ARCADIA, Calif. -- Conduit took down his second consecutive $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf title on Saturday, but not before Presious Passion nearly stole the race with an exceptional runaway, front-running effort.
Ryan Moore let Conduit dally at the back of the seven-runner field as Presious Passion, as is his wont, dashed to a 12-length lead after sprinting clear on the downhill early portion of the race. Conduit's Michael Stoute-trained stablemate Spanish Moon was closest to Presious Passion.
Conduit was moved a bit closer into fifth past the stands the first time, but Presious Passion maintained his huge advantage until appearing to shorten stride approaching the far turn. Or was the canny Elvis Trujillo merely giving him a breather?
Spanish Moon, Dar Re Mi, and Conduit moved as a team, nipping at the leader's heels entering the stretch, at which point Presious Passion found another gear. Dar Re Mi and Spanish Moon were soon outpaced, and the race was on between the 4-5 favorite Conduit and the 5-1 Presious Passion. Conduit's superior stamina ultimately carried the day. A son of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dalakhani out of a mare by Sadler's Wells, Conduit took the lead just inside the sixteenth pole to earn a half-length victory, getting 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.75. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Andrew Lloyd Webber's filly Dar Re Mi, with Spanish Moon fourth, beaten a total of three lengths.
In following close on the heels of Goldikova's second straight triumph in the Mile, Conduit was giving European-trained horses their sixth Cup victory this year, one more than the record five they had achieved last year at Santa Anita. Given their relative form, Conduit looked like he should have been a handy winner, and while he becomes the first Turf repeater since High Chaparral turned the trick in 2002-2003, this Turf will be remembered as much for the gallant effort of Presious Passion, his rider Trujillo and trainer Mary Hartmann.
Conduit had won Europe's second best 12-furlong race, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, in July, after which he finished a very good fourth in the Arc off a 10-week layoff. Stoute had him perfectly primed for this.
"It's always a big day for the world championships," Stout said. "It was great to see him go and do it two in a row. We're also pleased with the fourth horse Spanish Moon."
Trujillo was magnanimous in defeat.
"Presious Passion didn't want to relax," he said. "The first part was a little fast. He fights. Doesn't matter how fast we go. The last quarter he'll fight everybody. When Conduit came to me, I thought I was going to win. The other horse just got past me in the last sixteenth."
BREEDERS' CUP TURF RESULTS
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, November 7