Ex-claimer wins Dirt Mile

Updated: November 7, 2009, 9:53 PM ET
By David Grening | Daily Racing Form



ARCADIA, Calif. -- After striking out with all his Kitten-named horses for two days, owner Ken Ramsey's former claimer Furthest Land proved to be the big dog in the $1 million Dirt Mile on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Furthest Land, claimed by Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker for $35,000 in October 2008 at Belmont Park, ran down Midshipman in the final 30 yards and held off Ready's Echo to win the Dirt Mile by three-quarters of a length under Julien Leparoux. Ready's Echo finished a head in front of Midshipman. It was another three-quarters back to Mastercraftsman, the 7-5 favorite, in fourth.

The win was the first in a Breeders' Cup race for Ramsey, who had three seconds and three thirds, including a third earlier in the day with Cannonball in the Turf Sprint. Ramsey had no success with Dean's Kitten or Becky's Kitten, sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Juvenile Turf, or Lisa's Kitten, 10th in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, or William's Kitten, eighth in the Juvenile.

"This checks one of those things off my bucket list," said Ramsey, who owns Furthest Land with his wife, Sarah. "I thought Cannonball was my best chance, but he didn't come through. But the ex-claimer did. It's a shame he's a gelding. Maybe we'll turn him into a Kelso or a Forego and he'll last a long time."

As expected, Midshipman, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, got loose on the lead under Garrett Gomez through easy fractions of 23.97 seconds for the quarter, 47.47 for the half-mile, and 1:11.08 for six furlongs. Midshipman came into the stretch with the lead, while Leparoux, who had Furthest Land saving ground along the rail, moved his horse off the rail in upper stretch. He collared Midshipman 50 yards out and beat Ready's Echo to the wire. Furthest Land covered the mile over Pro-Ride in 1:35.50 and returned $44.60.

"I knew I got Midshipman, I was just worried if somebody was coming from behind," said Leparoux, who won his third Breeders' Cup race over two days. "He ran a big race. He kept on going all the way."

Manoel Cruz, the jockey of fifth-place finisher Mambo Meister, claimed foul against Ready's Echo and Calvin Borel for interference in the stretch, but the stewards disallowed it. According to trainer Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Ready's Echo, Borel told him Ready's Echo got bumped by Mambo Meister and Borel felt it cost him the race.

Midshipman was attempting to become the first horse to win two different Breeder' Cup races. He had run just once since winning last year's Juvenile here, in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer at Belmont in September. Gomez said he had hoped to get Midshipman to relax more than he did, but the horse just weakened late.

"Inside the eighth pole, he started to kind of level off, and they kept coming at him and kept coming at him, and they just prevailed today," Gomez said.

Mastercraftsman raced in midpack early under John Murtagh and didn't have clear running room until upper stretch.

"He's a big galloping horse and he was in tight," Murtagh said. "I would have liked to have been out at the three-eighths pole, but there was no place to go."