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Oct 31, 2008

Raven's Pass upsets Curlin to win Breeders' Cup Classic


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Raven's Pass, ridden by Frankie Dettori, caught defending Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin down the stretch to pull off one of the biggest upsets in racing history to conclude the two-day $26 million Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.

Jockey Garrett Gomez recorded four victories during the event to win the Willie Shoemaker Award. This was the first of two consecutive Breeders' Cups to be held at Santa Anita, before it moves to Churchill Downs in 2010.

In the $5 million Classic, Curlin was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the 12 horse field. Raven's Pass, from Europe, was the 6-1 second choice in the morning-line and was 13-1 when the gates opened.

Both Curlin and Raven's Pass settled in off the pace in the 1 1/4 mile Classic. Running on the lead was Casino Drive and Fairbanks. Vying for third and fourth up the backstretch was Go Between and Duke of Marmalade.

On the turn for home Curlin and jockey Robby Albarado began their drive. The reigning Horse of the Year was five wide around the turn, but was able to take the lead entering the stretch. Raven's Pass simply followed Curlin's path and quickly joined him on the lead.

Raven's Pass, owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, passed a tiring Curlin in mid- stretch shocking the world. Raven's Pass posted a two length victory over Henrythenavigator with Tiago finishing third. Curlin and Go Between were in a dead-heat for fourth.

The time for the 25th Classic was 1:59.27.

The win by Raven's Pass was the second of the day for his owner, jockey and trainer John Gosden. A three-year-old colt, Raven's Pass earns $2.7 million with the victory and now has career winnings of more than $3.6 million. He has won half of his 12 lifetime starts.

"It doesn't get any better than this," noted Gosden. "Having been with my wife and family for 11 years, based at Hollywood Park, Del Mar, all our great friends here, from the guys that are raking up in the shed areas, through to the owners and trainers and jockeys. No, it doesn't get any better. And if you think it's going to get better, you're really a greedy so and so, you know. So to me this is a dream come true and a day I'll cherish the rest of my life."

A winner of his last three starts, the Classic marked the first time Raven's Pass raced beyond a mile in his career.

Raven's Pass returned $29.00, $15.80 and $8.00. Henrythenavigator paid $22.00 and $11.20, and Tiago paid $7.00 to show.

The second day of the 25th edition of the Breeders' Cup commenced with Muhannak winning the inaugural running of the $500,000 Marathon.

Muhannak's victory was the first by a European horse in this year's championships.

Ridden by Patrick Smullen, Muhannak was fourth while Booyah set the pace in the 1 1/2 mile event. On the final turn Muhannak ranged up from the outside to join the leaders and assumed the lead at the top of the stretch.

Muhannak, trained by Ralph Beckett, held off Church Service and Big Booster down the stretch to post a head victory. Finishing fourth in the eight-horse field was Delightful Kiss. Sixties Icon, the 7-5 favorite, finished off the board.

"He got the perfect trip," Beckett noted. "Pat (Smullen) just said they were crawling. We worked it out beforehand that he had to be running going into the bend. Whether that meant he hit the front too soon or not, he had to be rolling going into the bend. He got that part of it right.

"He's trained very well all week. He's not an easy horse to train. A big, big part of this is the team at home because he hasn't been easy."

Final time for the 1 1/2 mile Marathon was 2:28.24 on the synthetic track.

Trainer Barry Abrams reported Saturday morning that Marathon entrant Add Heat had sustained a minor injury to the suspensory of his right front leg and was withdrawn from the race.

Owned by Richard Pegum, Muhannak earned $300,000 with the win to boost his career bankroll to $417,575. The four-year-old gelding has won seven of 15 lifetime starts, including his last five races.

Muhannak returned $26.80, $10.80 and $6.20. Church Service paid $9.60 and $6.80, and Big Booster paid $6.80 to show.

Desert Code, ridden by Richard Migliore, flew down the stretch to nail Diabolical at the wire and win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. The time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:11.60 on a firm turf course.

Setting the pace was Mr. Nightlinger and California Flag. Idiot Proof and One Union were racing in third and fourth, respectively, while Desert Code was in the middle of the field.

With about a furlong to go Desert Code accelerated down the middle of the grass course to catch Diabolical just before the wire. Owned by Tarabilla Farms, Desert Code posted a half-length win over Diabolical with Storm Treasure third and Fleeting Spirit fourth in the 14-horse field.

Desert Code is trained by David Hofmans and picked up $645,000 with the victory. The four-year-old colt has won six of 19 lifetime starts for than $1 million.

"I thought we'd be closer but when I saw a 41-and-change half, I knew we had a chance," said Hofmans. "He was so far back, but Richie (Migliore) did a great job. He deserves all the credit. The horse really bounced out of his last race. He's never been better and he loves this course. This is his fourth win over it."

Sent off at 36-1, Desert Code paid $75.00, $30.80 and $21.00. Diabolical returned $7.60 and $5.20, and Storm Treasure paid $9.20 to show.

Gomez guided Albertus Maximus through traffic to capture the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Santa Anita's synthetic track. The one lap race was timed in 1:33.41.

Two Step Salsa, a 22-1 longshot, led the 12-horse field for most of the race while Albertus Maximus settled about 10 lengths off the pace. Gomez, who won Friday's Filly & Mare Sprint, rode Albertus Maximus between horses down the stretch to join the leaders with a furlong to go.

The four-year-old colt took the lead with 100 yards to run and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 18-1 longshot Rebellion. Two Step Salsa held on for third with My Pal Charlie finishing fourth.

"I had to move before I wanted to at the three-eighths pole," Gomez noted. "I was waiting to see what was happening with Well Armed, hoping he'd get shoved down inside and I could swoop around him. When he started making his run, I had to go with him and he had me down inside. I had to wait on (My Pal Charlie). He found a hole and I followed him in there and it worked out perfectly."

Owned by Maryanne and Brandon Chase, Albertus Maximus picked up his fifth win in 15 career starts. With Saturday's $540,000, the colt has lifetime earnings of more than $900,000.

In his last race, the Vladimir Cerin trained thoroughbred was third to Well Armed in the Goodwood at Santa Anita. Well Armed was the defeated 6-5 favorite in the Dirt Mile.

Albertus Maximus returned $14.60, $7.40 and $5.40. Rebellion paid $16.00 and $11.20, and Two Step Salsa paid $12.80 to show.

Goldikova, the 9-5 favorite, surged along the rail to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile on Santa Anita's turf course. Goldikova became the fourth female to win the Mile and defeated defending champ Kip Deville in doing so.

Setting the pace in the Mile was Thorn Song with Goldikova stalking the leader from second. Kip Deville was close to the lead in fourth.

With Olivier Peslier riding, Goldikova found room along the inside down the stretch and was able to defeat Kip Deville by 1 1/4 lengths. Finishing third in the 11-horse field was Whatsthescript with Precious Kitten getting fourth.

The time for the Mile was 1:33.40 on a firm course.

The French-based Goldikova was making her North American debut in the Mile for her owners, the Wertheimer Brothers. Trained by Freddie Head, the three-year- old earned $1 million with the win and has now banked $2 million lifetime.

"She's a wonderful filly," Head said. "She's in the same class as Miesque (who won the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1987 and 1988 with Head aboard). She was a little backward before, but now she's in the same league as Miesque."

The Mile was Goldikova's fourth straight victory and sixth in nine career starts. She beat male rivals going a mile in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp in France on September 7.

Goldikova returned $5.60, $4.00 and $2.80. Kip Deville paid $4.80 and $3.40, and Whatsthescript paid $3.40 to show.

Midshipman, ridden by Gomez, set the pace most of the way in winning the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

It marked Gomez's third Breeders' Cup win of the weekend.

Sent off as the 7-2 co-favorite with Square Eddie, Midshipman took the lead in the Juvenile as the field of 12 entered the clubhouse turn. The two-year-old colt vied for the lead with both Square Eddie and Street Hero.

Around the turn for home Midshipman grabbed the lead for good and went on to post a 1 1/4 length win over Square Eddie. Street Hero finished third and Terrain was fourth.

Elusive Bid was an early scratch.

The time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:40.94 on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface.

Bob Baffert trains Midshipman for the Darley Stable. Baffert now has six career Breeders' Cup victories. The win makes Midshipman the early favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

"You think you want to plan it that way," Baffert noted, "and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. The plan worked to get him out there. I liked his draw. He's broken well in all of his races. It put him in the race early. It got him cruising. There wasn't a ridiculous pace or anything like that.

"You don't know, but you're just hoping that when he kicks for home that he's the real deal and he showed he was."

The colt collected $1 million with the win and has total earnings of $1.3 million. A winner of three of four career starts, Midshipman won the Del Mar Futurity this September and was second to Street Hero in Santa Anita's Norfolk Stakes.

Midshipman paid $9.20, $4.40 and $3.20. Square Eddie returned $5.00 and $3.80, and Street Hero paid $4.40 to show.

Donativum, ridden by Dettori, rallied down the stretch to capture the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

A field of 12 two-year-olds went postward in the second running of the Juvenile Turf. Taking the lead early was 55-1 longshot Orthodox. Racing in his first stakes, Orthodox led the field up the backstretch and into the far turn.

Dettori had Donativum along the inside on the final turn and angled him outside as the field entered the stretch. Coronet of a Baron had a clear lead with 200 yards to run, but Donativum accelerated down the middle of the stretch to hit the wire first.

Finishing a half-length back in second was Westphalia followed by Coronet of a Baron in third and City Style in fourth.

The time for the mile on a firm course was 1:34.68.

Donativum was making his first start outside of England for owner Princess Haya. Trained by Gosden, the gelding earned $610,000 with the win and recorded his third win in six starts. The two-year-old has won better than $1.58 million this year.

"It was a good effort," Gosden said. "This was a high-quality field of colts. The second horse (Westphalia) won a major race the other day and we won a $1 million dollar race today. I don't give Frankie (Dettori) any instructions. He was a little farther back than I would have liked, then he got squeezed, and then pinched. I was afraid he was going to be an unlucky loser, but he got there."

Donativum returned $13.60, $7.00 and $5.00. Westphalia paid $5.40 and $3.80, and Coronet of a Baron paid $5.40 to show.

Defending champ Midnight Lute rallied down the stretch to repeat as the victor in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint. The win gave Baffert his second victory of the day.

Racing for just the second time in 2008, Midnight Lute and Gomez broke slowly from the gate in the eight-horse field. Setting the pace up the backstretch was First Defence and Fatal Bullet.

Fatal Bullet took the lead on the final turn as Midnight Lute began his rally. Running down the middle of the track the defender caught Fatal Bullet inside the furlong pole and opened up to the wire.

Midnight Lute posted a 1 3/4 length victory over Fatal Bullet with Street Boss third and In Summation getting fourth.

Trainer John Sadler said Cost of Freedom, who drew the inside post, was scratched from the Sprint after a veterinary inspection Saturday morning.

The time for the six furlongs was 1:07.08 on the synthetic surface, more than two seconds faster than the winner's time last year at Monmouth Park.

Midnight Lute was coming off a 10th-place finish in the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in his lone start this year. The Sprint victory was worth $1.08 million to bring the five-year-old's career earnings to $2.7 million. He has won six of 13 lifetime starts.

Owned by Mike Pegram, Midnight Lute is now in the mix to win his second Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.

"Winning this race twice shows what a great horse he really is," Baffert observed. "He is a freak. He had a hock injury after he won last year, and we thought we were going to have to retire him. We X-rayed him after 60 days and it had healed."

Midnight Lute paid $7.40, $5.00 and $3.20. Fatal Bullet returned $6.60 and $3.80, and Street Boss paid $2.40 to show.

Conduit rallied from off the pace to take the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf. The three-year-old colt covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.42 on a firm course.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Conduit was making his first start in North America after racing exclusively in England. The chestnut colt was taken back by Moore in the 11-horse field as Red Rock Canyon set the early pace.

On the final turn 8-5 favorite Soldier of Fortune took the lead with Out of Control close behind. However, it was Eagle Mountain that led the field into the stretch as Conduit began to rally.

Owned by Ballymacoll Stud, Conduit caught and passed Eagle Mountain in mid- stretch and went on to register a 1 1/2-length victory. Eagle Mountain held for second followed by Dancing Forever and Soldier of Fortune.

Conduit, trained by Michael Stoute, takes home $1.7 million with the win and has career earnings of $2.5 million. He has nine career starts with five wins.

"The jockey rode a masterful race and had him in the right position," Stoute said. "When he asked him, the jockey got him into gear and I thought from a long way out that he was going to come and pick them up and he did. I was very confident running him on the course here because he's raced well on firm turf before. I was not worried about the heat today because he's a young horse and quite fit."

Conduit returned $13.60, $8.40 and $5.80. Eagle Mountain paid $9.60 and $6.40, and Dancing Forever paid $12.80 to show.

The highlight of Friday's action was Zenyatta's impressive victory in the Ladies' Classic, the other Breeders' Cup races run on Friday's 10-race card were won by Charles Cono's two-year-old filly Stardom Bound (Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies), Augustin Stable's four-year-old filly Forever Together (Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf), Juddmonte Farm's four-year-old filly Ventura (Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint) and Karen Woods and Khaled bin Saud's two-year-old filly Maram (Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf).

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