelerate (24)
- 380 Justify (19)
- 357 Monomoy Girl
- 234 Sistercharlie
- 218 City of Light
- 218 Enable (3)
- 205 Roy H
- 100 Game Winner
- 65 Newspaperofrecord
- 61 Yoshida
Also receiving votes: Stormy Liberal (46 points), Gunnevera (45), Mind Your Biscuits (37), Thunder Snow (28), Jaywalk (20), Catholic Boy (16), Diversify (13), Audible (10), Imperial Hint (9), Mendelssohn (5), Bee Jersey (4), Magical (4), Whitmore (4), Midnight Bisou (3), Abel Tasman (2), Promises Fulfilled (2), Wow Cat (2), Catalina Cruiser (1), Expert Eye (1), Marley’s Freedom (1), Unique Bella (1), Vasilika (1).
This was the ballot that I submitted for the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2018:
- Monomoy Girl
- Game Winner
- City of Light
- Roy H
$4 MILLION TURF (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Enable, who paid $3.60 as the favorite, (2) Magical, (3) Sadler’s Joy.
Winner: Owned by Juddmonte Farms; trained by John Gosden; ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 114. Talismanic won the 2017 BC Turf at Del Mar with a 108 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Turf: 118 (Daylami in 1999 at Gulfstream Park).
Recap: What Enable has accomplished this year is extraordinary.
Enable was not retired following her brilliant performance as a 3-year-old to win France’s prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by 2 1/2 lengths at Chantilly in 2017. Her main 2018 goal was a try at a second Arc victory.
But a knee injury precluded Enable from racing in 2018 until she won the Group III September Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at 1 1/2 miles on a synthetic surface at Kempton on Sept. 8. With just that single 2018 race at Kempton under her belt, Enable subsequently won another Arc, this time by only a neck when having to stave off the onrushing 3-year-old filly Sea of Class. Keep in mind Enable won her second Arc on Oct. 7 despite being sick for a time after her Sept. 8 race in England.
And then Gosden shipped Enable to the United States for the 1 1/2-mile BC Turf. Backed down to 4-5 favoritism, the 4-year-old Great Britain-bred daughter of Nathaniel was fanned ridiculously wide coming out of the final turn. Dettori later explained that he kept Enable wide in the belief that the ground was better toward the outside of the grass course.
Enable once again showed everyone what a truly great filly she is when, despite racing so wide, she prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 2:32.65. Magical gave it a marvelous try, but ultimately had to settle for second. There was a huge gap of nine lengths back to Sadler’s Joy, who finished third in the field of 13.
The BC Turf was Enable’s ninth straight victory.
According to Trakus, Enable traveled 8,040 feet, 35 feet more than Magical. That means while Enable won by three-quarters of a length, she ran approximately four lengths farther than Magical.
Magical finished 10th, 5 1/4 lengths behind Enable, in this year’s Arc. Magical then won the Group I British Champion Stakes by one length at Ascot on Oct. 20 prior to her fine runner-up effort in the BC Turf.
No horse before Enable had been able to win both the Arc and the BC Turf in the same year. Found became the first 3-year-old filly to win the BC Turf in 2015, then captured the Arc in 2016.
Many thought that Prince Khalid Abdullah, who races in this country as Juddmonte Farms, would win both the Arc and BC Turf in 1986 with Dancing Brave. But after Dancing Brave’s electrifying Arc win in record time, he was beaten in the BC Turf at Santa Anita for two primary reasons.
First, Dancing Brave did not cope well with the brutally hot weather that greeted him in Southern California, a stark contrast from the cool temperatures he had been experiencing in Europe. And second, Dancing Brave faced some especially strong opponents in the BC Turf, which Manila won by a neck over Theatrical, with Estrapade third. Dancing Brave finished fourth as a 1-2 favorite.
Manila was voted a 1986 Eclipse Award as champion male turf horse. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. Estrapade was voted a 1986 Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse. Theatrical in 1987 won the BC Turf and was voted an Eclipse Award as champion male turf horse.
And now, 33 years after Juddmonte’s Dancing Brave was not up to the task of winning both the Arc and BC Turf in the same year, the owner did take both marquee events with Enable. One can only hope Enable will remain in training to try for an unprecedented three-peat in the Arc next year.
I am going on the record right here and right now to say I am predicting that Enable will win a third Arc if she is not retired. If she is retired from racing, she will do so with 10 victories from 11 lifetime starts.
$2 MILLION DISTAFF (Nov. 3)
Results: (1) Monomoy Girl, who paid $5.60 as the favorite, (2) Wow Cat, (3) Midnight Bisou.
Winner: Owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Florent Geroux.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 96. Forever Unbridled won the 2017 BC Distaff at Del Mar with a 99 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Distaff: 120 (Princess Rooney in 1984).
Recap: Monomoy Girl, who departed the gate from the outside post in the field of 11, sat just off the early pace (:23.39, :47.57 and 1:12.11) established by Wonder Gadot. Taking command on the far turn, Monomoy Girl remained in front all the way down the lane and prevailed by one length in 1:49.79.
What a terrific 2018 campaign by the 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl. She went to the post seven times and finished first seven times. The only time she tasted defeat this year was when she had her number taken down by the Stewards in September at Parx.
Monomoy Girl won the Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes in February, Grade I Ashland Stakes in April, Grade I Kentucky Oaks in May, Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks in July and Grade I BC Distaff in November while making her first start vs. older rivals.
In the Grade I Cotillion on Sept. 22, Monomoy Girl finished first. Midnight Bisou finished second, a neck behind Monomoy Girl. There was not a Stewards’ inquiry, as there should have been. But Mike Smith, the rider of Midnight Bisou, lodged a claim of foul against Monomoy Girl and Florent Geroux for alleged interference in the stretch.
Monomoy Girl was disqualified from first in the Cotillion and placed second. After the race was declared official and various replays were shown, Keith Jones, Parx’s track announcer, explained to the public that the Stewards disqualified Monomoy Girl because she had denied Midnight Bisou the opportunity to run a straight course in the stretch, plus the margin between them at the finish was only a neck.
According to Cox, Monomoy Girl is to continue racing in 2019. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapizar has nine wins and two seconds from 11 career starts.
$2 MILLION MILE (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Expert Eye, who paid $13.80, (2) Catapult, (3) Analyze It.
Winner: Owned by Juddmonte Farms; trained by Sir Michael Stoute; ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 101. World Approval won the 2016 BC Mile at Del Mar with a 107 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Mile: 119 (Miesque in 1987 at Hollywood Park).
Recap: Expert Eye rallied from far back to win by a half-length in 1:39.80 as the 5-1 second choice in the wagering.
For Oscar Performance, the 5-2 favorite, his race was over when it began. He broke sluggishly, a dire development for a colt who typically races on or near the early lead. Twelfth in the early going, Oscar Performance wound up last in the field of 14.
Some controversy arose when, the day before the BC Mile, Kentucky Horse Racing Association veterinarians scratched 5-1 morning-line favorite Polydream, whom they deemed lame and therefore unfit to run. Polydream’s trainer, Freddy Head, vehemently disagreed with that assessment, stating emphatically that nothing was amiss with the Group I-winning filly from France. Head, it should be noted, has won this race twice as a jockey on Miesque (1987 and 1988) and three times as a trainer with Goldikova (2008, 2009 and 2010).
As for Stoute, this was his ninth Breeders’ Cup victory.
$2 MILLION SPRINT (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Roy H, who paid $7.40, (2) Whitmore, (3) Imperial Hint.
Winner: Owned by Rockingham Ranch & David Bernsen; trained by Peter Miller; ridden by Paco Lopez.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 111. Roy H won the 2017 BC Spint at Del Mar when also credited with a 111 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Sprint and the top Beyer in Breeders’ Cup history: 125 (Precisionist in 1985).
Recap: In 2017, Roy H used a win in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship as a springboard to a one-length victory vs. nine foes in the Grade I BC Sprint at Del Mar. He recorded a 111 Beyer in the BC Sprint.
In 2018, Roy H used a win in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship as a springboard to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade I BC Sprint vs. eight foes at Churchill Downs. He recorded a 111 Beyer in the BC Sprint.
Because Roy H is a gelding, the 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready will not heading off to stud. If all goes well, he figures to run in the Sprint again next year when the Breeders’ Cup is held at Santa Anita.
$2 MILLION FILLY & MARE TURF (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Sistercharlie, who paid $8.60, (2) Wild Illusion, (3) A Raving Beauty.
Winner: Owned by Peter Brant; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by John Velazquez.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 103. Wuheida won the 2017 BC Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar with a 104 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Turf: 112 (Banks Hill in 2001).
Recap: Eighth early, Sistercharlie got up in the final yards to prevail by a neck. Her final time was 2:20.96. Wild Illusion, the 5-2 favorite, finished second in the field of 14. A Raving Beauty came in third.
Sistercharlie, a 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie, has been a gem of consistency this year, registering four wins and a second from five starts. Her only 2018 loss came when she finished second, a head behind Fourstar Crook, in the Grade II New York Stakes in June. Sistercharlie beat Fourstar Crook the other three times they met this year.
All four of Sistercharlie’s 2018 victories came at the Grade I level. In addition to the Grade I BC Filly & Mare Turf, she took the Grade I Jenny Wiley in April, Grade I Diana in July and Grade I Beverly D. in August.
Sistercharlie provided Brown with his record fourth victory in the BC Filly & Mare Turf. The trainer previously had won it with Zagora (2012), Dayatthespa (2014) and Stephanie’s Kitten (2015).
$1 MILLION DIRT MILE (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) City of Light, who paid $7.20, (2) Seeking the Soul, (3) Bravazo.
Winner: Owned by Mr. And Mrs. William Warren Jr.; trained by Michael McCarthy; ridden by Javier Castellano.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 110. Battle of Midway won the 2017 BC Dirt Mile at Del Mar with a 108 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Dirt Mile: 119 (Corinthian in 2007).
Recap: Showing early speed after breaking from the inside post in the field of nine, City of Light won by a clear-cut 2 3/4 lengths in a sparkling 1:33.83. This was his second Grade I triumph of 2018. He also won the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita in March 10.
In addition to City of Light’s Grade I victories this year, he took the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap in April. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Quality Road colt won the Oaklawn race by a neck. Accelerate finished second. This would be the only 2018 defeat for Accelerate, who went on to become a BC Classic winner.
According to McCarthy, the Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 1 and/or Grade I Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 are possibilities for City of Light before he begins a new career as a sire in 2019 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky.
$1 MILLION TURF SPRINT (NOV. 3)
Results: (1) Stormy Liberal, who paid $16, (2) World of Trouble, (3) Disco Partner.
Winner: Owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen; trained by Peter Miller; ridden by Drayden Van Dyke.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 119. Stormy Liberal won the 107 BC Turf Sprint at Del Mar with a 103 Beyer. Previous top Beyer in the BC Turf Sprint: 107 (Mongolian Saturday at Keeneland in 2015).
Recap: Stormy Liberal won this race by a head in a 30-1 upset when it was contested at five furlongs on the grass at Del Mar in 2017. He won it again this year by a neck at 7-1 when it was decided at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Churchill Downs.
This was Stormy Liberal’s fourth victory in a row. He has won these four races by a nose, a nose, a head and a neck. Stormy Liberal obviously is a one racehorse with a tremendous will to win.
World of Trouble was two for two on the grass going into the BC Turf Sprint. He won the 5 1/2-furlong Quick Call by 1 3/4 lengths on the turf Aug. 8 at Saratoga when he recorded a 103 Beyer Speed Figure, then blitzed his rivals to win the six-furlong Allied Forces by 5 3/4 lengths on the grass Sept. 8 at Belmont Park when he posted a 103 Beyer.
World of Trouble, the 2-1 BC Turf Sprint favorite in the field of 14, ran way too good to lose. The 3-year-old colt narrowly lost to the older, much more experienced Stormy Liberal, whose final time of 1:04.05 actually was outstanding on the rather squishy turf.
Stormy Liberal, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding, was assigned a whopping 119 Beyer Speed Figure for his 2018 BC Turf Sprint performance. World of Trouble was credited with a 118. Finishing third, 7 1/4 lengths behind World of Trouble, was the quality grass sprinter Disco Partner, who recorded a 94 Beyer.
To put Stormy Liberal’s 119 Beyer into some historical perspective, it ties Miesque for the biggest turf Beyer in the history of the Breeders’ Cup. Miesque also recorded a 119 when she won the 1987 BC Mile at Hollywood Park, then received a 117 when victorious in the 1988 BC Mile at Churchill Downs.
For Miller to win the same two Breeders’ Cup races, the Sprint with Roy H and Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal, in back-to-back years at two different venues is an absolutely phenomenal training achievement.
And with the Breeders’ Cup to be held at Santa Anita next year, it is not unreasonable to think a third straight Turf Sprint triumph by Stormy Liberal and/or third consecutive Sprint victory by Roy H could be in the cards.
$1 MILLION FILLY & MARE SPRINT (NOV. 3)
Results: (1), Shamrock Rose, who paid $53.80, (2) Chalon, (3) Anonymity.
Winner: Owned by Conrad Farms; trained by Mark Casse; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 92. Bar of Gold won the 2017 BC Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar with a 94 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint: 108 (Groupie Doll in 2012 at Santa Anita).
Recap: When 66-1 longshot Bar of Gold and Irad Ortiz Jr. took this race in 2018 at Del Mar, she paid $135.40 for a $2 win ticket. This time Ortiz won it aboard 25-1 longshot Shamrock Rose, who rallied from last in the field of 14 and paid $53.80.
Shamrock Rose’s margin of victory was a head. She completed seven furlongs in 1:23.13.
Breeders’ Cup bettors did not embrace Shamrock Rose despite the fact that she took a three-race winning streak into the Filly & Mare Sprint. She won a pair of races on synthetic footing during the summer, then came through with a 2 1/2-length victory at 18-1 in Keeneland’s Grade II Raven Run Stakes on the dirt Oct. 20.
$2 MILLION JUVENILE (Nov. 2)
Results: (1) Game Winner, who paid $4 as the favorite, (2) Knicks Go, (3) Signalman.
Winner: Owned by Gary and Mary West; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by Joel Rosario.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 93. Good Magic won the 2017 BC Juvenile at Del mar with a 100 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile: 113 (War Pass in 2007 at Monmouth Park).
Recap: Talk about a game winner.
Game Winner proved a punctual even-money favorite and kept his unblemished record intact despite not having the best of starts, despite having a rather rough time of it in the early stages and despite being bumped near the eighth pole. The Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt now is four for four.
Knicks Go, dismissed in the wagering at 40-1 in the field of 13, led by about a length turning into the long Churchill Downs stretch. Game Winner came on resolutely to nearly reach even terms with Knicks Go with about a furlong to go. Just inside the eighth pole, Knicks Go came out and bumped Game Winner.
If Game Winner could talk, it seemed as if he might say, “Really? Do you think bumping me can stop me? No way.”
If Knicks Go had finished first and Game Winner second, it is highly likely that Knicks Go would have been disqualified and placed second for fouling Game Winner during the stretch run.
But Knicks Go did not win. Game Winner asserted his superiority to put away Knicks Go in the final sixteenth and posted a 2 1/4-length victory while completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.67. Earlier in the day, Jaywalk won the BC Juvenile Fillies at the same distance in 1:43.62.
According to Trakus, Game Winner traveled 5,707 feet, 42 feet farther than Knicks Go. That means Game Winner’s trip was approximately five lengths farther than Knicks Go’s.
Trakus has Jaywalk traveling 5,647 feet in the BC Juvenile Fillies. According to Trakus, Game Winner’s trip in the BC Juvenile was 60 feet -- or approximately seven lengths -- farther than Jaywalk’s in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
It looks like Game Winner has much going for him vis-a-vis the 2019 Kentucky Derby, such as:
--He now has won a big race on the Churchill Downs main track.
--He’s demonstrated that he can get the job done even when not everything doesn’t go his way.
--He acts as if he will relish going farther than 1 1/16 miles. He has won all four of his races going away, including his other Grade I victories in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity and 1 1/16-mile American Pharoah at Santa Anita.
--It appears he would have an excellent chance to be either first or second with a furlong to go in the Kentucky Derby. This is important inasmuch as 53 of last 56 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run.
--Baffert is the trainer. He has won the Kentucky Derby five times. Moreover, the Hall of Fame trainer has won the Triple Crown twice, first with American Pharoah in 2015 and again with Justify this year. Whether or not Game Winner can provide Baffert with a third Triple Crown sweep remains to be seen, but the Kentucky-bred colt now has established himself as the early favorite for the 2019 Run for the Roses.
By the way, Baffert appears to have another exciting Kentucky Derby prospect in Improbable, who won the one-mile Street Sense Stakes earlier on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup card. The Kentucky-bred City Zip colt, who had to negotiate his way through traffic on the backstretch after not getting off to an alert start, drew off with verve in the final furlong to win by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:35.61.
Interestingly, Improbable’s 93 Beyer matched Game Winner’s figure for his win in the BC Juvenile.
According to Baffert, Game Winner will not race again this year, while Improbable probably will run in the Grade I Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity on Dec. 8.
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Line of Duty, who paid $9, (2) Uncle Benny, (3) Somelikeithotbrown.
Winner: Owned by Godolphin; trained by Charlie Appleby; ridden by William Buick.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 83. Mendelssohn won the 2017 BC Juvenile Turf at Del Mar with an 86 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Turf: 93 (Donativum in 2008, Outstrip in 2013, Oscar Performance in 2016).
Recap: Line of Duty, off at 7-2, rallied strongly in the stretch to win by a half-length. The Irish-bred Galileo colt was coming off a win in the Group III Prix de Conde at Chantilly on Oct. 1.
Another Euro shipper, Anthony Dyke, was sent off as the 3-1 favorite. Beginning from the outside post in the field of 14, he never threatened and finished ninth.
$2 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Jaywalk, who paid $13, (2) Restless Rider, (3) Vibrance.
Winner: Owned by D J Stable and Cash Is King; trained by John Servis; ridden by Joel Rosario.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 94. Caledonia Road won the 2017 BC Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar with an 82 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies: 107 (Tempera in 2001).
Recap: Leading past every pole, Jaywalk drew away in the stretch and won with authority by 5 1/2 lengths while leaving nine rivals in her wake. Her final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.62, slightly faster than Game Winner’s 1:43.67 clocking later in the day when he won the BC Juvenile.
Jaywalk ran second when unveiled in a five-furlong maiden special weight race at Monmouth Park on June 23. Since then, she has reeled off four straight victories. She won a maiden special weight race in the mud at Parx in July, the White Creek Clay Stakes at Delaware Park in August and the Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park in October prior to the BC Juvenile Fillies.
$1 MILLION JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Newspaperofrecord, who paid $3.20 as the favorite, (2) East, (3) Stellar Agent.
Winner: Owned by Klaravich Stables; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 96. Rushing Fall won the 2017 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar with an 85 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf: 96 (Lady Eli in 2014 and now Newspaperofrecord in 2018).
Recap: The dazzling winner of this race appears to be someone who might well continue making headlines whenever and wherever she shows up.
Newspaperofrecord is an enormously talented young filly. She appears to me to be a 2018 version on the grass of Landaluce in 1982 on the dirt.
Landaluce in 1982 won her first three races by margins of seven, 21 and 6 1/2 lengths. Newspaperofrecord in 2018 has won her first three races by margins of 6 3/4, 6 1/2 and 6 3/4 lengths.
Sadly, after Landaluce won two more races in 1982 by 10 and two lengths, she died that year on Nov. 28 from a severe bacterial infection. Landaluce, from the first crop of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, was voted a 1982 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly.
After Newspaperofrecord’s scintillating victory against 13 opponents in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, the Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega is a contender for a 2018 Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old filly, along with BC Juvenile Fillies winner Jaywalk.
The BC Juvenile Fillies Turf has been run 11 times. Newspaperofrecord was Brown’s record fifth victory in this race. Brown previously had won it with Maram (2008), Lady Eli (2014), New Money Honey (2016) and Rushing Fall (2017).
$1 MILLION JUVENILE TURF SPRINT (NOV. 2)
Results: (1) Bulletin, who paid $10.60, (2) Chelsea Cloisters (3) So Perfect.
Winner: Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing; trained by Todd Pletcher; ridden by Javier Castellano.
Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 90.
Recap: This was the inaugural running of the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Bulletin, a Kentucky-bred City Zip colt, exhibited early zip in this 5 1/2-furlong grass contest. Responding readily when the real test came, Bulletin prevailed by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:05.54 while outrunning 11 rivals.
Not only did Bulletin make history as the first winner of the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, he also became the first horse to win off just one prior career start in the 35-year existence of the Breeders’ Cup. In his lone start prior to the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, Bullet won the five-furlong Hollywood Beach Stakes on the grass as a maiden at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 29.
The new Juvenile Turf Sprint kicked off this year’s Breeders’ Cup action at Churchill Downs. The Breeders’ Cup returns to picturesque Santa Anita for a record 10th time next year on Nov. 1-2.