2017 Breeders’ Cup Results
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships was held for the first time ever at Del Mar in 2017, and the San Diego venue put on quite a show with a week-long schedule of festivities.
However, the 13 races that made up the Breeders’ Cup took center stage on November 3-4, showcasing some of the best Thoroughbred action around.
Friday kicked off in the fun, and the first Breeders’ Cup event saw RUSHING FALL carry jockey Javier Castellano to a three-quarter length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Campaigned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, the bay daughter of More Than Ready ran wide throughout the mile turf affair before taking command in the stretch and stopping the clock in 1:36.09 over the firm grass for trainer Chad Brown. Rushing Fall paid $8 as the 3-1 second choice while near 5-2 favorite Happily finished last in the field of 14.
The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) came next and 14-1 shot BATTLE OF MIDWAY collared near 3-1 second favorite and pacesetter Sharp Azteca in the stretch to win by a half-length and pay $30.40. Jockey Flavien Prat piloted the Jerry Hollendorfer-conditioned sophomore, who posted a final time of 1:35.20 over the fast main track. The bay son of Smart Strike sported the colors of co-owner WinStar Farm in the race and is also owned by Don Alberto Stable.
MENDELSSOHN hit a winning note in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) for English champion jockey Ryan Moore and Ballydoyle master Aidan O’Brien. Sent off the 9-2 favorite, the Scat Daddy colt stalked the early pace, angled out in upper stretch to collar the pacesetter and inched clear for the one-length triumph. Campaigned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, Mendelssohn ran a mile on the firm turf in 1:35.97 to give back $11.60 for the win.
The feature event on Breeders’ Cup Friday was the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), and FOREVER UNBRIDLED capped off a perfect season with a half-length win over sophomore Abel Tasman. Both runners secured Eclipse Awards in their respective divisions with the finish, but it was Forever Unbridled and jockey John Velazquez in the winner’s circle with owner/breeder Charles Fipke and trainer Dallas Stewart. The five-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song completed nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:50.25 and rewarded her supporters with a $9.40 payout for the win as the 7-2 third choice.
Breeders’ Cup Saturday saw two-year-old fillies once again begin the action, but this time it was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on the fast main track. CALEDONIA ROAD shocked at 17-1 in the 1 1/16-mile event for Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spring and Newtown Anner Stud. Running widest of all throughout the race, the Quality Road bay miss and jockey Mike Smith pulled off in the stretch to be 3 1/4 lengths clear of their nearest rival on the wire. The Ralph Nicks-trained Caledonia Road was worth $36.60 to her faithful backers after stopping the clock in 1:45.05.
Trainer Peter Miller and owner Rockingham Ranch ended up with the exacta one race later in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), as STORMY LIBERAL and jockey Joel Rosario just got the best of stablemate Richard’s Boy and Flavien Prat by a head on the wire. Sent off at 30-1 and 13-1, respectively, the duo returned $277.50 for the $1 exacta. Stormy Liberal, who ran five furlongs on the firm turf in :56.12, paid $62.40 for the win.
Another upset was just around the corner, as 66-1 longshot BAR OF GOLD stuck her nose in front of 18-1 Ami’s Mesa in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) a half-hour later. The five-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro rallied under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. from the rear of the 14-strong field and just got the best of Ami’s Mesa, who had a length advantage in the stretch. Bar of Gold, who is trained by John Kimmel for owners/breeders Chester and Mary Broman, completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.63 to return a hefty $135.40 for the win. The $1 exacta was worth $1,030.20 and the $1 trifecta, with 20-1 Carina Mia following a length behind in third, was a whopping $13,847.50. Skye Diamonds completed the $1 superfecta, which paid a massive $176,369.50.
Despite close finishes against Group 1 rivals overseas in France and Ireland, WUHEIDA was pretty much overlooked for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) when sent off at 11-1 against 13 rivals. The Godolphin colorbearer proved best, however, under jockey William Buick, finishing a length in front of Rhododendron and Ryan Moore. Trained by Charles Appleby, the three-year-old chestnut daughter of Dubawi posted a final time of 1:47.91 for 1 1/8 miles over the firm turf and paid $24.40 for the win.
Trainer Peter Miller and owner Rockingham Ranch revisited the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle thanks to a one-length score in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) by ROY H with jockey Kent Desormeaux holding the reins. Co-owner David Bernsen joined the connections in the prime spot after the More Than Ready gelding ran six furlongs on the fast dirt in 1:08.61 as the near 5-1 third pick. Roy H was worth $11.80 while capping off 2017 with a 6-5-1-0 scorecard.
A truly international cast of 14 runners was assembled for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), but none could get the best of domestic star WORLD APPROVAL in the eight-furlong affair. Jockey John Velazquez guided the Live Oak Stud homebred to a 1 1/4-length win as the 5-2 favorite. World Approval was only the second favorite to win in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, doing so after clocking 1:34.55 on the firm grass. Trained by Mark Casse, the gray gelded son of Northern Afleet was worth $7.40 for the victory.
Bolt d’Oro was sent off the heavy 3-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) next out, but was unable to overcome a bobbling start and wide trip. Instead, 11-1 shot GOOD MAGIC easily proved victorious by 4 1/4 lengths under jockey Jose Ortiz. The Curlin chestnut split rivals and pulled away to finish 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.34 for trainer Chad Brown. Owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and breeder Stonestreet Stables LLC, the two-year-old gave back $25 to his supporters. Solomini ended up finishing second at 9-1, a length in front of Bolt d’Oro.
TALISMANIC’s distinctive white face was unmistakable powering down the lane in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) one race before the main event. With jockey Mickael Barzalona sporting the Godolphin blue silks, Talismanic secured the half-length victory for trainer Andre Fabre in a final time of 2:26.19 over the firm turf. The four-year-old dark bay son of Medaglia d’Oro gave Barzalona his first Breeders’ Cup win and paid $30.20 as the 14-1 fifth pick in the 13-horse field.
An hour later, GUN RUNNER ran his Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) rivals off their hooves. The four-year-old chestnut took command of the 1 1/4-mile contest from the onset and never looked back under jockey Florent Geroux. Collected kept pace throughout, and provided an exciting test rounding the turn and into the stretch, but Gun Runner was more than up for the challenge. The Steve Asmussen pupil hit another gear and pulled off to be 2 1/4 lengths clear on the wire, stopping the clock in 2:01.29 over the fast main track.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, Gun Runner paid $6.80 as the near 5-2 second choice in the 11-horse field. The Candy Ride colt also avenged his loss to 2-1 favorite Arrogate, as that rival was a dead-heat fifth on the Classic wire.
That loss was the only blemish on a six-race 2017 campaign for Gun Runner and came as a second in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) in March. The Breeders’ Cup Classic victory, which followed a trio of Grade 1 wins in the Stephen Foster Handicap, Whitney Stakes and Woodward Stakes, was enough to pretty much guarantee Gun Runner an Eclipse Award as the 2017 Horse of the Year. Plenty more of Breeders' Cup results and takeaways here.