Entered off a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes on Oct. 8 at Belmont Park for trainer Ralph Nicks, Caledonia Road closed strongly to secure her first Grade 1 score, drawing off to a 3 1/4-length victory over Alluring Star.
Longshot Blonde Bomber followed home in third.
The outcome of the first of nine Breeders’ Cup races Saturday gave Nicks his first Breeders’ Cup win while Smith improved his record Breeders’ Cup win total to 26 and added to his record Breeders’ Cup purse earnings, now in excess of $35 million.
Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spiring, and Newtown Anner Stud’s Caledonia Road completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:45.05 on a fast track.
“This filly has come into her own this fall and her timing was impeccable,” Nicks said. “This run down the stretch is kind of her style. This is my first win and it’s on my third try. It’s just amazing.”
Caledonia Road, a daughter of Quality Road , started from post 12 in the field of 13, with Frizette winner Separationofpowers as the lone horse to her outside. Caledonia Road and Smith rated in ninth through a half-mile that saw 2-1 favorite Moonshine Memories and Alluring Star duel through :46.72. On the far turn, Chandelier Stakes runner-up Alluring Star put away the favorite and soon opened a two-length lead in the stretch under Joe Talamo.
While Alluring Star was building her advantage, Caledonia Road was rolling through the far turn and sustained that move to the finish, catching Alluring Star in midstretch and drawing off to the decisive victory.
“She was dynamite. She was much more forwardly placed than I expected her to be, to be honest,” Smith said. “She was up there intent on getting into the game and running good. She was in a good rhythm, breathing well. I gave her a breather from the half-mile pole to the three-and-a half because she kind of wanted one. When I stepped on the accelerator again, man, she jumped back on it and I knew I was going to be live from that point on.”—Frank Angst