2011 Breeders' Cup Results: Top Performers and Highlights from Friday's Races

Carlos TorresContributor INovember 5, 2011

2011 Breeders' Cup Results: Top Performers and Highlights from Friday's Races

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    Day one of the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships is on the books.

    In thoroughbred racing, the trainers and jockeys play a big role in what their horses will do and how they perform. But ultimately, all it takes is a little intervention from Lady Luck, and all that planning and preparation goes down the drain.

    And yesterday we certainly had a bit of everything. Championship Friday provided us with wins by big favorites and wins by some very good long shots.

    We saw favorites have all kinds of trouble on the races, and also ones who were able to steer clear of Lady Luck and perform like the champions they were.

    There were also the feel good stories. We saw coverage of the owners, trainers and jockeys—but the biggest stories, once again were the horses, the athletes of these races.

    If yesterday was a taste of things to come on the second day of the Breeders' Cup, we are in for a thrilling ride.

    Let's review the highlights and the top performers from the races on championship Friday.

Secret Circle Wins the Juvenile Sprint

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    Heavy favorite Secret Circle won the inaugural edition of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint after a stretch-shifting run that almost gave the race away.

    At the start, Secret Circle bumped with Shumoos, but recovered quickly and stalked pace-setting Trinniberg to an astounding :20.96 opening quarter.

    He took the clear lead by three lengths at the top of the stretch, and looked like he was running away from Holdin Bullets, who had fallen to second place. But then, when jockey Rafael Bejarano whipped him on his left side, he started shifting towards the outside.

    Bejarano straightened him in the final meters and held off a hard-charging Shumoos, under Garrett Gomez, on the inside.

    Secret Circle gave trainer Bob Baffert his eighth Breeders' Cup win. It was the third win for jockey Bejarano.

    Time: :20.96, :44.55, :56.99, 1:10.52

    Order of finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    Secret Circle $2.80 $2.40 $2.10
    Shumoos   $8.20 $5.60
    Holdin Bullets     $6.20
    Jake Mo      
    Sum of the Parts      
    Blacky the Bull      

Stephanie's Kitten Wins the Juvenile Turf

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    Stephanie's Kitten was able to run down pace-setting Stopshoppingmaria to win the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf by three-quarters of a length.

    Jockey John Velazquez placed Stephanie's Kitten fifth, right behind the lead pack, all the way around the track. Stopshoppingmaria, under Javier Castellano, led uncontested, followed by Sweet Cat with Garrett Gomez.

    At the stretch, Velazquez found a spot on the inside. He split Stopshoppingmaria and Sweet Cat at the three-sixteenths, then ran down the leader for the win.

    The favorite, Elusive Kate, was three and four wide through the turns, and never threatened. Second-choice Somali Lemonade was seven wide through the first turn and was too far to make her run at the end.

    This win proved that the decisions John Velazquez and Ken Ramsey made on Stephanie's Kitten were the right ones.

    Velazquez was the rider for Stopshoppingmaria and Sweet Cat, who are trained by his main client Todd Pletcher. But he chose Stephanie's Kitten after winning the G1 Alcibiades over the Keeneland's Polytrack a month ago.

    For owner Ken Ramsey, it was about rejecting a buying offer from celebrity chef Bobby Flay for $1 million. Stephanie's Kitten is a home-bred and her sire is Kitten's Joy. But mainly, Ramsey kept her because he named her after his granddaughter Stephanie.

    For jockey John Velazquez, it was his ninth Breeders Cup win and the third for the trainer Wayne Catalano.

    Time :24.57, :50.55, 1:15.71, 1:27.12, 1:38.90

    Order of finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    Stephanie's Kitten $14.20 $6.60 $5.20
    Stopshoppingmaria   $9.20
    Sweet Cat
    Up (IRE)
    Hard Not to Like
    Somali Lemonade
    Pure Gossip
    Elusive Kate
    Royal Bonnie      
    Customer Base      
    My Gi Gi      
    Ann of the Dance      
    Dear Lavinia      

Musical Romance Upsets the Field at the Filly and Mare Sprint

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    Musical Romance took the inside rail at the home stretch to pass favorite Turbulent Descent and took the upset win at the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

    Golden Mystery was sent to the lead at the start of the race; Musical Romance followed her at second place to the opening quarter pole.

    Then, at the half pole, Tamarind Hall started pressuring the leader from second place. Musical Romance was taken back to fourth, right behind Pomeroys Pistol—who had started to make her move on the outside—and in front of favorite Turbulent Descent, who also was moving forward.

    At the top of the stretch, Turbulent Descent had taken the lead and looked like she would draw clear, but stalled on her run.

    That was when jockey Juan Carlos Leyva drove Musical Romance to the inside and made his winning move with a furlong to go.

    She drew clear of Turbulent Descent and Pomeroys Pistol, and held on by just over a length in front of the hard-charging Switch and Her Smile. Those two hit the wire in a photo finish for second and third place.

    The favorite, Turbulent Descent, had a terrible trip. She was squeezed at the start, and clipped heels with Champagne d'Oro at the opening quarter pole. She had a terrific race considering the circumstances.

    The first scratch of the day was also in this race. Shotgun Gulch was not warming up properly and was retired by the vets. That brought the incident with Life At Ten last year to everyone's mind.

    For trainer Bill Kaplan and jockey Juan Carlos Leyva, it was their first Breeders' Cup win.

    Time :22.40, :45.71, 1:10.59, 1:23.47

    Order of finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    Musical Romance
    $42.40 $15.60 $8.60
    Switch   $8.20 $5.60
    Her Smile
    Pomeroys Pistol
    Turbulent Descent
    Champagne d'Oro
    Golden Mystery
    Irish Gypsy
    Tamarind Hall      
    Great Hot (BRZ)      
    Tar Heel Mom      

My Miss Aurelia Is the Real Deal After Dominating the Juvenile Fillies

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    My Miss Aurelia maintained her unbeaten record following an impressive win at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

    A lot of handicappers questioned whether she could be rated and win at this distance. The only question now—in a move reminiscent of Uncle Mo at the juvenile last year—is: how many more will she win?

    Candrea took advantage of her post near the rail to take the early lead, and jockey Corey Nakatani settled My Miss Aurelia just off her in second.

    She kept the pressure until the middle of the final turn and, at the three-quarter pole, she took the lead away from Candrea. At this point, her two biggest threats, Grace Hall and Weemissfrankie, were in fourth and fifth place.

    But, at the top of the stretch, she had drawn clear by two lengths over Grace Hall and kept on running to win it by three. Grace Hall, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, was an easy second-place finisher, setting up the rivalry between them for next year.

    For jockey Corey Nakatani, this was his eighth Breeders' Cup win; for trainer Steve Asmussen, it was his second.

    Time :23.20, :47.19, 1:13.08, 1:39.20, 1:46.00

    Order of finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    My Miss Aurelia $6.20 $4.00 $3.00
    Grace Hall
      $4.60 $3.20
    Weemissfrankie     $3.60
    Self Preservation
    Questing (GB)
    Miss Netta
    Northern Passion
    Frolic's Revenge
    Say a Novena      
    Awesome Belle      
    Rocket Twentyone      
    Homecoming Queen (IRE)      

Perfect Shirl Gets the Upset of the Day at the Filly and Mare Turf

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    For the second year in a row, a shocking upset took place at the Filly and Mare Turf. The winner, Perfect Shirl, was the longest shot of the cup races at 27-1.

    Perfect Shirl did not have a perfect trip, but jockey John Velazquez rode her perfectly. Johnny V. had to check Perfect Shirl at the second turn and it almost looked like he was going to fall off the horse.

    But he held on and followed Nahrain—who was running fourth—around the track, waiting for the run at the stretch. It was right when they hit the stretch that Velazquez drove Perfect Shirl to the outside. 

    Velazquez ran down Nahrain—who took the lead early in the home stretch—for the three-quarter length win.

    Misty for Me bobbled at the start and came from last place to claim second in a photo finish over Nahrain. Distorted Legacy and Aruna hit the wire with the leaders, just behind in fourth and fifth place.

    Favorite Stacelita was pinned down all the way on the inside and never found room to run. When she started to run at the stretch, everyone was full speed ahead and she finished a disappointing 11th.

    There was a momentary controversy when—on the advice of the track veterinarian—Announced was scratched from the race by stewards. At that point, with a couple minutes to post, she was the third choice at 6-1.

    She had been rattled on the backstretch during the warm-up and scraped her right hock on the rail. Her jockey, Maxime Guyon, was irate when returning to the jockeys' room after the race.

    Guyon didn't think there was anything wrong with the horse and didn't understand why she had been scratched. They later said that the filly required stitches, so the scratch was a wise decision.

    Time: :25.44, :51.07, 1:16.90, 1:41.72, 2:06.42, 2:18.62

    Order of Finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    Perfect Shirl
    $57.60 $18.60 $11.60
    Nahrain (GB)
      $5.00 $3.80
    Misty for Me (IRE)
    Distorted Legacy
    Dubawi Heights (GB)
    Shared Account
    Cambina (IRE)
    Stacelita (FR)      

Royal Delta Definitely the Best in the Ladies Classic

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    Jockey Jose Lezcano had to dig deep in his bag of tricks at the top of the stretch to make Royal Delta switch leads and win the Ladies Classic.

    At the start, Plum Pretty took the lead with easy fractions, followed by It's Tricky and Royal Delta.

    In the backstretch, Ask The Moon—a horse everyone thought was going for the lead at the start—moved into second, but didn't press Plum Pretty.

    It's Tricky and Royal Delta kept their tracking positions in third and fourth. At the three-quarter pole, It's Tricky started her move on Plum Pretty; Royal Delta stayed at fourth.

    It's Tricky took the lead at the top of the stretch and Royal Delta was third, but didn't advance.

    Then Lezcano made Royal Delta switch lead hands, and she started her final and decisive winning drive. She passed It's Tricky and won by two-and-a-half lengths.

    Plum Pretty finished a disappointing fifth and had no excuses today. She set a comfortable pace and had nothing at the end.

    With this win, Royal Delta has more than likely secured the Eclipse Award for the top three-year-old filly.

    For her jockey Jose Leazcano, it was his second Breeders' Cup win and sixth for trainer Bill Mott. Mott has won four Ladies Classics (previously known as the Distaff). This is his second straight win.

    Time :24.18, :49.00, 1:13.72, 1:38.12, 1:50.78

    Order of Finish and payouts:

    Horse Win Place Show
    Royal Delta
    $6.40 $4.00 $3.20
    It's Tricky
      $5.00 $3.80
    Pachattack     $6.00
    Ultra Blend
    Plum Pretty
    Ask the Moon
    Super Espresso
    Satans Quick Chick
    Miss Match (ARG)

John Velazquez Scores Two Cup Wins

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    The top performer yesterday was jockey John Velazquez. He started the day trailing Ramon Dominguez in the Jockeys Money List by over $900,000.

    Then he won the Juvenile Turf Sprint (with Stephanie's Kitten) and the Filly and Mare Turf (with Perfect Shirl).

    Add to those wins his third-place finish with Her Smile in the Juvenile Sprint, and he had a hefty paycheck day. 

    He was 2-0-1 from five mounts yesterday, for a whooping $1.719 Million, enough to take him to the lead in the money list. Now he leads Dominguez by $178,247.

    Velazquez's strategy paid off on both wins. He ran classic grass riding, as he perfectly placed his mounts and gave them their best shot at winning.

    His two wins yesterday give him a total of 10 cup wins. Today Velazquez will have at last three horses with a legitimate shot at winning: Uncle Mo (Classic), Trappe Shot (Sprint) and Finale (Juvenile Turf).