"I was surprised we went as slow as we did," said jockey William Buick, who rode Space Blues in 11 of his 18 races. "It certainly helped. He settled well and was always in a good spot without having to do too much."
It had been more than two years since trainer Charles Appleby had asked Space Blues to run as far as a mile. The trainer was quick to point out, however, that European milers are of sterner stuff than their flat, turning American cousins. Space Blues was coming off consecutive victories in testing seven-furlong events at York and Longchamp.
"To give you an idea of what we've always thought of him, though," Appleby noted, "I was training him at first with the (Epsom) Derby in mind."
Space Blues finished the mile in 1:34.01 as the 2.10-1 favorite. He retires as whiz at distances from six to eight furlongs and a Breeders' Cup world championship on his résumé, along with the eternal gratitude of his jockey.
"I'll miss him," Buick said. "He was always a pleasure to ride. A great personality, and he didn't really need a jockey. With him, the rider could only mess things up."
The Mile's three-quarter split in 1:11.02 effectively neutralized the chances from anything attacking late. Ivar made the best run to finish a length behind Smooth Like Strait, while Raging Bull was fourth, just ahead of the 6-year-old mare Got Stormy in her final race.