By Emily Shields
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup came to a conclusion Saturday when the nine championship races were run at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
The day began with heavy favorite Gamine ($4.20) winning the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Into Mischief was taking her third Grade 1 of the season, and did so in style with a 6 ¼-length romp over 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Serengeti Empress and Bell’s the One. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:20.20, which smashed the track record.
Glass Slippers (GB) ($22.40) became the first of four dominant European winners when the daughter of Dream Ahead took the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) in a roughly run race. She slipped up the rail to score by a half-length over 26-1 Wet Your Whistle and favorite Leinster. Kevin Ryan trains the four-year-old filly.
The $1 million Dirt Mile (G1) went to front-running Knicks Go ($5.60). He became the third of trainer Brad Cox’s four Breeders’ Cup winners with a decisive 3 ½ lengths score over Jesus’ Team and Sharp Samurai. Joel Rosario rode the gray son of Paynter, who runs for the Korea Racing Authority. He went off favored despite not being the morning line choice.
The $2 million Filly and Mare Turf (G1) went to French invader Audarya ($37.60), a daughter of Wootton Bassett. Substitute rider Pierre-Charles Boudot was up for the neck victory over top American favorite Rushing Fall and American Pharoah’s daughter Harvey’s Lil Goil. Canadian hopeful Starship Jubilee stumbled at the break and tossed jockey Florent Geroux.
Popular older campaigner Whitmore ($38.80) won the $2 million Sprint in his fourth attempt at the race. Favored C Z Rocket ran second with Firenze Fire third. Irad Ortiz, Jr. was up for the win on the Ron Moquett trainee, who is by Pleasantly Perfect.
The talk all week was on Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien never having won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). He ultimately swept the trifecta, shocking with 73-1 Order of Australia ($148.40) winning over stablemates Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez. The O’Brien trifecta paid $4,393 for 50 cents.
The second Cox winner of the day was from Monomoy Girl ($4.00) in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She also won the Distaff in 2018, then missed the entire 2019 season. Second choice Swiss Skydiver, winner of the 2020 Preakness Stakes, finished seventh after stumbling at the start. Florent Geroux was aboard Monomoy Girl, a daughter of Tapizar.
The $4 million Turf (G1) was another European storm, as the filly Tarnawa (Ire) $11.40) ran down the brilliant mare Magical to win with a thrilling rally. Colin Keane was up on the Dermot Weld trainee; the Irish trainer has won in seven countries, but never in the Breeders’ Cup.
The climax of the day was the $6 million Classic (G1), which went to Authentic ($10.40). He led a Bob Baffert-trained exacta, as Improbable closed for second. Grade 1 winner Global Campaign was third, followed by Tacitus, Maximum Security, and Tiz the Law. Authentic is now likely to be named Horse of the Year and Champion Three Year Old Male. John Velazquez was aboard for the win - he had never won the Classic before, while it was Baffert’s fourth.
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