- Appleby claimed his 10th success from 20 runners with Master of the Seas
- Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a one-two as Unquestionable led home Mountain Bear
- Big Evs triumphed claimed a poignant triumph in the Juvenile Turf Sprint
They bill it as racing’s world championships for good reason — the 40th Breeders Cup meeting was a breathtaking showcase of the sport at its best.
Santa Anita is 20 miles from Hollywood, so it was fitting we were treated to romance and drama, suspense, swiftly changing plots and nail- biting drama over two action-packed days.
Mail Sport looks back at five key storylines.
Wasn’t Charlie Appleby supposed to be having a bad season? Having spent months looking for reasons why his horses had underperformed, the tide has turned.
When Master of the Seas came with a withering late run to pip another Godolphin runner — Mawj, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor — on the line in the Mile, it enhanced Appleby’s superb statistics at this event — 10 winners from 20 runners is staggering.
Master of the Seas (above) saw trainer Charlie Appleby secure a 10th win from 20 runners
Jockeyship certainly played a part. William Buick managed to save four strides coming around the home turn (he thought rivals would nudge him further away from the rails) so when you consider the slender winning distance was a nose, it shows the move’s importance.
A brilliant performance, then, from rider, trainer and horse. Coming seven days after Ancient Wisdom’s commanding triumph in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, Appleby can head into the winter on a high.
DREAM’S SAD ENDING
The result many wanted to see was Live in the Dream scorch up the straight and land the Turf Sprint for trainer Adam West, jockey Sean Kirrane and owner Steve de’Lemos. His rags-to-riches story is compelling.
But the favourite got worn down late in the day and West, clearly, was devastated. Losing hurt and he explained it as such: ‘It feels like a giant kick in the b*******.’
De’Lemos said ‘it hadn’t been an easy week’ in one post-race interview, suggesting things hadn’t gone to plan. The ambition is to run in the same race at Del Mar in 12 months, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out from here.
AIDAN’S ALL-STAR CAST
Aidan O’Brien expected to land the Juvenile Turf with River Tiber, a Royal Ascot winner whose work recently has been exceptional.
But the colt was stopped from running by a local vet who was adamant, after watching him walk on Friday, that he was lame.
Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a one-two in Juvenile Turf as Unquestionable led home Mountain Bear
O’Brien still ended up winning the Juvenile Turf with Unquestionable and that stiffened the opinion that what you are looking at is the best crop of two-year-olds in one stable that has ever been assembled.
Unquestionable joined City Of Troy, Henry Longfellow, Los Angeles, Opera Singer and Ylang Ylang as a Group One winning juvenile. Ryan Moore said ‘there’s plenty to look forward to’ in 2024 and he is right.
MOORE THE MERRIER
On that note, a word on the jockey. He dashed out of Santa Anita to get a 16-hour flight to Australia, where he partners Vauban for Willie Mullins in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow. His schedule in the next month will see him traverse the Far East.
He will wonder what all the fuss was about over the ride he gave to Auguste Rodin in the Turf, the kind of daring that scrapped the paint on the rails, but Moore has been a joy to watch this last year.
Big Evs triumphed claimed a poignant triumph with Tom Marquand in the Juvenile Turf Sprint
EVS HAS GOT THE REVS
The money that Paul and Rachael Teasdale were offered to sell Big Evs this summer was colossal — we are talking in multiple millions. Many will wonder why they didn’t cash in when he cost a fraction of that to buy, but there is another way of looking at it.
A windfall would have been significant, but they would never have been able to buy an experience or the memories they have had this golden summer. What winning the Juvenile Turf Sprint meant to the Teasdales, trainer Mick Appleby and jockey Tom Marquand showed there is more to life than money.
The phone, certainly, will keep ringing but callers will be wasting their time. Appleby is planning a three-year-old campaign that includes the Commonwealth Cup, the July Cup and — all being well — the Breeders Cup again. All roads lead to Del Mar.