The 33rd Breeders’ Cup saw records broken, winless runs ended, and undefeated years spoiled over 13 thrilling races, writes Daniel Gardre
Old girl Beholder tastes victory in swansong
Friday’s most anticipated race – the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff – did not disappoint the 45,673-strong crowd who witnessed a thrilling duel between six-year-old veteran Beholder and unbeaten young filly Songbird. The three-year-old set the pace from the front until the final straight, where Beholder pushed on to take the honours by barely a nose.
Queen’s Trust in record-breaking form
The second of Saturday’s nine races enthralled all watching as Queen’s Trust set a new race record time in a photo-finish win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Frankie Dettori was able to avoid being drawn into an unsustainable early sprint to find an outside lane and beat out Lady Eli by the slightest of margins. The four-year-old’s fairy-tale performance was stunning nonetheless when one considers she almost lost her life to laminitis just last year.
Obviously thwarts late thrust from Om in reversal of fortunes
At only six and a half furlongs long on grass, the Turf Sprint is always an exciting affair, and so it proved again. Obviously looked likely to cruise to victory until Om made a furious charge for the front. The gelding was just able to stave off Om’s attack and secure victory by a nose, marking a remarkable turnaround from the form that saw him win only one of his previous eight starts.
Hype around Classic Empire grows after impeccable run
Expectations grew even higher for Classic Empire on Saturday as the two-year-old colt produced an immaculate performance to secure victory over the aptly named Not This Time in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The victor of the 2015 edition of this race, Nyquist, went on to win the Kentucky Derby, so all eyes will be on Classic Empire in 2017.
Arrogate derails California Chrome’s perfect year
Three-year-old colt Arrogate was able to ignore the hysteria around California Chrome potentially completing the Kentucky Derby, Dubai World Cup, and Breeders’ Cup Classic triple to claim a fifth straight victory and tarnish his rival’s unbeaten year. With a quarter of a mile to go, California Chrome’s lead looked unassailable until Arrogate was let loose, finding the energy to burst past the favourite at the last and secure the much-coveted Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Godolphin has a silver lining in Frosted
Although the four Godolphin participants did not perform to the best of their ability at Santa Anita, there remains an air of positivity, particularly around Frosted. The four-year-old colt had enjoyed some good performances before the Breeders’ Cup Classic according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, especially in the G1Met Mile, finishing over 14 lengths in front of his rivals and completing the race in stakes-record time.