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That was the Breeders Cup 2023

3 minute read

There were some wonderful races on both days.

BIG EVS winning the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California.
BIG EVS winning the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images

Going through the cards saw Friday start off in great form for the Europeans (in general they dominated the turf and the Americans the dirt) with a popular win for Big Evs and trainer Mick Appleby and jockey Aussie Tom Marquand with Valiant Force second and Starlust under Frankie Dettori third.

The fillies went next on the dirt and here the Justify filly with the cute name Just FYI saluted for the first of trainer Bill Mott's wins with Jody's Pride second and the Candy Ride filly Candied third.

Back on the turf another Justify filly Hard to Justify won at 9/1 for Chad Brown and Flavian Prat just beating our pick Porta Fortuna into second with She Feels Pretty third.

Then back on the dirt for the boys with Todd Pletcher's pupil Fierceness scoring for the East Coast winning over the West Coast's Muth with the winner's stablemate absolutely flying from nowhere to take third and Prince of Monaco fourth.

The boys then went to the turf where Aidan O'Brien got the quinella with Unquestionable and Mountain Bear.  River Tiber had been scratched from the race by the Vets and more on that topic later. Mountain Bear sustained an injury but word is that he is fortunately OK.

Saturday's card started off on the dirt where Siskany started favourite but didn't seem to handle the surface and the winner was Salesman from Win The Day.

The Twilight Derby was back on the turf and here Mandella got the running double when Seal Team won with Umberto Rispoli riding and Godolphin's Silver Knot second giving the Americans a turf win.  Webslinger ran third.

The Dirt Mile was an emotional race with young Cody Dorman and his family to see the horse that he befriended and named fight out a thrilling finish and survive and inquiry to win the race for the second year running and finish his racing career in glory.  In the end Cody's Wish won by a nose from National Treasure and another Bill Mott win was in the books.

Back on the turf Frankie Dettori steered Inspiral to a win in the F&M Turf over Warm Heart whom all the trackwork watchers seem to have fallen in love with.  Good news is that she is heading to Hong Kong for the Internationals.  Bad news that our pick Win Marilyn who started at 40/1 just got pipped for third by the Canadian filly Moira.

Goodnight Olive's consistency again came to the fore when she won the 1400m Sprint (another Chad Brown winner) over Yuugiri 26/1 and Three Witches 34/1.

The Mile on turf saw an amazing ride from Will Buick to come from a very wide draw, find a spot on the outside and then get a fantastic response from Master Of The Seas to overtake the field and deny fellow Godolphin runner Mawj the title.

The Distaff saw Idiomatic, a very big girl, get a good win over Randomized and a brave effort from the Chilean Le Da Vida to get the third spot.  Clariere put in a good late run but a case of too little to late and she finished fourth.

AUGUSTE RODIN winning the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
AUGUSTE RODIN winning the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images

The BC Turf was another of those incredible rides from Ryan Moore on an incredible horse – August Rodin.  He's by Deep Impact and many of the Americans remarked how like his grandfather Sunday Silence he looked.  His dam Rhododendron had an illustrious career of her own. Ryan found a run on the inside as the field seemed to separate just for him and let him through and then the rest was history.  Up To The Mark was a good second but not as good as the winner and Shahryar returned to top form to take third.  Mostahdef had started favourite but whether all his antics pre-race paid a toll or he wanted retirement NOW he didn't feature.  King of Steel was a creditable fifth.

The Classic went the way of White Abarrio with our roughie Derma Sotogake coming a close second on 26/1.  Proxy took third with Arabian Knight fourth and Ushba Tesoro fifth.

The Turf Sprint went to Nobals (yes he is a gelding) 12/1 from Big Invasion 12/1 and Aidan O'Brien's Aesop's Fables put in a huge finish to take third at 10/1.  Those who saw an interview with Aidan earlier would have heard him give the horse the proverbial leg up.  Live in the Dream finished fourth and favourite Motorious fifth.

And the carnival was closed by another Bill Mott winner in Elite Power in the 1200m Sprint with Gunite second and Nakatomi third.  Speed Boat Beach has indeed got a ton of speed and led early on but that run was short-lived.

On Friday morning there was a list of 16 horses that had been scratched by the vets leading to some very unhappy connections.  We don't know the exact reasons given but the Vets in Santa Anita are very vigilant and erring on the side of caution after some bad experiences a little while ago with too many horses breaking down.

While the Breeder's Cup claims this meeting as the "world championship" it isn't really as. Dubai for one attracts horses from many more jurisdictions but it is a very good meeting and does attract many of the top UK and Ireland horses.  The BC Turf had 5 of the top 20 horses in the world in the field. 

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