“Ladies’ Day” at Santa Anita was exactly what the organizers of the Breeders’ Cup wanted. The two stars of the day, Zenyatta and Stardom Bound, were as advertised, romping to victory in the Ladies’ Classic and the Juvenile Fillies, respectively.
Zenyatta runs away with the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic
The undefeated Zenyatta triumphed in the Ladies’ Classic (formerly the Distaff) to remain perfect on the year and run her lifetime record to 9 for 9. The 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry spent much of the early going in last place, but by the 1/2 mile pole, every one else was running for place and show. She hit the wire in 1:46.85 – 2nd fastest time in Ladies’ Classic (Distaff) history according to Randy Moss during the ESPN broadcast.
If anything goes wrong for Curlin tomorrow, we may have just seen the Horse of the Year. She was brilliant, breathtaking – everything we could’ve hoped for. Thoroughbred racing’s first lady is as advertised. Fans should be excited then to learn that the plan seems to be to keep her in racing next year for a 5-year-old campaign. Jockey Michael Smith rode her beautifully and capped off a huge day for him.
Stardom Bound crushes the competition to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
In the other action in the day, Stardom Bound proved she was tops of the 2-year-old filliy division by destroying the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile FIllies. The grey looked unstoppable as she exploded down the stretch. They call this gal “Zenyatta Jr.” and it’s easy to see why. Once again it was Michael Smith aboard as the filly had to overcome being pinched slightly at the start. Dream Empress ran on for 2nd, with Sky Diva grabbing show. Zenyatta Jr. indeed. She’s a superstar alright.
Ventura gets the party started with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
The day got started with Ventura upsetting Indian Blessing in the Filly & Mare Sprint. Indian Blessing ran a big one, but Ventura simply ran right by her in the stretch. Ventura hit the wire in 1:19.90, missing a record Breeders’ Cup record for 7 furlongs by 1/100 of a second. Zaftig ran on for show with Miraculous Miss rounding out the superfecta. Ventura had been noted on TVG as the “wiseguy” play of the race.
Maram pulls the upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Laragh got out to an easy early lead, as expected. However, Laragh seemed to have burned herself out a bit after going 45 and change through 4 furlongs early on. In mid stretch, Maram and Heart Shaped put in their bids and motored for home. Maram got first jump on Heart Shaped, and in the end that was enough to get her nose down on the wire first. It was a thrilling finish that provided a feel-good moment in the day, as Maram’strainer Chad Brown expressed his emotions concerning the passing of his grandfather, whose funeral he missed to be at Santa Anita today.
Forever Together grinds out the win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
In the Filly & Mare Turf it was Forever Together’s turn to reach the winner’s circle. Forever Together is now infamous as being the “Guinness horse” since trainer Jonathan Sheppard revealed that he places a pint of Guinness in her daily feed. The move is supposed to be to help keep her sweating healthily. Whatever it is, it worked, and it’s gotta be the Guinness! The folks at Guinness should capitalize on that form a marketing standpoint. They’ve helped create a champion! Longshot Sealy HIll got up for place which prompted a break-the-bank $27,010.20 superfecta along with Wait a While and Visit. At one point it looked like Visit was going to try and run away with it, but Forever Together got it done when it counted.
Up next is Championship Saturday featuring 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin. It ought to be a smashing day, and if Friday was any indication the track is playing extremely fair and the best horses seem to be winning. Hats off to Zenyatta for delivering in her big day. Hopefully the world finally got a good look on national television at the best filly in North America. It may be up to Curlin now to win the Classic if he wishes to defend as Horse of the Year for 2008. Zenyatta has risen to the challenge. Will Curlin take his turn in the spotlight tomorrow?