While the flat racing season in the United Kingdom more or less concluded with the prestigious British Champions Day at Ascot last month, fans of the sport have still been able to get their fix of action with several big events taking place across the globe — namely the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, which is headlined by the lucrative Melbourne Cup, and the Breeders’ Cup World Championship in America.
Taking place at Del Mar in California earlier this month, the Breeders’ Cup provided two days of thrilling action and over $30 million was given out in prize purses and awards. So, as some of the best horses, trainers and jockeys in the world made their way to San Diego for the mammoth meeting, let’s dig back through today’s racing results and take a look at some of the big winners from the festival.
Juvenile Fillies – Group 1
Echo Zulu was the odds-on favourite to win the Juvenile Fillies, the first Group 1 race of the Breeders’ Cup, and she duly delivered the $1m winning prize purse for trainer Steven Asmussen and his connections. Making all the running, the two-year-old was ridden clear by Joel Rosario in the final furlong and a half and went on to win by a commanding five and a quarter lengths clear of Juju’s Map.
Juvenile Fillies Turf – Group 1
With Echo Zulu crowned queen of the dirt in the race prior, Pizza Bianca then sealed her fate as the fillies’ turf champion. It was a thrilling one-mile race with just a few lengths separating first from ninth in the 14-horse field. However, it was Pizza Bianca — a 10/1 shot — who took the lead from Irish-bred Malavathand Ryan Moore in the final 75 yards to win by half a length. Haughty was just a neck behind in third.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Group 1
The favourite was back in the winners’ enclosure after the final race of day one as Corniche won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Setting the pace from the off in the one-mile, half-a-furlong race, the Bob Baffert-trained horse driven into the final furlong by jockey Mike Smith and stayed on strongly to beat Pappacap, who finished well but couldn’t make an impression as he trailed by almost two lengths at the finish.
A jam-packed card saw a mammoth 11 races, including nine Grade 1s and two Grade 2s, take place on day two at Del Mar— with Modern Game (Juvenile Turf), Ce Ce(Filly & Mare Sprint), Golden Pal (Turf Sprint) and Life is Good (Dirt Mile) winning some of the earlier top-grade races.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
The Filly & Mare Turf, which was won by Japan’s Love Only You, and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which Aloha West claimed, saw the winning prize purses rise to over $1m. But with British trained Space Blues winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile, we thought we’d focus on that. From Charlie Appleby’s esteemed yard, the five-year-old chased the leaders two furlongs out but stayed on strongly to take the lead in the final 150 yards before going on to win by half a length clear of Smooth Like Strait— adding the prestigious title to his Prix de la Foret victory at Longchamp last month.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
Marche Lorraine upset the odds towin the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the penultimate race — becoming the biggest outsider to win at this year’s meeting from 50/1. However, there was to be no shock in the festival’s biggest race, as third favourite Yibirlanded Appleby and William Buick their second victory of the day.
Held up towards the rear, the three-year-old did well to recover and challenged brilliantly down the straight to win take the lead close to home and win by half a length clear of Aidan O’Brien’s Broome. The Irish trainer also had Japan in fourth and Bolshoi Ballet in sixth. Dermot Weld-trained Tarnawa,who was the favourite, was some way back in 11th.