The first day of the 29th annual Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred horse races saw some very exciting outcomes. There were some decisive wins, but for the most part, races came down to the finish, keeping us on the edge of our seats.
Championship Friday saw some surprising upsets and a string of long-shot winners that shook things up a little bit on the first day of the action.
Royal Delta won the Ladies’ Classic for the second year in a row and made her case for Horse of the Year.
If today’s action was a taste to come for Saturday and the Classic, we’re all in store for one heck of a ride.
Let’s take a look at a recap of Friday’s action.
|Race No. 4: Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint|
|3||Sweet Shirley Mae||2.4|
Hightail, a 2-year-old and 16-to-1 underdog, won its first race by edging off favorite Merit Man by a nose at the finish line. Pre-race dropouts narrowed the field to just five horses before the action.
|Race No. 5: Breeders' Cup Marathon|
Calidoscopio, a 17-to-1 underdog, started off slow but didn’t quit. The Argentinian-bred horse overcame post-time favorite Antigun and increased its lead to a commanding 4 1/4 lengths.
The 9-year-old horse is the oldest to every mind a Breaders’ Cup race.
|Race No. 6: Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|3||Summer of Fun||19.4|
Flotilla (FR) used a steady approach, sitting at the back of the field until the top of the final stretch. Jockey Christophe Lemaire urged her along to leapfrog from sixth place to first and ultimately end up winning by 1 1/4 lengths.
Heavy favorite Sky Lantern failed to place and ended in eight place.
|Race No. 7: Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies|
|3||Dreaming of Julia||3.2|
Beholder used a quick-start to hold off a late surge in the final furlong by undefeated and heavy favorite Executiveprivilege to win by one length.
|Race No. 8: Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf|
|3||The Fugue (GB)||2.|
Zagora, a 9-to-1 underdog, edged out Marketing Mix and favorite The Fugue who finished third.
This was the fifth-consecutive Friday race in which a non-favorite ended up in the winner’s circle.
|Race No. 9: Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic|
|2||My Miss Aurelia||5.8||4|
|3||Include Me Out||5.2|
Last year, Royal Delta used a steady pace and late surge to capture the Ladies’ Classic win by 1 1/2 lengths. This year, she was much more dominant, jumping out to an early lead and setting one of the fastest paces in Ladies’ Classic history.
She was the 8-5 post-time favorite, the only favorite to win on Friday.