Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate ($5.40) ran down odds-on favorite California Chrome in deep stretch to win the 33rd running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by a half-length Saturday afternoon before a Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup record crowd of 72,811.
The previous Santa Anita record was set in 1986, the first time the track hosted the event, of 69,155. Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders’ Cup nine times.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Arrogate covered the mile and a quarter on a fast main track in 2:00.11. It was the fifth consecutive victory for Arrogate, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Unbridled’s Song.
It was the fifth Breeders’ Cup victory for Juddmonte and first in the Classic.
The victory gave Baffert a third consecutive triumph in the Classic, an unprecedented achievement at the World Championships. Now a winner of 14 Breeders’ Cup races, Baffert won the 2014 Classic with Bayern and last year’s running with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Smith, who won three races this weekend to boost his World Championships total to a record 25, won the Classic for the fourth time. Smith’s other Classic wins came on Skip Away in 1997, Zenyatta in 2009 and Drosselmeyer in 2011.
California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took the lead out of the gate and raced on an unchallenged lead through fractions of 23 1/5, 47 and 1:10 4/5. Smith had Arrogate in the clear outside of horses on the run down the backside and began moving at the leaders on the far turn.
On the turn, Arrogate cut to the inside of Melatonin, who had been tracking California Chrome, and then shifted to the outside to take dead aim at California Chrome.
California Chrome still maintained a daylight advantage in the upper stretch, but Arrogate closed steadily to pull away late.
What was billed as a classic showdown turned out to be an epic battle of wills as the 6-year-old, 3-time champion mare Beholder outdueled the previously unbeaten 3-year-old superstar Songbird in a spellbinding stretch duel to capture the Longines Distaff by a slim nose.
Side-by-side from the top of the stretch until the wire, it was a final lunge by Beholder that handed Songbird her first defeat after 11 straight wins and turned Beholder into a 3-time Breeders’ Cup winner in the final start of a spectacular career in which she won 18 of 26 starts. The final time for the Distaff was 1:49.20.
“I’ve been in battles, but never one that lasted for the length of the stretch. It was a quarter of a mile street fight,” winning jockey Gary Stevens said. “This race was worth the price of admission. It was horse racing at its best.”
Spendthrift Farms’ Beholder went off as the 3-1 third choice in a field of eight and paid $8.60 to win.
Said trainer Richard Mandella: “I don’t know what I did to deserve her.”
Forever Unbridled was third, 1 ¼ lengths behind Fox Hill Farms’ Songbird, the 6-5 favorite, and Stellar Wind, the 5-2 second choice, was fourth.
Beholder was bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm.
WinStar Farm, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s Tourist ($26.80) held off a late charge from defending champion Tepin by a half-length to win the 33rd running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario, Tourist covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:31.71, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan at Santa Anita in 2013.
It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for the winning partnership, the ninth for Mott and fifth for Rosario and the first in the race for the trainer and rider.
Tourist, a 5-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, was making his third start in the Mile having finished eighth last year at Keeneland and 13th in the 2013 Championships at Santa Anita.
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
Seltzer Thoroughbreds’ Finest City ($19.40) fought off a late bid by defending race champion Wavell Avenue by three-quarters of a length to win the 10th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Ian Kruljac and ridden by Mike Smith, Finest City covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:22.37. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Kruljac and the 24th for Smith, the all-time winningest rider in World Championships history.
For Smith, it was his second victory of these Championships and second in the Filly & Mare Sprint, having won in 2014 with Judy the Beauty.
Finest City is a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of City Zip who was winning for the first time in six starts on the main track at Santa Anita.
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s Obviously ($9.60) became the first favorite to win at the 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships, taking the lead shortly out of the gate and then holding off Om by a nose to win the ninth running of the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Flavien Prat, Obviously covered the 6 ½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:11.33. It was the first Breeders’ Cup victory for D’Amato and Prat.
For the 8-year-old Irish-bred Obviously, who was making his fifth Breeders’ Cup start, it was his first taste of success after finishing third, fifth twice and ninth in the past four runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile after setting the pace in all four races.
Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Highland Reel went to the front shortly after the break, opened a huge lead on the run down the backstretch and had more than enough to hold off favored Flintshire by 1 ¾ lengths to win the 33rd running of the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Seamus Heffernan, Highland Reel covered the mile and a half on a firm turf course in 2:23.00. Defending champion Found finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in third.
It was the seventh victory for the partnership of owners in the World Championships and third in the Turf with the other wins coming with Found last year and St Nicholas Abbey in 2011.
It is Heffernan’s first Breeders’ Cup win and the 11th for O’Brien with six of them coming in the Turf.
O’Brien’s other Turf winners are High Chapparal (2002-03), St Nicholas Abbey, Magician (2013) and Found.
SENTIENT JET JUVENILE
John Oxley’s Classic Empire ($11) disposed of Syndergaard at the head of the stretch and then held off a bid from favored Not This Time by a neck to win the 33rd running of the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) for 2-year-olds on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Classic Empire covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:42.60. A Kentucky-bred son of Pioneerof the Nile, Classic Empire has won four of five starts with the lone blemish coming in the Hopeful when he wheeled at the start of the race and lost his rider.
The victory was the second World Championships triumph for Oxley, whose Beautiful Pleasure won the 1999 Distaff at Gulfstream Park. It was the third Breeders’ Cup win for Casse and seventh for Leparoux and first in the Juvenile for both.
Baoma Corporation’s Drefong ($9.80) put away favored Masochistic in deep stretch to win the 33rd running of the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by 1 ¼ lengths on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, Drefong covered the six furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.79.
The Sprint victory was the fifth for Baffert, who has 13 World Championships victories overall. His other Sprint winners were Thirty Slews in 1992, Midnight Lute in 2007 and 2008 and Secret Circle in 2013.
It was the second Sprint victory for Garcia, who was aboard Secret Circle in 2013, and fourth overall.
Now a winner of five consecutive races, Drefong is a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Gio Ponti.
FILLY & MARE TURF
Cheveley Park Stud’s Queen’s Trust ($18) caught favored Lady Eli right at the finish line to win the 17th running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) by a nose Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
A 3-year-old daughter of Dansili, Queen’s Trust completed the 1 ¼ miles on firm turf in 1:57.75, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 1:58.73 established by Dank in 2013 at Santa Anita.
Queen’s Trust is trained by Sir Michael Stoute and was ridden by Frankie Dettori.
The victory was the seventh for Stoute in the World Championships and third in the Filly & Mare Turf. His other victories came with Islington in 2003 and Dank in 2013, both at Santa Anita.
For Dettori, it was his 12th Breeders’ Cup victory and second in the Filly & Mare Turf with his other triumph coming with Ouija Board in 2006.
Ciglia Racing, Exline-Border, Gulliver Racing, Sharon Alesia et al’s Champagne Room ($69.20) blew past early pacesetter Noted and Quoted at the head of the stretch and then held off a late bid from Valadorna by three-quarters of a length to win the 33rd running of the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), the first of nine World Championships races Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Peter Eurton and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Champagne Room covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:45.12. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Eurton and second for Gutierrez, who won last year’s Juvenile on Nyquist.
It was the second victory in five starts for the Kentucky-bred daughter of Broken Vow.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
E Five Racing Thoroughbreds New Money Honey ($15) collared pacesetting Lull at the sixteenth pole and held off late bids from Coasted and Cavale Doree to win the ninth running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) for 2-year-old fillies by a half-length on Friday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, New Money Honey covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:34.01.
It marked the third victory in the race for Brown, who had previously triumphed with Maram in 2008 and Lady Eli in 2014. It is Brown’s eighth Breeders’ Cup victory.
For Castellano, it was his seventh Breeders’ Cup victory and first in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
New Money Honey, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, has won two of three career starts.
Shadwell Stables’ Tamarkuz ($25.80) rolled past Gun Runner in midstretch and drew off to win the 10th running of the $1 million Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by 3 1/2 lengths Friday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Mike Smith, Tamarkuz covered the mile on a fast track in 1:35.72. For Smith, the winningest rider in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, it was his 23rd victory and first in the Dirt Mile.
For Shadwell and McLaughlin, it was their third Breeders’ Cup victory as a team, with other triumphs coming in the 2006 Classic at Churchill Downs with Invasor and the 2007 Filly & Mare Turf at Monmouth Park with Lahudood.
Gun Runner finished a neck in from of Accelerate, who rallied for third to finish a half-length in front of odds-on favorite Dortmund.
The Amerman Racing Stables’ Oscar Performance ($15.20) took command at the head of the stretch and went on to win the 10th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) by 1 ¼ lengths over Lancaster Bomber to kick off the 33rd Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Brian Lynch and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Oscar Performance covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:33.28. It was the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Lynch and Ortiz and the second for the Amerman Racing Stable, which won the 2003 Distaff with Adoration.