Breeders' Cup Day 2
Zenyatta, the unbeaten 5-year-old mare, put together a performance for the ages Saturday before 58,845 at Santa Anita. She rallied from last place in a field of 12, went to the inside around the final turn, went to the outside in the stretch and mowed down her male rivals to win the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, her 14th consecutive victory.
She becomes the first female horse to win the Breeders' Cup Classic in the 26-year history, and there were thousands of screaming fans rooting her home as the 5-2 favorite. Gio Ponti finished second, one length behind Zenyatta, and Twice Over was third.
"There are tears coming to my eyes," trainer John Shirreffs said. "I can't believe it. She is a great, great filly. She is all heart. The way the crowd took to her was just amazing. They cheered for her, they clapped for her; they love her. What a wonderful relationship."
Zenyatta finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.62, the longest race of her career, under jockey Mike Smith. And she helped ignite debate over who's the Horse of the Year, since the 3-year-old filly Rachael Alexandra did not race Saturday. She paid $7.60 for the victory.
"I just hope the press appreciates what they have seen," Shirreffs said.
The race was delayed when Quality Road refused to go into the gate. After putting a hood over his eyes, he was shoved into the gate but started kicking and ended up being scratched, forcing the remaining 12 horses to be pulled from the gate and put back in. It didn't faze Zenyatta. And for Shirreffs who won the Ladies' Classic on Friday with Life Is Sweet, it means a sweep of the biggest races in the two-day event.
The two-day attendance figure was 96,496, up nearly 10,000 from last year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Conduit was content to watch Presious Passion roll out to a 10-length lead early in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf race and then put in a kick to win the race by 1/2-length. In many ways, the fact that Presious Passion was still around at the end was equally remarkable. Dar Re Mi was third and Spanish Moon fourth.
The Irish-bred Conduit was ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Michael Stoute, who also trained Spanish Moon. Allegre had scratched in themorning out of the $3 million race making it a seven-horse field, the smallest of the day.
Conduit paid $3.80, $3.00 and $2.20. It was the fourth favorite of the day to win.
Furthest Land benefitted from a crowded field that bottled up favorite Mastercraftsman to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Midshipman was holding down the lead in mid-stretch under heavy pressure. Furthest Land, with Julien Leparoux aboard, sailed up on the outside to win by 3/4-length. It was Leparoux's third win in the two-day Breeders' Cup.
Ready's Echo finished second, followed by Midshipman and Mastercraftsman. The winner paid $44.60, $18.40 and $9.60. The $1 exacta with Ready's Echo paid $329.10.
Goldikova, the Irish-bred 4-year-old filly, put forth an explosive kick to win her second straight $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile on the turf. The race set up nice for her with blazing early fractions, meaning that late speed stood a good chance. Oliver Peslier waited until mid-turn to get his horse going, placing her on the outside.
She beat Courageous Cat by 1/2-length. Justenuffhumor and Court Vision rounded out the top four. Trainer Freddy Head has won this race twice as a trainer and twice as a jockey.
Goldikova paid $4.80, $4.00 and $2.60.
The longshots have started to come in, and the latest is 30-1 Vale of York, an England-based 2-year-old who rallied for a head victory over Lookin At Lucky in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles. Noble's Promise finished third.
Owned by Godolphin Racing and ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, Vale of York paid $63.20.
-- Eric Sondheimer
There were four horses trying to get their noses up at the finish line of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint in a blanket photo finish that was won by the 25-1 longshot Dancing in Silks under jockey Joel Rosario.
Crown of Thorns finished second, a head in front of third-place Cost of Freedom, who was a nose in front of fourth-place Gayego. The time was 1:08.14 for six furlongs, and the 9-5 favorite Zensational finished fifth.
Dancing in Silks was the second consecutive California-bred winner to take a Breeders' Cup race, following California Flag's triumph in the Turf Sprint. Dancing in Silks, trained by Carla Gaines, returned $52.60 for the victory.
-- Eric Sondheimer
And now the favorites can't lose. California Flag, sent off at 7/2 took command early and breezed to a commanding 1 3/4-length win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The race was over about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's celebrated down-the-hill turf course.
Gotta Have Her stayed up for second over the charging Cannonball. Delta Storm finished fourth. It was Claifornia Flag's eighth win in 13 turf races. Joesph Talamo was the rider and Brian Koriner the trainer. He paid 8.80, $5.60, 3.80.
Has the European invasion begun? Under a masterful ride by Frankie Dettori, the favorite Pounced gamely pushed ahead of Bridgetown to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Pounced, running his first race in the United States after two in England and one in France, was well positioned throughout. It appeared as if Dettori had trouble getting his horse to fire but with about 1/2 furlong to go, the horse push forward to win.
Pounced won by 3/4-length over Bridgetown. Interactif was third and and Awesome Act fourth. It was the first favorite to win a Breeders' Cup race in two days.
Pounced paid 6.80, 4.80, 3.20.
It's like the old days at Santa Anita Park. People are streaming in from all entry points. Lots are filling quickly in advance of the day's first Breeders' Cup race. A crowd of perhaps 50,000 is expected and it's clear who the star is. People, mostly women and girls, are carrying pink placards with the message: "Girl Power, Go Zenyatta!"
The 5-year-old mare, the morning-line favorite, will race against males for the first time in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic. Unbeaten at 13-0, she's is largely responsible for luring such a sizable crowd.
-- Pete Thomas
Day 2 of the Breeders Cup is shaping up to be contested under a sunny sky with some wisps of clouds. There is one non-Cup race before the Juvenile Turf race goes at 10:45 PST.
The early scratches are:
Juvenile Turf: Kera's Kitten (9), Summer Move (14)
Turf Sprint: Tenga Cat (15), Cherokee Heaven (16)
Turf: Allegre (4)
Photo: Jockey Mike Smith begins to celebrate as Zenyatta remains unbeaten with the victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images