Breeders’ Cup Friday was full of surprises, longshot wins and beaten favorites. Some great horses proved their worth and others lost nothing in defeat.
The 1st race was an optional claimer, won by Ten Blessings and Rafael Bejarano, who lead clear in the stretch and defeated favorite, Distinctive B and Tyler Baze. Bejarano rode favorite, Watch This Cat to victory in the 2nd, an Allowance Optional Claiming race, after dueling in the stretch with longshot Madam Stripes. Longstocking just got edged out by Madam Stripes for the place.
Gorgeous gray favorite, Scuba ran away from the pack to win the 3rd, the 1 and 3/4 quarter mile Marathon Stakes, under Kendrick Carmouche.
Favorites fluctuated in the 4th, the Damascus Stakes and, in the end, second favorite, Silent Bird widened his lead under a hand ride from Fernando Perez. Silent Bird’s impressive win left favorite, Jazzy Times and the rest of the pack in the dust. A stewards’ inquiry concerning Cautious Giant and Mach One Rules had no affect on the outcome of the race.
Doug O’Neill’s How About Zero, at 10 to 1 odd, took the win in the 5th, the Golden State Juvenile Fillies, under Mario Gutierrez. Favorite Vai finished a well beaten 8th. Ms. Wakaya and Isa Firecracker rounded out the $265.10 trifecta.
Another longshot claimed victory in the first official Breeders’ Cup race of the day, when Oscar Performance and Jose Ortiz took the lead in the stretch and held it to win the Juvenile Turf. Lancaster Bomb and Seamus Heffernan completed the exacta, and favorite, Good Samaritan, with Joel Rosario aboard, took the show.
Heavy favorite, Dortmund just didn’t have it on this day, finishing a close but beaten 4th under Martin Garcia in the 7th, the Las Vegas Dirt Mile. Tamarkuz, who was fractious at the gate and was slow to start, had a good late kick and drew away under jockey, Mike Smith. Gun Runner and Florent Geroux faded but held the place, and 43 to 1 longshot Accelerate, with Tyler Baze aboard, completed a nice trifecta at $533.80.
In the 8th, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 6 to 1 New Money Honey proved best after being three wide in the stretch, under jockey, Javier Castellano. Mike Smith’s longshot mount, Coasted, at 23 to 1, and Flavien Prat’s horse, Cavale Doree at 15 to 1, provided bettors with another good trifecta payout at $1,163.45. Lull came in 4th and if you were lucky to have bet a $1.00 Superfecta, you would have come home with $27,971. 40. Favorite, La Coronel finished 6th.
The 9th race proved to be the highlight, with Beholder just inching out Songbird at the wire. Neither Gary Stevens on Beholder nor Mike Smith on Songbird seemed to know right then who came out ahead, but Beholder showed her gusty greatness, nosing out the favorite. Songbird led nearly the entire way, which is her usual running style, with Beholder happy to sit back and wait.
Once it was time, Beholder kicked into high gear and dueled down the stretch with Songbird. Songbird lost absolutely nothing in her defeat against this high class mare and her valiant effort will go down in history. I foresee this 2016 Distaff being talked about for years to come.
Race 10, the last of the day, was the Grade II Twilight Derby. Once again a Doug O’Neill longshot grabbed a victory, when Frank Conversation and Mario Gutierrez rallied to win over Free Rose and Norberto Arroyo Jr. At odds of 36 to 1, Frank Conversation paid $75.80 on this win. A good way to end a day, if you had a bet on him.
Congrats to all the day’s winners!