Jockey Frankie Dettori was determined to find the best ground for superstar Enable in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Little did the filly’s connections know how that determination would add to her legacy.
The two-time Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner was widest of all coming off the far turn, and Dettori angled out even farther to the center of the course, for the stretch run in the 1 1/2-mile race. After rain in Louisville dampened the turf course at Churchill Downs earlier in the week, Enable skimmed over the surface and gave Breeders’ Cup fans a close look as she galloped into the history books.
Juddmonte’s 4-year-old daughter of Nathaniel is the first Arc winner to triumph at the Breeders’ Cup in the same calendar year.
“I went for the better ground, and she found another gear,” said Dettori, who found Ryan Moore and Coolmore’s Magical bearing down on him with a clever switch to the inside but had enough in reserve for a three-quarters of a length victory. “She’s done it! She’s conquered America!”
It was nine lengths back to Sadler’s Joy in third.
“She’s been very brave, and mentally very strong to get herself here,” trainer John Gosden said. “She did it here today with guts and determination.”
TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint: Less than two hours after Peter Miller sat down in the Breeders’ Cup press room to field questions about his two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal, the California-based trainer was back in the hot seat. Smiling for the camera during his second round of interviews, Miller’s appreciation for Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor Roy H was humbling.
“[He’s] just a sound horse,” Miller said. “Just a real, solid sound horse. He’s brings it every time and I couldn’t be more proud. Words don’t even express my feelings.”
While the field for this year’s Sprint was almost identical to that of last year’s, the start considerably more bumpy Roy H. The 6-year-old gelding hit the wall of his stall in post-position 9 at the break, wobbling briefly before he could be righted by jockey Paco Lopez.
Rocketing to the lead, Promises Fulfilled set the pace on the inside rail but the momentum proved too much and he soon faded back to second as Roy H found his stride and punched the gas on the outside.
Running on cruise control four-wide on the outside, his rivals never even saw Roy H as he took command to hit the half mile mark in :44.21. Straightening out as the field turned for home, Roy H kept pounding away at the ground, extending his winning margin from a half-length to three lengths in early stretch.
Rallying from last after having drifted at the start, Whitmore cut a path through the pack up the middle in a last-ditch effort to run down the leader as they approached the finish line.
Moving with the same steady clip that had earned him the title of champion sprinter, Roy H never faltered, crossing the finish line 3 1/4 lengths ahead of his competition in 1:08.24.
“He charged today,” said Lopez. “That horse won today with no problem. He knows what’s going on today. He dances, he’s very happy today.”—Meredith Daugherty
“He’s run a great race,” said trainer Sir Michael Stoute. “Last time at Chantilly, he did not get the rub of the green. I’d like to thank James Savage, who rides him out every day. He’s done a great job with him. I thought down the back straight that Frankie [Dettori] may have just had him two slots behind but was in control. It’s always great coming here."
The winning son of Acclamation sailed past Catapult, who had gained a brief advantage inside the sixteenth pole and would finish a neck in front of pacesetter Analyze It. The final time was 1:39.80 on turf rated good.
“I went from despair to joy in the span of 100 yards,” said jockey Frankie Dettori, who captured his 13th Breeders’ Cup win and later added his 14th on Enable in the Longines Turf.—Eric Mitchell
Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf: What’s 30 years?
Brant’s previous Breeders’ Cup victory came in 1988 with Gulch in the Sprint.
Brant, who would take a hiatus of more than 20 years from the game, returned this season. And, it didn’t take him long to return to the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle, although his standout female turf runner made him wait to the very end of the 2:20.96 it took to run Saturday’s race to celebrate.
Sistercharlie settled near midpack early in the 1 3/8-mile race on good turf, as her Chad Brown stablemate A Raving Beauty and Javier Castellano raced comfortably on the lead through slow fractions of a half-mile in :51.81 and six furlongs in 1:18.56. A Raving Beauty was tracked by Coolmore’s Magic Wand, longshot Princess Yaiza, and Godolphin’s race favorite Wild Illusion.
After leading the way, A Raving Beauty flashed another gear entering the stretch. Then at midstretch Wild Illusion, who entered off two straight Group 1 wins, began to steadily gain ground on the leader, but Sistercharlie under John Velazquez was moving best of all toward the center of the course.
Wild Illusion tried to hold off off the late charge, but didn't have quite enough, as Sistercharlie prevailed by a neck. A Raving Beauty held third.—Frank Angst
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile: City of Light, a 4-year-old son of Quality Road, took control early in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and won in commanding fashion by 2 3/4 lengths to give trainer Michael McCarthy his first win in the World Championships.
Bred in Kentucky by Ann Marie Farm, the colt was a $710,000 purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale by Walnut Green, on behalf of William Warren Jr., his wife Suzanne, and their sons John-Kelly and Andrew. City of Light has now won three Grade 1 stakes and earned more than $1.66 million.
“I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this,” said McCarthy, a former assistant for Todd Pletcher. “I thought he would love this racetrack. Backing up to one turn, where his best races were, I thought he would run away and [he] did just that.”
City of Light seized the lead just before the first quarter-mile after a break from the inside post. He took the field through brisk fractions of :22.64, :45.16, and 1:09.03. He was stalked by Firenze Fire and favorite Catalina Cruiser, who tracked wide throughout. At the top the stretch, City of Light under Javier Castellano found another gear and drew away easily.—Eric Mitchell
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint: A former claimer took on Thoroughbred racing’s elite at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and emerged with the title not once, but for the second consecutive year.
Picked up when he was running for a $40,000 claiming price in October 2016, Stormy Liberal won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint by a head at Del Mar in a blanket finish at odds of 30-1. This year at Churchill Downs, his odds were much lower at 7-1 — but the victory was still no easy task.
With 2-1 favorite World of Trouble on the lead on the hedge, the 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding ranged up with a bold, three-wide move off the turn for home. He looked the favorite in the eye and found a stubborn foe, and the two hooked up for a head-to-head battle down the stretch.
Stormy Liberal has been known to wait on horses when he finds company in the lane, but Rockingham Ranch’s Brian Trump said he’s just clever enough to know when his maximum effort is needed.
“He’s a very, very smart horse,” Trump said. “He just knows where the wire is.”
Stride by stride, 3-year-old World of Trouble refused to yield, but just inside the final sixteenth, Stormy Liberal finally gained the advantage and edged ahead by a neck. It was 7 1/4 lengths back to Disco Partner in third. The final time for 5 1/2 furlongs was 1:04.05 on turf rated yielding.—Claire Crosby
As he evaluated his charge, Shamrock Rose, in the days following her first graded stakes win and watched her behave like a horse with the world at her feet, he recalled a vital lesson imparted to him from one of the great teachers of the game.
“I keep harping on this, but I remember 35 year ago, with [Hall of Famer] Allen Jerkens, and he kept telling me, ‘I don't understand trainers. They want to give them a rest when they're running good. Rest them when they're running bad,’ ” the Canadian Hall of Fame trainer said. “And that kept going through my mind, because ... this filly right now thinks she can beat anybody.”
Shamrock Rose backed up her arrogant attitude by throwing down the goods in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, when she put in a furious rally under Irad Ortiz Jr. to edge Chalon by a head at the finish line in the seven-eighths of a mile test at Churchill Downs.—Alicia Wincze Hughes