Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar, Lee Michaels and trainer J. Keith Desormeaux et al.'s Texas Red came flying from last to run away with Saturday's Grade 1, $1,840,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita by 6 1/2 lengths. Sent off as the 13-1 sixth choice on the board, the son of Afleet Alex paid $29.80 for his first stakes win and also collected 10 points toward the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
"The first thing I thought when he was drawing away was ‘How good is American Pharoah?' You never want to see a defection, but it had to help," J. Desormeaux said.
In his first start on dirt, Texas Red was exiting a closing third-place finish to Calculator and American Pharoah in the Grade 1 FrontRunner over this track on September 27.
Texas Red was all alone in the back of the field as Blue Dancer, the 64-1 second longest shot on the board, led the field through an opening quarter in :22 1/5. Texas Red continued to plod along in the rear as the pacesetter put up a half-mile in :45 3/5.
Souper Colossal pressured the leader from the start and wore that foe down to take over by a head and post six furlongs in 1:10. Texas Red had only passed one horse at that point but was quickly starting to gain momentum. The two-year-old bay colt looked like he shot out of a cannon coming five wide off the far turn, as he erased an 11 1/4-length deficit in no time. Texas Red took command near the top of the stretch and continued to widen his margin in the stretch, leaving his competition to fight for secondary honors.
Texas Red stopped the teletimer in 1:41 4/5 for the 1 1/16-mile test over the fast main track with Kent Desormeaux up.
"I hadn't even asked him yet and the others started coming back to me at the quarter-pole, so that made it real easy," Desormeaux said. "You know, we were real poor when I was growing up but we always had horses. I don't know how my family ever fed them, but my education in horses came all together today with this win."
Texas Red's $1,100,000 payday certainly justified his $17,000 purchase price as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale. He now has a short career record that stands at 5-2-1-1 and $1,192,300 in lifetime earnings.
Carpe Diem, the 9-5 favorite and Breeders' Futurity winner, came from the back of the field to get up for second by a nose over Upstart in third. The Great War, Mr. Z, One Lucky Dane, Souper Colossal, Lucky Player, Private Prospect, Blue Dancer and Daredevel, the 5-2 second choice and Champagn winner, rounded out the order of finish. American Pharoah and Calculator were both scratched.
"It was disappointing with Daredevil for sure," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up Carpe Diem and last-place finisher Daredevil. "He got hung very wide in the first turn. That might have accounted for some of it. It would have been impossible for him to win from where he was on the first turn, but it doesn't account for the poor performance.
"The other horse (Carpe Diem) got a big education, a lot of dirt and a different scenario than he's been in. It took him a while to get untracked. I think he finished really well. He's a promising horse for the future."
"It was speed packed to the inside," said Rick Violette Jr., trainer of third-place finisher Upstart. "He took back, but it wasn't by design. I thought he ran terrific. At the last jump he just got lipped-out for second, and that that was frustrating, but I thought the horse ran huge and I'm proud of him."
Texas Red was beaten by a neck in his racing debut on July 3 at Arlington Park going five furlongs and was a closing fourth later that month at Del Mar in a six-furlong sprint. The bay colt stayed at that same venue and broke his maiden by 1 1/2 lengths the following month, while stretching out to a mile.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, Texas Red is out of the Grade 3-placed Jeune Homme mare Ramatuelle, who is a half-sister to Chilean Group 2 scorer Vitra. His grandam is Villa Torlonia, who is a full sister to multiple Chilean champion Via Sixtina. The bay's female family also includes Grade 2 winner Logetta.
Click here for the transcript from the winning connections.