Future Stars Friday: Storm the Court pulls off BC Juvenile Upset; British Idiom takes Juvenile Fillies
By Ed McNamara
A huge upset in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) capped Future Stars Friday at the Breeders’ Cup, with 45-1 long shot Storm the Court holding off fellow long shot Anneau d’Or by a neck at Santa Anita Park.
The 1 1/16th-mile Juvenile for 2-year-olds was supposed to be a showdown between Dennis’ Moment and Eight Rings, but the race turned around at the start.
Dennis’ Moment, the 9-10 favorite trained by Dale Romans, stumbled badly at the start and was never in the race. Jockey Irad Oritz, Jr., said he eased the horse, who finished last in the field of eight, in the stretch.
Storm the Court stormed to the lead, with Eight Rings, the 3-2 second betting choice trained by Bob Baffert, close behind. The two dueled throughout much of the race, but when the field turned for home Anneau d’Or (28-1) under Juan Hernandez pulled just about even. That’s when Storm the Court dug in and held on for the narrow victory.
“When he’s on the lead, he never seems to want to give it up,’’ trainer Peter Eurton said.
The payoffs were gigantic. Storm the Court, ridden by Flavien Prat, returned $93.80, $24.80 and $12. Anneau d’Or paid $17.60 and $10.40, and third-place finisher Wrecking Crew returned $12.20. The exacta returned $976.40, the trifecta $3,930.50.
The win payout was the largest in Juvenile history – the previous record was after Vale of York won in 2009 at odds of 30-1 and returned $63.20 on a $2 win bet.
“I got to ride him the entire race today. I wanted to be on the lead today,’’ Prat said. “He relaxed for me nicely. I think the blinkers helped him a lot. He really battled all through the stretch. I always thought he was going to win.”
Scabbard was fourth, followed by Full Flat, Eight Rings, Shoplifted and Dennis’ Moment. Winning time was 1:44.93
Storm the Court, who finished third in the American Pharoah (G1) in his previous race, is now 2-for-3 for owners Exline-Border Racing, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock.
British Idiom ($7.40) came from mid-pack to challenge Donna Veloce at the top of the stretch and inched away in the final yards to win by a neck in the 36th running of the $2 million Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Kentucky-based Brad Cox trains the daughter of Flashback, who improved to 3-for-3 by going 1 1 1/16 miles in a sluggish 1:47.07 on a track that had been heavily favoring speed.
It was Cox’s second Breeders’ Cup win and the 11th for rider Javier Castellano. The time was an all-time worst. The previous negative record for a fast track came in 1991, when Pleasant Stage was clocked in 1:46.40 at Churchill Downs. In 1988, Open Mind won in 1:46.60 over a muddy surface at Churchill.
“We were fortunate to come out on top,” Cox said. “Javier rode a great race, because I’m not so sure she liked the racetrack. It looked to me like she was struggling a bit down the backside. I liked where we were, but it looked like Javier was kind of knuckling down on her.”
Donna Veloce, the 2-1 favorite, came in off only a maiden race, a 9 1/4-length runaway Sept. 28 at Santa Anita.
“She ran terrific,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “She didn’t win, but she ran a courageous race and you can’t ask for much more.”
Like mother, like daughter.
Nine years after her dam, Shared Account, won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at a huge price (46-1) for trainer Graham Motion, Sharing ($29.60) came up big for Motion in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Sharing surged to the front in upper stretch and drew away, holding off highly regarded English shipper Daahyeh by 1 1/4 lengths.
It was the first Cup win for rider Manny Franco and the fourth for Motion, all of them on the grass.
The Maryland-bred daughter of Speightstown saved ground in fifth before making her winning move. She ran a mile on firm ground in 1:34.59.
“Her mother was really the most special filly I’ve trained,” Motion said. “I mean I’ve had some really nice fillies, but she was really special. It’s so hard to win these races. Just to get here, it’s really surreal.”
Front-running favorite Four Wheel Drive ($5) improved to 3-for-3 as he took the Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) by three-quarters of a length under Irad Ortiz Jr., whose brother, Jose, rode runner-up Chimney Rock.
The horses were 1-2 for most of the race. The winner, trained by Wesley Ward, is the first Breeders’ Cup champion sired by 2015 Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.
“It’s great for the owners, fantastic for (breeder) Coolmore, fantastic for everyone who put a lot of money behind American Pharoah,” Ward said. “There’s a lot riding on him as far as how his progeny will turn out. For this horse to turn out to be a Breeders’ Cup winner is sensational.”
It was the third Cup win for Ward and the sixth for Ortiz. Four Wheel Drive went 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.66 seconds.
Structor ($12.60) stalked in third before accelerating past speedy long shot Billy Batts to win the Juvenile Turf (G1_ by three-quarters of a length for Jose Ortiz.
It was the 13th Breeders’ Cup win for the king of American grass racing, trainer Chad Brown. Eleven have come on the turf, including seven over Santa Anita’s course, but it was the first time he won the Juvenile Turf, which was run for the 13th time. It was Ortiz’s third Cup victory.
Favored Irish shipper Arizona, trained by Aidan O’Brien, finished fifth.
“Jose rode an outstanding race and made all the right calls,” Brown said. “I’m going to try this horse on the dirt at some point. He deserves it and he’s got the right running style to potentially run on both surfaces.”
The son of Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice covered a mile on firm turf in 1:35.11.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.