ARCADIA, Calif. -- Zenyatta capped off a perfect season and likely put herself in position for a bid at the Horse of the Year title after exploding to a convincing 1 1/2-length triumph over Cocoa Beach in the $2 million Ladies' Classic on Friday at Santa Anita. The victory was the second on Friday's Breeders' Cup program for jockey Mike Smith, who earlier won the Juvenile Fillies aboard Stardom Bound.
Zenyatta, last for more than six furlongs, circled widest while rallying into the stretch, readily overtook the tiring leaders just inside the eighth pole, then easily withstood a final surge from the rail-skimming Cocoa Beach. The latter finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of stablemate Music Note for second.
The victory was the seventh this season for Zenyatta and the ninth in as many starts during her amazing career. A daughter of Street Cry, Zenyatta is trained by John Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss. She paid $3 after covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.85 over the Pro-Ride surface.
Forever Together rallies wide to win FM Turf
ARCADIA, Calif. - Forever Together capped off a tremendous season with an improbable late-running victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, rallying wide in the stretch under Julien Leparoux to win the $2 million race by three-quarters of a length over longshot Sealy Hill.
Even though Frankie Dettori sent Folk Opera up to the early lead, the BC Filly and Mare Turf turned paceless, with Folk Opera leading through fractions of 25.48 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 50.02 for the half, with favored Halfway to Heaven waiting in second. Leparoux seemed content to wait in the back half of the field with Forever Together, and why not? The Jonathan Sheppard-trained filly has a blazing late kick, and she showed it again Friday.
Wait a While moved three-wide on the far turn, forcing Halfway to Heaven to engage Folk Opera, and there came Visit sneaking through on the rail. But way out in the center of the track, Forever Together just had found her best stride, and she whooshed past in the final yards.
Owned by Augustin Stable, Forever Together now has won 7 of 13 races, and gave Sheppard his first Breeders' Cup win. She paid $11.80 to win, and was timed in 2:01.58 for 1 1/4 miles. Wait a While held on for third.
- Marcus Hersh
Stardom Bound impressive in Juvenile Fillies
ARCADIA, Calif. - Stardom Bound all but sewed up a division title after rallying from near the rear of the pack to defeat the late-running Dream Empress by 1 1/2 lengths in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. The previously undefeated Sky Diva finished another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
Stardom Bound, a daughter of Tapit, is owned by Charles Cono and trained by Christopher Paasch, both of whom are planning to retire from the business by next spring. Stardom Bound is scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton select sale of racing stock at Keeneland on Nov. 2.
Stardom Bound, who had captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf in her previous two starts, ran 1 1/16 miles over the Pro-Ride track in 1:40.99 and returned $5.20 as the favorite in a field of 13 2-year-old fillies. She was ridden to victory by Mike Smith, who will also be aboard the heavily favored Zenyatta in the Ladies' Classic later this afternoon.
- Mike Welsch
Maram noses out Heart Shaped
ARCADIA, Calif. - One race after his mentor, Bobby Frankel, won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, trainer Chad Brown picked up his first Breeders' Cup victory when Maram held off Heart Shaped to win the inaugural $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf by a nose at Santa Anita Park.
It was one length back to Laragh, the 5-2 favorite, who held third after setting the early pace.
Brown, 31, went out on his own the day after last year's Breeders' Cup, in which he saddled Ginger Punch to victory in the Distaff for Frankel.
It was the third victory in as many starts for Maram, a daughter of Sahm owned by Karen Woods and Saud bin Khaled. Maram, ridden by Jose Lezcano, ran one mile in 1:35.15 and returned $24.20.
- Jay Privman
Ventura takes Filly and Mare Sprint with huge move
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Ventura got the 2008 Breeders' Cup off to a rousing start, circling the field into the stretch before drawing away from 9-5 favorite Indian Blessing en route to a decisive four-length victory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Ventura's final time of 1:19.90 came within 0.01 second of Indian Blessing's seven-furlong track record.
Ventura, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Chester House trained by Bobby Frankel for Juddmonte Farms, paid $7.60.
Ventura broke a step slowly and raced well off the pace of Dearest Trickski down the backstretch, commenced her bid upon entering the turn, and was full of run while swinging wide turning into the stretch. Then she readily overtook Indian Blessing to win going away. Indian Blessing was easily second-best, with Zaftig rallying mildly to finish third.
- Mike Welsch