Belvoir Bay stars in fairytale Turf Sprint win

Mare escaped training centre fires in December 2017.

  • Saturday 02 November
  • News
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Belvoir Bay smashed the five-furlong course record as she landed an emotional success in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.

The six-year-old – the only mare in the field – burst out of the stalls and led all the way under Javier Castellano, to give trainer Peter Miller a third consecutive victory in the race, following two wins for Stormy Liberal, who was out of the places on this occasion.

Covering the trip in 54.83 seconds, the 14-1 shot was steered to victory by a length and a quarter from her stablemate Om.

It was an amazing triumph, as Belvoir Bay had escaped the San Luis Rey training centre fires in December 2017 and was missing for two days before being found and nursed back to health and racing again.

Miller said: “I trained her just the same as Stormy Liberal when he came back off a lay-off three years ago. She’s as tough as nails, and when she made the lead I knew she’d be hard to get past.”

Spun To Run (9-1) ran his rivals into the ground by making all in the Dirt Mile.

Irad Ortiz Jr was positive from the gates on the Juan Guerrero-trained three-year-old, and it paid off with a dominant display.

Favourite Omaha Beach stumbled at the start and came from the back of the field to take second place, with Blue Chipper, who tried to serve it up to the winner, in third.

“It means the world to me. We work really hard for these,” said Guerrero, celebrating a first Breeders’ Cup triumph.

“I’ve had every faith in him from the minute we put full-cup blinkers on him. He’s been able to concentrate on everything by himself.

“We had an issue with the epiglottis with him and we’ve overcome that today.”

He added: “I told Irad to let him run and don’t worry – he’ll keep going. The more you give this horse, the more he wants.

“I wanted to give him a break, but my work rider said he’s really kicking the box down, so I had to let him run.”

Ortiz said: “I let him roll and he didn’t want to come back to me. I tried to fight him, but it was no use.

“I just let him do his thing and I was a passenger.”

Covfefe (2-1 joint-favourite) ran out a ready winner of the Filly & Mare Sprint.

The Brad Cox-trained three-year-old showed a neat turn of foot at the top of the straight to put the race to bed and score by three-quarters of a length from Bellafina under Joel Rosario.

Cox said: “It’s a dream come true to saddle two winners at the Breeders’ Cup and Covfefe dug deep there.

“She’s a privilege to train, and just keeps getting better. Great for the owners and Joel Rosario, who was going back to back on her.”

Mitole wore down the pace-setting Shancealot in the closing stages to claim the honours in the Sprint.

Shancealot set a blistering gallop, with Mitole only fourth, but jockey Ricardo Santana Jr was able to save Steve Asmussen’s four-year-old for a strong challenge.

Mitole (9-5) quickened away in the final half-furlong to comfortably take the six-furlong prize by one a quarter lengths and make it nine wins from his last 10 starts.

Asmussen said: “His elite ability only comes along very rarely. We laid out a path which we felt was highlighted by the Met Mile.

“After that he regrouped and showed he was the fastest horse in the world today.”

Blue Prize, trained by Ignacio Correas IV, upstaged hot favourite Midnight Bisou to lift the Distaff.

Serengeti Empress led into the straight, where Blue Prize (8-1) surged to the front under Joe Bravo and galloped on strongly to keep the prolific Midnight Bisou at bay.

Correas said: “I’m just stunned for this filly that she gets better with every race. It’s very easy when you have a horse like that. It makes our job very easy.

“You always think about Midnight Bisou. We know she’s a super filly, but I’m proud of this mare.”

Belvoir Bay stars in fairytale Turf Sprint win
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