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Nov 13, 2009

Zenyatta wins Breeders' Cup Classic to make history


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Champion mare Zenyatta came from last to win the 26th running of the Breeders' Cup Classic to conclude the two-day $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.

Undefeated in 14 career starts, Zenyatta was taking on male horses for the first time in the 1 1/4 mile climactic race. Zenyatta won last year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on her way to becoming 2008 champion older female.

She was entered in the Classic this year in an effort to have her voted 2009 Horse of the Year. Three-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra did not run in the Breeders' Cup races because of Santa Anita's synthetic track.

The start of the Classic was delayed when Florida Derby winner Quality Road refused to go into the starting gate and then became very agitated once he was loaded. The colt was scratched from the race leaving a field of 12 to compete.

Regal Ransom set the pace with Rip Van Winkle in second while Zenyatta was racing last. Around the final turn jockey Mike Smith moved Zenyatta off the rail and into the middle of the track. The mare was six wide down the stretch.

Zenyatta, trained by John Shirreffs, recorded a one-length victory over Arlington Million winner Gio Ponti with Twice Over finishing third.

"There are tears coming to my eyes," Shirreffs said immediately following the win. "I can't believe it. She is a great, great filly. She is all heart. The way the crowd took to her was just amazing. They cheered for her, they clapped for her, they love her. What a wonderful relationship."

Belmont Stakes champ Summer Bird was fourth followed by Colonel John, Richard's Kid, Awesome Gem, Regal Ransom, Mine That Bird, Rip Van Winkle, Einstein and Girolamo.

The time for the Classic was 2:00.62.

Zenyatta, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, pockets $2.7 million with the historic victory. The Eclipse Award winner now has lifetime earnings of more than $4.4 million.

Zenyatta, the 5-2 favorite, returned $7.60, $5.60 and $3.80. Gio Ponti paid $9.20 and $6.60, Twice Over paid $7.00 to show.

In the first Breeders' Cup event of the day, post-time favorite Pounced rallied down the stretch to capture the $1 million Juvenile Turf.

Setting the pace in the one-mile turf event was Bridgetown with Becky's Kitten, Interactif and King Ledley close behind. Racing in the second flight of horses was Pounced and jockey Frankie Dettori.

Around the turn for home Bridgetown still had the lead as the field began to draw closer to the front. At the top of the stretch the leader was joined by Interactif on the outside with Pounced charging on the inside.

Pounced hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Bridgetown with Interactif in third and Awesome Act finishing fourth in the 12 horse field.

Rounding out the order of finish was Buzzword, Dean's Kitten, Gallant Gent, Viscount Nelson, Becky's Kitten, King Ledley, Zip Quik and Codoy.

The time for the mile was 1:35.47 on a firm turf course.

Pounced was making just his fourth career start for owner Lady Serena Rothschild and trainer John Gosden. The win was worth $540,000 to bring the colt's earnings to $668,454. The two-year-old has won two of his four starts.

Pounced returned $6.80, $4.80 and $3.20. Bridgetown paid $6.60 and $4.20, and Interactif paid $3.20 to show.

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker informed the Breeders' Cup racing office Friday morning that they would withdraw Kera's Kitten from the Juvenile Turf to allow their Dean's Kitten to draw in off the also-eligible list.

California Flag, ridden by Joe Talamo, led the entire way to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The time for the 6 1/2-furlongs was 1:11.28 on a firm course.

Trained by Brian Koriner, California Flag was the 3-1 favorite in the 14 horse field. The gray gelding was first out of the starting gate and never was headed in the second running of the event.

California Flag, 10th in last year's race, posted a 1 3/4-length victory over Gotta Have Her with Cannonball third and Desert Storm fourth. Completing the order of finish was Canadian Ballet, Silver Timber, Noble Court, El Gato Malo, Get Funky, Square Eddie, Diamondrella, Lord Shanakill, 2008 winner Desert Code and Strike the Deal.

"It was great. He made the lead pretty easily," said Talamo, "and going right until about the three-eighths pole, I was pretty confident. He had so much in reserve coming down the stretch and really kicked it in the last part."

Owned by Hi Card Ranch, California Flag adds $540,000 to his earnings, which now total $962,996. The five-year-old has a career record of eight wins in 16 starts.

California Flag paid $8.80, $5.60 and $3.80. Gotta Have Her returned $8.80 and $5.60, and Cannonball paid $4.80 to show.

Dancing in Silks prevailed in a blanket finish to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint. Ridden by Joel Rosario, the 25-1 longshot covered the six-furlongs in 1:08.14 on the synthetic track.

Cost of Freedom with Tyler Baze set the pace in the Sprint with 2008 runner-up Fatal Bullet in second and 9-5 favorite Zensational racing in third. At the top of the stretch Cost of Freedom was joined on the lead by Dancing in Silks and Gayego. Coming along the inside late was Crown of Thorns.

All four horses hit the wire virtually together. The win-photo showed that Dancing in Silks got his nose at the wire first followed by Crown of Thorns, Cost of Freedom and Gayego. Zensational finished fifth followed by Fatal Bullet, Fleeting Spirit, Capt. Candyman Can and Join in the Dance.

Dancing in Silks is owned by Ken Kinakin and trained by Carla Gaines. The four-year-old gelding collects $1 million for the victory to bring his career earnings to $1.4 million. The Sprint is his fourth straight win and seventh in 13 lifetime starts.

"The way the post positions set up, we were able to sit off the pace and make our run," noted the winning trainer. "The racing gods were smiling upon us today. Joel (Rosario) has ridden him in all but one race and I thought before the race, that's nice, I don't have to give Joel any instructions."

Dancing in Silks returned $52.60, $19.20 and $12.00. Crown of Thorns paid $13.20 and $8.60, and Cost of Freedom paid $9.20 to show.

European runner Vale of York made a late rush down the stretch to capture Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The winner of the Juvenile is usually made the early Kentucky Derby favorite.

Ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, Vale of York stalked the pace that was set by Piscitelli. Piscitelli was tracked in the 1 1/16 mile race by D'Funnybone, Noble's Promise and Vale of York.

At the top of the stretch Noble's Promise had the lead followed by Piscitelli and Vale of York in the 13 horse field. Down the stretch all three horses battled and were joined by Lookin At Lucky.

Vale of York, a 30-1 longshot, posted a head victory over Lookin At Lucky followed by Noble's Promise and Piscitelli. Rounding out the finish was Aikenite, Beethoven, Radiohead), William's Kitten, Eskendereya, Alfred Nobel, Pulsion, Aspire and D' Funnybone.

The time for the Juvenile was 1:43.48 on Santa Anita's synthetic track.

Vale of York is owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Saeed bin Suroor. The $1 million winner's check brings the two-year-old colt's earnings to $1.2 million. This was the third win for Vale of York in six starts.

"He ran a huge race. I fancied the horse before the race," said bin Suroor. "He was improving all the time. He ran a big race last time when he finished second in a Group One (Gran Criterium) in Italy. Every time he's come for a race he's handled everything really well. He's a tough horse, and next year we'll bring him for the Kentucky Derby."

Vale Of York paid $63.20, $24.40 and $12.40. Lookin At Lucky returned $4.40 and $3.00, Noble's Promise paid $4.60 to show.

Defending champ Goldikova, ridden by Olivier Peslier, rallied down the stretch to capture the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile for the second straight year. Goldikova joins Miesque and Lure as back-to-back winners of the Mile.

Goldikova was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the 11 horse field, breaking from the far outside post. Last year the filly was the 9-5 favorite in the race.

Setting the pace on the firm turf course was Gladiatorus followed by Cowboy Cal, Whatsthescript and Karelian. Around the final turn Cowboy Cal had the lead with Gladiatorus right behind.

At the top of the stretch Courageous Cat assumed the lead as Goldikova came charging down the middle of the course. The favorite nailed the lead late down the stretch and posted a half-length victory over Courageous Cat.

Justenuffhumor was third and Court Vision finished fourth followed by Delegator, Karelian, Ferneley, Whatsthescript, Gladiatorus, Cowboy Cal and Zacinto.

The time for the Mile was 1:32.26.

Da Hoss won the Mile in 1996 and 1998.

Trained by Freddie Head, Goldikova picks up $1 million with the victory to bring her career earnings to more than $4 million. The filly has won 10 of 15 career starts with Peslier the only rider she has ever had.

"I was confident she would win when she came with her run into the stretch," noted the trainer. "It looked like she stopped a little, but Olivier smacked her 200 yards out for her last burst. She was a little keyed up going to the gate but quieter than usual. She's very special."

Freddie Head won back-to-back Miles as jockey aboard Miesque (1987-88). Head has accounted for four Mile victories with two fillies.

Goldikova returned $4.80, $4.00 and $2.60. Courageous Cat paid $12.80 and $8.00, and Justenuffhumor paid $8.00 to show.

Furthest Land, ridden by Julien Leparoux, rushed past Midshipman down the stretch to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. The victory was the third of the weekend for Leparoux in the Breeders' Cup.

Furthest Land, starting from post two, broke well from the gate and was among the leaders as the field entered the first turn. Setting the pace was 2008 Juvenile champ Midshipman followed closely by Neko Bay, Mr. Sidney and Furthest Land.

At the top of the stretch Midshipman still had the lead with Mr. Sidney and Neko Bay drawing closer. Down the stretch the leader began to tire as the rest of the field drew closer to the pace.

Furthest Land, who had been racing along the rail, was moved to the center of the track down the stretch and hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Ready's Echo followed by Midshipman and 7-5 favorite Mastercraftsman.

"I sat on the rail right behind the leader (Midshipman)," Leparoux said. "It opened up at the quarter-pole. I found room to strike, and that was it. He always runs big on synthetics. It was not an easy win to have, but he ran big."

Completing the order of finish was Mambo Meister, Neko Bay, Mr. Sidney, Chocolate Candy, Bullsbay and Pyro.

The time for the mile on Santa Anita's synthetic track was 1:35.50.

Furthest Land, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won for the eighth time in 16 career starts. The $540,000 for the victory increases his lifetime earnings to $869,680. Trained by Mike Maker, the four-year-old gelding is perfect in three career starts on artificial tracks.

Furthest Land paid $44.60, $18.40 and $9.60. Ready's Echo returned $18.20 and $9.40, and Midshipman paid $4.20 to show.

Odds-on favorite Conduit successfully defended his crown in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf. The four-year-old colt covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.75 on a firm course.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Conduit was making his second career start in North America and became the second horse to win the Turf in consecutive runnings. High Chaparral won in 2002 and dead-heated in 2003 with Johar.

As expected, Presious Passion set the pace and led the field all the way around the final turn and into the stretch. Conduit drew even with 100-yards to go and went on win by a half-length over the pacesetter.

"I was stuck behind a lot of horses early but that didn't worry me," Moore said. "I got a nice spot down the backside and I went inside to move up. Last year went about as planned but this year wasn't according to plan. I knew I was going to get there."

Finishing third in the seven-horse field was Dar Re Mi, with Spanish Moon in fourth followed by Red Rocks, Monzante and Telling.

Four-year-old Allegre was scratched from the Turf on Friday when trainer Brian Koriner found an abscess in the colt's right front foot.

Conduit is owned by Ballymacoll Stud Farm and trained by Sir Michael Stoute. For the second straight year the colt picks up $1.6 million for the victory. He has won seven of 14 career starts for better than $5.3 million.

"It's always a big day for the world championship," noted the winning trainer. "It's a very important race and it was great to see him go and do it two in a row. We're also pleased with the fourth horse Spanish Moon."

Stoute also trains Spanish Moon.

Conduit returned $3.80, $3.00 and $2.20. Presious Passion paid $5.00 and $3.80, and Dar Re Mi paid $3.00 to show.

It was announced that attendance for Breeders' Cup Championship Friday at Santa Anita Park increased by 20 percent over last year as 37, 651 were on hand for the nine-race card that included six Breeders' Cup races. Attendance on Championship Friday in 2008 was 31,257.

Churchill Downs will host the 2010 Breeders' Cup World Championships.

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