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Obviously hangs on for Turf Sprint success

167   //    06 Nov 2016, 17:16 IST

Obviously made most to claim the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in a thrilling finish from Om at Santa Anita.

Flavien Prat's mount desperately needed the line and it came just in time as Gary Stevens ate up the ground on the runner-up, in a race run in a blistering time.

Hugo Palmer's Home Of The Brave showed up well through the early stages for James Doyle but after a brief moment of hope, the writing was on the wall approaching the business end, while Aidan O'Brien's Washington DC was not disgraced but never able to get in a serious blow.

Winning trainer Philip D'Amato said of his eight-year-old gelding: "He gave him a great ride - picture perfect - and this is extra special. He's a horse I shared with my late mentor Mike Mitchell and this is like a win for both of us.

"He's a barn favourite and if ever a horse deserved it, it's him. He's just a warrior.

"It's my first Breeders' Cup win and it makes it all the more special."

O'Brien said of Washington DC: "Ryan (Moore) says he is a five-furlong horse, and that he didn't get the six and a half round here, so we will go back to the minimum trip with him next season."

Palmer said of his Godolphin-owned colt: "I thought James gave him a beautiful ride, and there was just a moment when he angled out when I thought he was going to do something.

"But I think now we will look for a change in distance and run him over a mile next year."


Champagne Room ran out an upset winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Only fourth in the Chandelier Stakes over course and distance last month, Kentucky Derby-winning rider Mario Gutierrez soon had his filly on the heels of Noted And Quoted, who finished well in front of the winner last time out.

Favourite American Gal loomed up rounding the final turn as if poised to make a major challenge, but the front two motored on and when Champagne Room kicked, she went a couple of lengths clear.

In what was a rough race early on, Valadorna finished to some effect, but the line came in time for the Peter Eurton-trained Champagne Room.

Gutierrez, striking at the Breeders' Cup for the second time after Nyquist last year, said: "I had a perfect trip, I think it helps that I know her pretty well.

"Peter has done a great job with her and I'm working really hard to put my name up at the top with the best riders. It means a lot to me, I can't tell you how happy I am.

"I always thought she was a filly who would go two turns and thank goodness she demonstrated that today."

Drefong produced a blistering display of speed to prevail in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Bob Baffert's three-year-old led with Masochistic in close attendance, but pulled out more in the final furlong to score in the hands of Martin Garcia.

Baffert said: "Coming into this race I could see he was peaking, when I saw him in the paddock I knew today was the day if he was going to get it done. Turning in I thought he was going to be second, I have a lot of respect for Masochistic. What a fight down the stretch."

On a night of close finishes, Classic Empire held off Not This Time in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Another winner to race on the speed, Julien Leparoux looked to have lots of horse underneath him when he pressed the button, but Not This Time gave everything for Robby Albarado.

The pair finished miles clear and bar a blip when unseating Irad Ortiz shortly after the start at Saratoga in September, the Mark Casse-trained victor is unbeaten.

Casse said: "He is a good horse, a really good horse. I thought it was going to be easy when they straightened up, but as they said all along these were the two colts everyone had on their radar. He has to be as good as any two-year-old I have ever trained."

Finest City gave young trainer Ian Kruljac a first Breeders' Cup winner with his first runner as she took the Filly & Mare Sprint in the hands of veteran Mike Smith, who was winning his 24th race at the showpiece fixture.

Smith said: "This is Ian's first big one, he just started training a little over a year ago and wow, he's won the Breeders' Cup. I'm so proud to do it for Ian."

Kruljac, 28, said: "Mike gave her a great ride and she was good enough to keep going. My filly is all heart and she's versatile, I'm so happy for her on a big stage like this. It's not only about me, my dad bought the horse and it's a team sport, all of us deserve it."

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Source: At The Races

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