Bobby Flay's MORE THAN REAL (More Than Ready) rallied strongly to the lead in upper stretch and went on to a comfortable two-length victory in Friday's $909,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2), earning her first stakes win in her third lifetime start. With Garrett Gomez in the saddle, the Todd Pletcher-trained chestnut finished the mile over the firm turf at Churchill Downs in 1:36 3/5.
More Than Real settled into a good striking position in fifth as Dos Lunas (Hennessy) established fractions in :23 2/5 and :47 2/5 while under pressure from Fancy Point (Point Given). She continued to travel in an excellent spot while four wide on the far turn and responded when called upon at the top of the stretch, accelerating quickly to the front and opening a 3 1/2-length advantage with a furlong remaining. The improving filly cruised to the wire much the best.
Jose Lezcano, who was aboard the even-money favorite and runner-up Winter Memories (El Prado [Ire]), claimed foul against the winner for interference in the stretch, but it was not allowed by the stewards.
"She traveled well early," Gomez said. "I saw Lezcano trying to make a run on the outside. I kind of tried to make it difficult for him without impeding him and I thought we did so successfully. She is a really nice filly and I am looking forward to her three-year-old campaign."
Runner-up in the Natalma S. (Can-G3) in her last start, More Than Real has now earned $609,384 from her 3-2-1-0 line.
"We gave her some time off after the Natalma (September 18) and I think that made all the difference," Pletcher said. "We had a great trip. Garrett gave her a great ride and we got a jump on the favorite, and I think that is all we needed."
Celebrity chef Flay was ecstatic about his first Breeders' Cup victory.
"This is obviously the biggest win I've ever had in horse racing by a magnitude of a thousand," an ebullient Flay commented. "It was just an amazing feeling. In fact, I don't remember the last sixteenth of a mile because I couldn't see. I mean, it was just -- I knew she had a shot. I knew that she was running really well. She got clear, and I was just hoping that somebody wouldn't come from behind and catch us."
Sent off the 13-1 sixth choice among 14 runners, More Than Real paid $29.20, $9.20 and $5.80. Winter Memories, who capped the $76.40 exacta, gave back $3.60 and $2.60 for the place after edging the fast-closing Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat) by a head. The 7-1 third choice returned $3.60 and completed the $450.60 trifecta. The superfecta, with 73-1 Forest Legend (Forest Camp) another 2 1/4 lengths back in fourth, totaled a whopping $13,221.20.
Together (Ire) (Galileo [Ire]), Wyomia (Vindication), Quiet Oasis (Ire) (Oasis Dream [GB]). New Normal (Forestry), Dos Lunas, Fancy Point, Tale Untold (Tale of the Cat), Arch Support (Arch), Allure d'Amour (Giant's Causeway) and Flood Plain (GB) (Orpen) rounded out the order of finish. Also-eligible Nina Fever (Borrego) did not get to run.
Bred in Kentucky by Santucket Stables, More Than Real RNA'ed for $140,000 earlier this year at the Fasig-Tipton Florida February Sale. She was acquired privately following her August 14 maiden special weight win at Saratoga.
More Than Real is the first stakes winner out of the multiple stakes-winning Miss Seffens (Dehere), who earned $502,600 from a 26-11-1-2 line. The 13-year-old mare produced a colt this year by Dixie Union. This is the family of Grade 3 winner Katahaula County (Bold Ruckus).