The second (and largest) day of the first Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar opened with a huge upset in the Juvenile Fillies, and then an even bigger one in the Turf Sprint, with a local trainer in the winner’s circle (he would win again later). And, then, incredibly, an even larger upset followed in the third Cup race — the second-biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history.
In the end, only one favorite won on the day before a crowd of 37,692, right about at where Breeders’ Cup officials capped ticket sales.
BREEDERS’ CUP DAY 2
At Del Mar
Winning jockey/trainer: Florent Geroux (4th Cup win), Steve Asmussen (6th)
What happened: Gun Runner wrapped up Horse of the Year honors by leading throughout the Classic. Stalked by Collected, the two left the field behind on the far turn and dueled through the stretch before Gun Runner prevailed by 2¼ lengths. Favored Arrogate finished in a dead heat for fifth in his final career race. The victory was the second for Asmussen; the other came with Curlin a decade ago at Monmouth Park. It was the first Classic win for Geroux.
Results: 1. Talismanic ($30.20), 2. Beach Patrol, 3. Highland Reel
Winning jockey/trainer: Mickael Barzalona (1st Cup win), Andre Fabre (5th)
What happened: At least for a year, Barzalona can say he’s perfect in the Breeders’ Cup — one mount, one win. He rode the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt like a veteran, though, saving ground throughout, then finding a hole between Beach Patrol and defending champion Highland Reel and out-finishing both of them. On a day of long shots, it was fitting that Fabre, who trained all-time Cup upsetter Arcangues (133-1 in the 1993 Classic), got in on the party.
Results: 1. Good Magic ($25), 2. Solomini, 3. Bolt d’Oro
Winning jockey/trainer: Jose Ortiz (2nd Cup win), Chad Brown (10th)
What happened: With the favorite, locally owned Bolt d’Oro, fanned about six-wide on the first turn and five-wide on the second turn, Good Magic took advantage to become the first maiden to win any Breeders’ Cup race. The son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (who also sired the runner-up), was in a good spot behind the pacesetters (U S Navy Flag and Solomini), and had little trouble sprinting clear for a 4¼-length victory, with Bolt d’Oro another length back. Ortiz joined brother Irad (Filly & Mare Sprint) in winning Cup races on Saturday.
Results: 1. World Approval ($7.40), 2. Lancaster Bomber, 3. Blackjackcat
Winning jockey/trainer: John Velazquez (15th Cup win), Mark Casse (4th)
What happened: Finally, a favorite! The first of the day in the Cup races allowed Velazquez to tie Jerry Bailey for second place on the list of all-time Cup victories. World Approval won his third straight Grade I race, all at a mile, and gave Casse his second Mile victory in three years (Tepin in 2015). The gray 5-year-old gelding was never more than about three lengths from the lead, took over from Heart to Heart with about a furlong left and won by 1¼ lengths over Lancaster Bomber, who also was second in last year’s Juvenile Turf.
Results: 1. Roy H ($11.80), 2. Imperial Hint, 3. Mind Your Biscuits
Winning jockey/trainer: Kent Desormeaux (6th Cup win), Peter Miller (2nd, both Saturday)
What happened: It’s Peter Miller Day at Del Mar as Roy H gave him his second win in as many tries. Defending champion Drefong broke a bit slowly and never made the lead, leaving Takaful and Imperial Hint up front. Roy H was sitting third, came out to challenge Imperial Hint at the top of the stretch and put him away in the final 100 yards to win by a length. Gary Hartunian is the owner of both of Miller’s winners.
FILLY & MARE TURF
Results: 1. Wuheida ($24.40), 2. Rhododendron, 3. Cambodia
Winning jockey/trainer: William Buick (1st Cup win), Charles Appleby (2nd)
What happened: A Group I winner at 2 but winless in four starts at 3, the daughter of Dubawi gave jockey Buick his first Cup win in 10 tries and trainer Appleby his second in just three tries. Always close up, Wuheida took the lead from Zipessa at the top of the stretch and held a host of challengers safe, eventually winning by a length. Lady Eli, the 3-2 favorite, was seventh in her final race. At 11-1, Wuheida was the shortest-priced winner of the first four Cup races.
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
Results: 1. Bar of Gold ($135.40), 2. Ami’s Mesa, 3. Carina Mia
Winning jockey/trainer: Irad Ortiz Jr. (3rd Cup win), John Kimmel (1st)
What happened: For the third straight race, a trainer won his first Cup race. This one was the most shocking of all; in fact, only one horse in history has won a Breeders’ Cup race at longer odds than Bar of Gold’s 66-1 (Arcangues was 133-1 when he won the 1993 Classic). Ortiz had the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro next-to-last until midway around the far turn, when he began asking her to move. She swung out at the top of stretch and just got past Ami’s Mesa, an 18-1 shot, at the wire. The even-money favorite, Unique Bella, was seventh.
Results: 1. Stormy Liberal ($62.40), 2. Richard’s Boy, 3. Disco Partner
Winning jockey/trainer: Joel Rosario (6th Cup win), Peter Miller (1st)
What happened: Miller, who lives in Encinitas and trains at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, lived the dream in this race. He started a pair of 5-year-old geldings who went off at 30-1 and 13-1 and finished 1-2, with his two horses a head apart (producing a $1 exacta that paid $277.50). The winner saved ground along the rail, swung out at the top of the stretch and out-finished his stablemate in his first start since June 10. Lady Aurelia, the 4-5 favorite, wound up 10th.
Results: 1. Caledonia Road ($36.60), 2. Alluring Star, 3. Blonde Bomber
Winning jockey/trainer: Mike Smith (26th Cup win), Ralph E. Nicks (1st)
What happened: With just his third Breeders’ Cup starter, Nicks picked up his first victory while the event’s all-time leading rider continued to pad his total. Caledonia Road, a daughter of Quality Road, came from off the pace to run down Alluring Star and earn her first stakes win in just her third start. Favored Moonshine Memories, the Del Mar Debutante winner, set the pace with Alluring Star but faded to seventh.