Euros and Americans share glory on Breeders' Cup Turf

The field heads out of the chute at the start of the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf, during the 34th Breeders Cup World Championship at the Del Mar Racetrack, in Del Mar, Calif., on Saturday. Photo by Mark Abraham/UPI
The field heads out of the chute at the start of the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf, during the 34th Breeders Cup World Championship at the Del Mar Racetrack, in Del Mar, Calif., on Saturday. Photo by Mark Abraham/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- French-based Talismanic emerged from behind the early pace to win Saturday's $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf, the top grass event of day at Del Mar, over the top American runner, Beach Patrol.

Highland Reed, based in Ireland, finished third in a day when American and European runners shared the glory on the Southern California grass.


Talismanic, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt trained by Andre Fabre for Dubai-based Godolphin Racing, saved ground into the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile race with jockey Mickael Barzalona at the controls.

Turning into the stretch, he slipped through between Beach Patrol, who had inherited the lead, and Highland Reel, who shadowed the pace all the way. In a quick sprint to the wire, Talismanic prevailed by 1/2 length over Arlington Million and Turf Classic winner Beach Patrol and another neck from Highland Reel.

It was the third win of the season for Talismanic and the first at the Grade I level. He finished third in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy at Chantilly in France in his last start before the Breeders' Cup. The Turf also was Godolphin's second win of this edition of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, following Wuheida's triumph in the Filly & Mare Turf.


"We were a little worried before the race if we were fast enough for this track," said Barzelona, who won his first Breeders' Cup race.

"It's a dream come true for everybody," said Godolphin executive Joe Osborne. He said the prospect of firm ground and the fact his sire's progeny have done well in the United States all factored into the decision to bring Talismanic to Del Mar. He said no decision has been made about the colt's future although the win "opens up a lot of international options."

The race lost its morning-line favorite, top European turf runner Ulysses, to a minor fetlock injury the day before the race.

Filly & Mare Turf

Wuheida led home an all-European exacta in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, taking the advantage at mid-stretch and holding off Rhododendron in the final yards to win by 1 length. Cambodia was third. Wuheida, running in the Godolphin blue of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, finished 9 furlongs starting from the infield chute in 1:47.91 with William Buick at the controls.

The favorite, both on the tote board and in the hearts of many racing fans, Lady Eli, was squeezed early, raced in mid-pack and finished seventh. It was the worst showing for the courageous filly since she nearly died of an injury and hoof ailment two years ago.


Winning rider William Buick said of Wuheida: "She's an easy ride I was very happy throughout. I could really go wherever I wanted. It was just as case of don't get excited and go too soon."

Wuheida is a 3-year-old, British-bred filly by Dubawi. She came to the Breeders' Cup from a fourth-place finish in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera Longines on Arc day at Chantilly in France -- a race won by Rhododendron. Despite running well against top competition, the Filly & Mare Turf was only her third career victory and first of the year.

"I'd love to train her as a 4-year-old," said winning trainer Charlie Appleby. "For me, she can only get better as she gets older."


World Approval beat some of Europe's top milers in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, taking the lead as the field turned for home and holding on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over England-based Home of the Brave. Blackjackcat was third. World Approval, a 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding out of the Live Oak Plantation foundation mare Win Approval, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:34.55 with John Velazquez in the irons for trainer Mark Casse.


World Approval tracked the fast early pace into the backstretch, settled and moved quickly when asked. The light gray was not in serious danger after taking the lead in the lane.

He entered the Breeders' Cup race after convincing wins in the Grade I Fourstardave at Saratoga and the Grade I Woodbine Mile in Canada and the question was whether he'd be good enough to handle the top Europeans like Ribchester, previously out of the top three only once in 15 lifetime starts. Ribchester put in a good stretch run and finished fifth, beaten less than 1/2 length for second.

Winning trainer Mark Casse said a clean break was important for World Approval. "Once he got in the clear, he ran on." He said his concern was, "The Europeans were doing very well today so I knew we'd have to bring our A game."

"To win this race, you have to be a great horse," Casse said. "You can't train greatness. You just don't get in its way."

Asked if she would take World Approval to Royal Ascot to take on the Europeans on their home ground, Life Oak's owner, Charlotte Weber, said, "There's never a never."

"It's something to think about," Casse agreed.


Turf Sprint

Stormy Liberal edged stablemate Richard's Boy in a stunning upset in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint as the odds-on favorite, Lady Aurelia, was never in the mix and finished 10th while the British filly who defeated her in England in the summertime, Marsha, was sixth.

Stormy Liberal, a 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding, kicked into gear at the top of the short Del Mar Stretch and gradually wore down Richard's Boy, winning by a head. Disco Partner was third. Stormy Liberal, with Joel Rosario up, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.12 seconds. The top two are both owned by Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller.

"It looked like they were going really fast in front of me," Rosario said. "So I just saved some ground like Peter told me." Miller said Rosario gave Stormy Liberal "a perfect ride."

Miller, a previous champion trainer at Del Mar, won his first Breeders' Cup race. As they were coming down the stretch, he said, he was yelling, "Just one of you win! One of you win! Somebody win!"

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