By Emily Shields
The first day of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup is in the books, with the five races producing some thrilling results.
Golden Pal ($3.60) opened the card by winning the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) in impressive fashion. The son of Uncle Mo and the brilliant mare Lady Shipman broke on top, was briefly strangled back and threw his head in protest, then rolled on ahead to win by three-quarters of a length. 11-1 Cowan ran second, with 26-1 European shipper Ubettabelieveit (Ire) running third. Wesley Ward trains the winner, who was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ward also won this race last year with Four Wheel Drive.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) went to Fire At Will ($62.40) in a shocker. The 30-1 shot ran away to score by three lengths over the blue-blooded favorite Battleground, with Ward’s Outadore finishing third. Mike Maker trains the winner, who was ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr. The final time for the one-mile contest was 1:35.81.
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) saw a heavy favorite in the unbeaten Princess Noor. She ultimately finished fifth, with 6-1 Vequist winning with a clever rail trip by Joel Rosario. The daughter of freshman stallion Nyquist scored by two lengths over Dayoutoftheoffice, with Girl Daddy third. Robert Reid, Jr. trains the winner.
The second one-mile race was the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), which went to the Irish-bred, American-raced Aunt Pearl ($7.20). The favorite in a field of 14, Aunt Pearl made all with a wire to wire trip, scoring by 2 ½ lengths under Florent Geroux. The daughter of Lope de Vega was the first of two straight winners for trainer Brad Cox.
The second winner for Cox was Essential Quality ($9.40), a stunning gray colt who won the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) by three-quarters of a length. The son of Tapit outran 94-1 shot Hot Rod Charlie in the lane; the latter giving bettors a scare at the top of the stretch. 30-1 shot Keepmeinmind ran third, with the formerly unbeaten favorite Jackie’s Warrior fourth. Godolphin’s Essential Quality topped a $4,077.69 trifecta.
Breeders’ Cup action continues at Keeneland on Saturday, November 7, with nine championship races.
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