Life Is Sweet, a horse better known for losing to Zenyatta, won the $2 million Ladies Classic, a race that Zenyatta would have run in if her handlers did not opt for Saturday's Classic. Life Is Sweet, who had won 5 of 14 races going into Friday was beaten by the undefeated super-mare three of the last four races. But Saturday she looked good beating Muska by 2 1/2 lengths.
Music Note, the morning line favorite, finished third and just didn't fire as usual at the end of the 1 1/8 mile race. Garrett Gomez was the winning jockey and John Shirreffs the trainer. Careless Jewel, the post-time favorite went out extremely fast and had a huge lead after 5 furlongs. But the horse tired badly and finished last.
Life is Sweet paid $18.20, $8.00 and $5.00.
After the first day of the mythical Rider Cup the U.S. had a 2-1 lead.
Jockey Julien Leparoux has become the first riding star of the Breeders' Cup, winning his second race of the day after guiding Informed Decision to an upset victory over 4-5 favorite Ventura in the $1 million Filly & Mare sprint at seven furlongs.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard had a much better ending than in the Breeders' Cup Marathon, when his horse, Cloudy's Knight, was beaten by a nose. Informed Decision won by 1 1/4 lengths and paid $8.80. Free Flying Soul finished third.
The U.S. moved ahead in the Rider Cup 1 1/2 to 1.
-- Eric Sondheimer
The European imports are starting to assert themselves, and it was the England-based 3-year-old filly Midday who rallied along the rail to win the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by one length over Pure Clan and Forever Together.
Trained by Henry Cecil and ridden by Thomas Queally, Midday ran the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.14 and returned $6.60 for the victory.
Visit was the pacesetter, but the three top finishers all came on strong in the stretch to overall the early speed.
In the mythical Rider Cup, the win tied the score between the U.S. and Europe at 1-1.
-- Eric Sondheimer
The $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race provided a near blanket finish but the crafty She Be Wild benefited from a great trip and snuck through on the rail to win her fourth race in five tries. Beautician finished second and Blind Luck took third.
The race was easily the most in doubt with all eyes on the center of the racetrack. But jockey Julien Leparoux, after having the horse break sharply, found a comfortable spot on the rail and continued her ground-saving trip. There were four horses within two lengths of the wire. Wayne Catalano was the winning trainer.
She returned $16.80, $9.00, $5.00.
Rosemary Homeister Jr., the lone female in this year's Breeders' Cup competition, led down the stretch aboard Cloudy's Night in the $500,000 Marathon, but lost in a photo finish to John Murtagh aboard Man of Iron.
Said Homeister, 37, who hails from Florida and once competed in the Kentucky Derby: "Galloping out, he was still in front. It was just a bob of the head. He has such a long neck and long nose--I just wish it was a little bit longer. And yes, when you don't win, you get a little deflated."
It was Homeister's first trip to Santa Anita.
-- Pete Thomas
The $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillis Turf at 1 mile was essentially a two-horse race with Tapitsfly edging past the front-running Rose Catherine in the middle of the stretch to win by 1/2 length. Tapitsfly was ridden by Robby Albarado and trained by Dale Romans. It was the third win in seven races for the 2 year old. It was her first trip over the fiirm turf.
Rose Catherine broke sharply, turning in a 22 4/5 opening quarter. She seemed comfortable through the backstretch with Tapitsy running about 1/2 length on the outside. Entering the stretch both horses seemed comfortable but Tapitsfly had more gas in the tank. It was the first time Rose Catherine House of Grace finished third and Hatheer finished fourth. The winner paid $21.60, $8.60, $6.00.
In the mythical Rider Cup, the U.S. now leads 1 to 0.
The $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, at 1 3/4 miles on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface, ended with a dramatic finish, as jockey John Murtagh rallied the royally-bred 3-year-old Man of Iron to a nose victory over the 9-year-old Cloudy's Knight, ridden by female jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. Mastery, the race favorite, finished third.
Man of Iron, who raced in Ireland, is by Giant's Causeway out of the top dam, Better Than Honour, the 2007 broodmare of the year. Better Than Honour was also the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches and sold for $14 million last year. She also produced Grade II winner Casino Drive.
Man of Iron returned $14.80, $7.20 and $4.40.
In The Times mythical Rider Cup (Europe vs. U.S.) the U.S. leads 1/2 to 0.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Part one of horse racing's biggest day gets underway this morning at Santa Anita Park. There are two non-Cup races. The first Breeders race--the $500,000 Marathon is scheduled for a 12:35 PST post. The grandstands, clubhouse and turf club seem to filled way more than an average day, although there isn't a lot of activity to be seen in the infield. The first day is clearly the preliminary to the Saturday races when undefeated mare Zenyatta takes on the boys in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Keep coming back to this site all day and Saturday for live updates from Santa Anita.
Photo: Jockey Garrett Gomez begins to celebrate after riding Life Is Sweet to victory in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic on Friday. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters