Raven's Pass drew away in the stretch to win the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
It was fitting that European invader Raven’s Pass, a Kentucky-bred, won his only race in his home country.
The 3-year-old colt had traded wins back and fourth with Henrythenavigator in England, with the two finishing first and second in European Group 1 races three times. Henrythenavigator led the battle 2-1, so it was a bit surprising to see Raven’s Pass go off at lower odds in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, even though all the match ups had been at a mile.
But even more surprising was that bettors had let the two talented Europe-based colts go off at odds in the double digits on a new Santa Anita all-weather surface that seemed to be favoring turf horses.
2008 BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC
Raven’s Pass raced near the back of the 12 horse field for most of the race, moving up to fifth once the field hit the quarter-pole mark. By the stretch, the race was on.
Raven’s Pass took on a group of horses that included defending Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin and easily passed the race favorite with Henrythenavigator overhauling Curlin on the inside while trying to reach his rival.
But it was all Raven’s Pass on that October day as he won by 1 ¾ lengths, setting a track record of 1:59.27 in his only attempt at going farther than a mile.
Raven’s Pass also paid back those that had bet on him to win, going off at odds of 13.50-to-1 and returning $29 for a $2 win ticket.
Henrythenavigator finished second with 2007 Belmont Stakes third-place finisher Tiago third. Curlin faded to fourth.
The win was extra special for co-owner Darley Stable as it was the second win on the day for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who owned Raven’s Pass with his wife Princess Haya of Jordan. Raven’s Pass raced for the pair only once before the Breeders’ Cup Classic as he had been part of Darley’s purchase of Stonerside, which also bred the colt.
RAVEN'S PASS SLIDESHOW
Raven’s Pass was retired after the Breeders’ Cup Classic with the announcement coming only days after his win. The stallion retired with two Grade/Group 1 wins and four other Group 1 placings for $3,658,556 in career earnings. He was the highweighted at three on English Free Handicap from 6 ½ to 9 ½ furlongs.
Raven’s Pass’ first foals hit the track in 2012 with 37 winners so far from his first two crops. Secret Number leads the charge of Raven’s Pass runners in stakes races, winning the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot and finishing third in the United Arab Emirates Derby on the Dubai World Cup card.
Raven’s Pass currently stands at Kilangan Stud in Ireland, the farm he retired to in 2009.