Truly global results at 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Truly global results at 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships

White Abarrio, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., wins the Breeders' Cup Classic during the 40th running of the Breeders' Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Saturday, Photo by Mark Abraham/UPI

1 of 8 | White Abarrio, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic during the 40th running of the Breeders’ Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Saturday, Photo by Mark Abraham/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) — The 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships returned truly global results Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita, as cresting American star White Abarrio defeated a Japanese horse in the $6 million Classic and Europeans ruled in the big turf events.

The weekend, blessed with perfect weather, also saw some dramatic and heart-warming moments through the 14 Championship races.

On the dirt track …

White Abarrio capped a remarkable climb through the ranks with a striking, stretch-running victory in the $6 million Classic, the centerpiece of the weekend’s racing.

The light gray 4-year-old always was close, and once he got to the front, he was not for catching, winning by 1 length. Japanese runner Derma Sotogake, last seen finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby, came closest, with hard-trying 5-year-old Proxy third.

White Abarrio won the 2022 Florida Derby, but has been inconsistent since a 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. This year, he had finished eighth in the Pegasus World Cup and won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

He improved a bit to finish third in the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont Park in June, and then hit his stride in the Grade I Whitney at Saratoga, winning that by 6 1/4 lengths.

This year’s Classic field, already lacking many top-level older horses, was further diluted, as the winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes were sidelined with injuries and the Preakness winner went to another race.

Idiomatic raced just off the pace in the $2 million Longines Distaff, took a narrow lead in the stretch run and held on gamely to win by 1/2 length over Randomized in a multi-horse photo. The camera found Le Da Vida third, just in front of Clairiere.

Idiomatic, a 4-year-old Juddmonte Farms homebred filly, got her fifth straight victory and seventh from her last eight starts. Brad Cox trains the filly and was actively campaigning for “Horse of the Year” votes in his post-race news conference.

The day’s most heartwarming, dramatic moment came in the first Championship race as sentimental favorite and defending champion Cody’s Wish rallied to win the $1 million Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile by a nose after a stretch duel with Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure.

Cody’s Wish, with his disabled young namesake Cody Dorman looking on from his wheelchair, then had to withstand a long inquiry before the result was made official to cheers from the supportive crowd. The Godolphin homebred heads off to retirement with 11 wins from 16 starts.

Elite Power powered home first in the $1 million Qatar Racing Sprint, defending his title over chief rival Gunite. Ironically, Nakatomi, owned by the race sponsor, finished third.

Speed Boat Beach, the last chance for perennial Breeders’ Cup winning trainer Bob Baffert to land a race this year, finishing a fading fourth.

Goodnight Olive, under a confident, pace-stalking ride by Irad Ortiz Jr., easily defended her crown in the $1 million PNC Bank Filly & Mare Sprint.

Allowed to settle early behind the leaders, the 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare took the lead in the lane and won by 2 3/4 lengths over Yuugiri with long shot Three Witches third. Goodnight Olive has won nine of her 12 starts.

On the turf …

Auguste Rodin laid claim to being the world’s top turf horse, thrashing a quality field including stars from Japan, Europe and America in the $4 million Longines Turf.

With Ryan Moore riding for the Coolmore partners and trainer Aidan O’Brien, the son of the late Japanese sire Deep Impact endured plenty of early traffic trouble, saved ground well back and slipped through an opening on the fence at the top of the stretch.

He hit the front and never seemed threatened thereafter, winning the 1 1/2-mile race by 3/4 length from the best of the locals, Up to the Mark. Japanese raider Shahryar was third, adding to the international luster.

Auguste Rodin came to California already winner of the English Derby, the Irish Derby and the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes. Now, perhaps, only Japanese superstar Equinox could be considered a rival.

His connections said he may stay in training next year and O’Brien even mentioned trying dirt as Deep Impact’s sire, Sunday Silence, seemed to do well on that surface.

Inspiral, with Frankie Dettori riding, came from the clouds in the final furlong to win the $2 million Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf by a neck over Warm Heart and jockey Ryan Moore. Moira, the 2022 Queen’s Plate winner, narrowly defeated Japanese raider Win Marilyn for show money.

Inspiral, a 4-year-old Frankel filly, posted her third straight Grade I or Group 1 victory, following the Jacques Le Marois in France and the Sun Chariot Stakes in England. Bred and raced by historic Cheveley Park Stud, she is trained by John and Thady Gosden.

A lively edition of the $2 million FanDuel Mile wound up as a tight 1-2 finish for Godolphin’s runners with Master of The Seas overcoming the outside gate to defeat Mawj by a nose with a late rush. Casa Creed was third, and Japan’s hopeful, Songline, finished fifth as the favorite, lacking a late bid.

Master of The Seas, with William Buick up for trainer Charlie Appleby, was second, beaten just a nose, in the Grade I Turf Mile at Keeneland in his previous start and won the Group 1 Woodbine Mile before that.

Nobals, trained by long-time Arlington Park champion Larry Rivelli, came flying late to land the $1 million Turf Sprint over Big Invasion with Ireland’s Aesop’s Fables third.

Nobals, a 4-year-old gelding, benefitted from a blistering early pace to land his first Grade I score. It also was Rivelli’s first Grade I.

The 2-year-olds …

Friday’s program was given over to 2-year-olds and produced the de facto early favorites for the 2024 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.

Fierceness jetted away in the stretch to win the $2 million Juvenile and Just F Y I took the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. Both have a long way to go, but a leg up now on the first weekend in May.

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