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Nov 02, 2007

Curlin roars to victory in Breeders' Cup Classic


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Preakness Stakes winner Curlin took the lead at the top of the stretch on his way to winning the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park as the 24th Breeders' Cup World Championships concluded its two days of competition.

The victory by the three-year-old puts him in position to become the 2007 Horse of the Year as he outdistanced arch-rivals Hard Spun, Lawyer Ron and Street Sense.

The pace in the 1 1/4 mile race was set by Hard Spun with Lawyer Ron running second and Diamond Stripes in third. Curlin, with jockey Robby Albarado, settled off the pace away from the rail.

On the turn for home Curlin began picking off horses and drew even with Hard Spun at the quarter-mile pole. Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense was in third around the final turn, but could not keep up with the front two horses.

Curlin took over the lead coming off the turn and cruised to a 4 1/2 length victory. Hard Spun finished second with Awesome Gem third, and Street Sense fourth in the nine horse field.

Rounding out the finish was Tiago, Any Given Saturday, Lawyer Ron and Diamond Stripes.

George Washington, sixth last year, dislocated an ankle in the stretch and was euthanized.

The time for the Classic was 2:00.59 on a sloppy track.

"It was truly awesome," said Albarado. "Everything went perfectly starting with all the speed up front. It unfolded just the way we wanted, but it also takes a hell of a horse to get this done. Curlin was there for us every step of the way."

Curlin is owned by Padua and Stonestreet Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen. The colt has won six-of-nine career starts and adds $2.7 million to his earnings. He has won $5.1 million in a career that began in February of this year.

Along with the Preakness he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last start and posted a third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes.

Curlin returned $10.80, $5.20 and $4.20. Hard Spun paid $7.60 and $5.80, and Awesome Gem paid $9.40 to show.

The second day of the Breeders' Cup commenced with Indian Blessing capturing the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. Rain continued to fall which caused the main track to be sloppy and the turf course soft.

Indian Blessing, ridden by Garrett Gomez, went wire to wire in winning the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:44.73 in the slop. The filly took the lead shortly after the start and went on to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Proud Spell. Finishing third was Backseat Rhythm in the 13-horse field.

Rounding out the order of finish was Tasha's Miracle, Smarty Deb, Clearly Foxy, Grace Anatomy, Zee Zee, A to the Croft, Izarra, Set Play, Irish Smoke and Phantom Income.

Cry and Catch Me was scratched from the race on Thursday after coming down with a fever.

Owned by Hal Earnhardt and trained by Bob Baffert, Indian Blessing is now a perfect three for three in her short career. The Juvenile Fillies victory was worth $1 million to bring her earnings to more than $1.4 million.

Earlier this month Indian Blessing won the Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.

"That was fun. I left it up to Garrett, but she's a fast filly and she broke well," said Baffert. "She's a really talented filly and we've always known it."

Indian Blessing returned $5.40, $4.80 and $3.20. Proud Spell paid $8.80 and $5.80, and Backseat Rhythm paid $9.60 to show.

War Pass, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, led every step of the way as the two-year-old captured the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile for colts and geldings. The time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.76 on a sloppy track.

Just as in the Juvenile Fillies race, War Pass took the lead out of the gate and proved that speed will be difficult to catch. Owned by Robert LaPenta, the colt won by 4 3/4 lengths over Pyro with Kodiak Kowboy third and Tale of Ekati fourth in the 11 horse field.

Completing the order of finish was Z Humor, Old Man Buck, Overextended, Shore Do, Salute the Sarge, Wicked Style and Globalization.

Dixie Chatter and Slew's Tiznow were scratched from the race.

War Pass gives trainer Nick Zito his first win in the Juvenile. The victory was worth $1 million to increase the two-year-old's earnings to more than $1.3 million.

"I'm very excited. Wonderful horse. This is great," noted Zito. "I never had an anxious moment. We did it exactly the way we said we would."

In the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, War Pass also defeated Pyro in a wire to wire effort. Velasquez has been aboard the last three starts.

The win puts War Pass into the position as the early favorite for the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Street Sense is the only Juvenile winner to capture the Run for the Roses.

War Pass, the 2-1 favorite, paid $6.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Pyro returned $4.60 and $3.60, and Kodiak Kowboy paid $6.40 to show.

Racing on a turf course listed as soft, Lahudood posted a one length victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles.

With Alan Garcia in the saddle, Lahudood took advantage of some strange running by the early leaders. Simply Perfect had the lead as the field crossed under the wire for the first time. The filly was making her North America debut and apparently had problems with the Monmouth Park turf course.

Coming off the turn into the backstretch, Simply Perfect bolted to the far outside, taking several others horses with her. She was then pulled up by jockey John Murtagh and did not finish the race.

Lahudood was running behind Argentina around the final turn and took the lead at the top of the stretch. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Lahudood held off a late move by Honey Ryder to stop the clock at 2:22.75, the slowest running of the race.

Behind Honey Ryder in third was Passage of Time with Nashoba's Key fourth in the 11 horse field. Completing the order of finish was Nashoba's Key, All My Loving, Timarwa, Arravale, Precious Kitten, Argentina and Danzon.

Wait a While, 4-1 in the morning-line, was scratched Saturday morning.

Lahudood is owned by Shadwell Farm and collects $1 million with the win. The four-year-old was coming off a victory in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park and has won four of 12 career starts for more than $1.5 million.

"It's just fabulous. It's just a great feeling for the owner and the jock and everybody concerned," said McLuahglin. "She handled it (soft ground) well in France. It's just that Sheikh Hamdan (al Maktoum) felt she handled firm a little better, but she handles soft well too.".

Lahudood returned $25.40, $11.40 and $6.40. Honey Ryder paid $6.60 and $4.60, while 5-2 post-time favorite Passage Of Time paid $3.40 to show.

Midnight Lute, ridden by Garrett Gomez, exploded down the stretch to capture the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint. The victory was the second for Gomez on Saturday's Breeders' Cup card.

Midnight Lute got off a bit slower than the other nine horses. Talent Search took the lead and led the field up the backstretch. Coming off the final turn Talent Search and Idiot Proof were by themselves on the lead.

Angled off the rail by Gomez, Midnight Lute had clear sailing down the middle of the stretch. The colt accelerated past the leaders and went on to win by 4 3/4 lengths.

Idiot Proof held on for second followed by Talent Search and Benny the Bull. Completing the order of finish was Kelly's Landing, Bordonaro, Commentator, Greg's Gold, Smokey Stover and Forefathers

Attila's Storm was scratched from the race Friday morning.

The time for the six furlongs on a sloppy track was 1:09.18.

Trainer Bob Baffert and Gomez combined earlier to win the Juvenile Fillies race with Indian Blessing. The Sprint win was worth $1 million to put Midnight Lute's career earnings at better than $1.5 million.

"He really didn't break all that bad," said Gomez. "The horse (Ryan) Fogelsonger was on (Talent Search) made us take back. I felt really comfortable at the half. I felt that we had a good shot. I made the decision to come around horses and Commentator took us out a little farther than I would have liked, but once I got him clear, he came on."

The colt, owned by Mike Pegram, has won five of 10 lifetime starts. He won the Forego Stakes in his last start at Saratoga and has been ridden by four different jockeys in his last four races.

Midnight Lute paid $7.00, $4.00 and $3.00. Idiot Proof returned $6.60 and $4.60, and Talent Search paid $8.60 to show.

Stalking the pace through most of the race, Kip Deville took the lead in mid-stretch and went on to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile on the Monmouth Park turf course. The win was the second of the day for jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

Kip Deville was sent off at odds of 8-1 in the 13 horse field. He left the starting gate in good order and settled in behind the leader Cosmonaut along the rail.

On the turn for home Cosmonaut still had the lead with Remarkable News second and Kip Deville third, looking for an opening. At the top of the stretch Kip Deville found room to the outside of the leader as the other contenders began to tire. Unable to sustain a move was Nobiz Like Shobiz -- the Wood Memorial winner.

Kip Deville posted a one-length win over 2-1 favorite Excellent Art, followed by Cosmonaut and Nobiz Like Shobiz.

Rounding out the finish was Host, Trippi's Storm, Remarkable News, Rebellion, Icy Atlantic, Jeremy, Purim, Silent Name and My Typhoon.

The time for the mile was 1:39.78 on the soft grass course. This is the second slowest Breeders' Cup Mile.

After Market, 7-2 in the morning-line, was scratched on Friday.

Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Kip Deville was a $300,000 supplemental entry into the race. He collects more than $1 million to increase his lifetime bankroll to better than $2 million.

"I couldn't be more excited." Dutrow said. "I knew he was doing very good going into this race. My only concern was him liking the track. I was under the impression that he was going to get a good trip. We just couldn't be happier."

Kip Deville has won nine of 21 career starts and was coming off a second place finish in the Woodbine Mile to Shakespeare. Shakespeare, now retired with an injury, may have been the favored in this race.

Kip Deville returned $18.40, $7.20 and $5.20. Excellent Art paid $4.20 and $3.00, and Cosmonaut paid $6.60 to show.

Ginger Punch outfought Hystericalady down the stretch to capture the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff for fillies and mares.

Ginger Punch, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was never far off the lead in the 1 1/8 mile race. Bear Now set the pace, trailed by Hystericalady, Ginger Punch and Lady Joanne.

Around the turn for home Ginger Punch, Hystericalady and Lady Joanne were still on the lead as Octave made a major move toward the leaders.

Ginger Punch and Hystericalady hooked up in a stretch duel leaving the rest of the 12 horse field behind. At the wire Ginger Punch edged away to record a half-length victory over Hystericalady followed by Octave and Lady Joanne.

Completing the order of finish was Unbridled Belle, Balance, Tough Tiz's Sis, Bear Now, Indian Vale, Lear's Princess, Teammate and Prop Me Up.

The time for the Distaff was 1:50.11 on a sloppy track.

Ginger Punch is trained by Bobby Frankel for owner Frank Stronach. The four- year-old picks up $1 million and now has career earnings of $1.7 million.

This year the filly has won five of eight starts, including the Ruffian and Go For Wand Handicaps. She has won seven of 14 lifetime races.

"This filly has come a long way," said assistant trainer Chad Brown. "Bobby never lost confidence in her. I'm so happy for the filly. We've had her since she was two. She's a real tough filly. At one point of the race it looked like she went into the rail. She's tough and has always been a fighter."

Ginger Punch returned $11.00, $6.20 and $4.40. Hystericalady paid $9.60 and $7.20, and Octave paid $5.00 to show.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had three horses entered in the race -- Octave, Indian Vale and Unbridled Belle.

English Channel captured the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Monmouth Park. The win snapped a long Breeders' Cup losing streak for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Only eight grass runners left the starting gate in the 1 1/2 mile event. Dylan Thomas, rated as the top thoroughbred in the world, was the 4-5 favorite and English Channel was the 3-1 second choice.

Longshot Fri Guy set the pace with Shamdinan, English Channel and Transduction following. The pace was very slow as the field went through the six-furlong mark in just under 1:20.

Around the turn for home English Channel and Shamdinan were alone in front. English Channel, ridden by John Velazquez, kicked away from the field to record a seven length victory.

Shamdinan finished second followed by 2006 champ Red Rocks and 2004 winner Better Talk Now. Dylan Thomas was fifth followed by Grand Couturier (GB), Fri Guy and Transduction Gold.

English Channel, third in last year's running, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:36.96 on the soft going. This was the slowest Turf since 1995 when Northern Spur won.

"He delivered big-time today," Pletcher noted. "That was a big performance. He dominated some really good horses. I was concerned (about the course condition). Obviously, it was extremely soft, but he ran an unbelievable race."

Owned by James Scatuorchio, English Channel has won three of his last four starts and adds $1.5 million to his earnings. In his career the five-year-old has won 13 of 23 races for better than $5.2 million.

This was Pletcher's first Breeders' Cup victory since the 2004 Sprint with Speightstown.

English Channel paid $8.00, $4.40 and $3.00. Shamdinan returned $17.60 and $9.40, and Red Rocks paid $4.60 to show.

Friday's winners were Maryfield in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, Nownownow in the $1 million Juvenile Turf and Corinthian in the $1 million Dirt Mile.

The 2008 Breeders' Cup will be conducted at Santa Anita Park during the Oak Tree meet on Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25, 2008, and will be televised live on ESPN.

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