Bill Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer of Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic winner Royal Delta, has a chance to sweep the top events of the two-day thoroughbred race meet with three entries in the $5 million Classic.
The 15-race championship series with more than $25 million paid out in purses ends today with nine races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Mott trained three of the 12 entries running in the 1 ¼- mile Classic: Flat Out (5-1), Ron the Greek (6-1) and To Honor and Serve (8-1). He won last year’s Classic with Drosselmeyer and the Ladies’ Classic with Royal Delta.
“I’m not trying to do it just because we did it last year,” Mott said. “I feel no pressure to do that. I just want to do it because we’re in there. I’ve got three good horses in the Classic and I think any one of them could win the race on their big day.”
Game on Dude, who ran second to Drosselmeyer last year and is co-owned by Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre, is the early 9-5 favorite in the Classic. The thoroughbred is trained by Bob Baffert.
Royal Delta, who left the gate with 8-5 odds in the $2 million Ladies Classic, was the only favorite to win on the six-race card yesterday.
The 4-year-old, known for rallying to first from behind the pack, shot off to an early lead to carry jockey Mike Smith to his record 16th Breeders’ Cup victory.
“I literally caught a flyer leaving there which means she broke well,” Smith said in a televised interview. “She’s never really broken well. I just needed to catch a break. She’s just brilliant.”
The filly covered the 1 1/8 miles in one minute, 48.8 seconds to win by 1 1/2 lengths over seven challengers. Royal Delta returned $5.40, $3.60 and $2.60 on a $2 bet. My Miss Aurelia paid $5.80 and $4, while Include Me Out paid $5.20.
“Our plan was not to get in her way,” Mott said of his Horse of the Year contender. “We were going to let her go up and tend the pace.”
Zagora, at 9-1 odds, won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, which makes her a top contender for the national champion turf female.
Ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Chad Brown, Zagora caught leader Marketing Mix in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length. The filly covered the 1 1/4 miles in one minute, 49.70 seconds.
Zagora paid $20.40, $7.80 and $5 on a $2 bet. Marketing Mix paid $6 and $3.80 and British entry The Fugue returned $2.80.
Beholder went wire-to-wire to stay ahead of 3-2 favorite Executiveprivilege in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. Beholder paid $9.80, $4.60 and $3 on a $2 bet; Executiveprivilege returned $3.40 and $2.40 and Dreaming of Julia was third for $3.20.
Argentina’s Calidoscopio, going off at 17-1, became the first South American-trained runner and the oldest contender at 9 years old to win a Breeders’ Cup race by taking first in the 1 3/4 miles $500,000 Marathon. Calidoscopio closed from 20 lengths back in a field of 14 to win by 4 1/4 lengths. He paid $36.40, $16 and $9.60 on a $2 bet. Grassy was second, paying $12.40 and $7.60 and the favorite Atigun returned $3.40.
Hightail, winless in his first eight races, beat the 1-2 favorite Merit Man by a nose in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint. Hightail, the first maiden to win a Breeders’ Cup race, gave trainer Wayne D. Lukas his record 19th victory overall in the Breeders’ Cup series.
The 2-year-old Hightail paid $32.80, $7.20 and $3.40, while Merit Man returned $2.40 and $2.10. Sweet Shirley Mae was third to return $2.40.
French mare Flotilla posted an 11-1 upset in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf to give jockey Christophe Lemaire and trainer Mikel Delzangles their first Breeders’ Cup victories.
Flotilla paid $24.80, $10.80 and $7.80 on a $2 bet. Watsdachances was second to return $6.40 and $5.40 and Summer of Fun was third to pay $19.40.