Kentucky-breds captured three races on the Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday program at Del Mar Nov. 6, increasing the Bluegrass state’s total to 231 victories in the event’s history, more than any other state or country.
Speedway Stables’ Kentucky-bred Corniche grabbed the early lead away from the gate and was never headed, holding off Pappacap by 1 ¾ lengths to win the $2 million Juvenile (G1). Ridden by Mike Smith for trainer Bob Baffert, Corniche covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.50.
“The only thing I was worried about was that he got hotter (before the race in the post parade) than he ever had,” said Mike Smith. “It just made me get calmer. I don’t think I have ever been so calm in a big race. I just sat really still, he caught a flyer leaving the gate and just left him alone.”
Now a two-time Grade 1 winner and undefeated in three starts, Corniche is now an earner of $1,262,000. A $1,500,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company graduate, the son of Quality Road out of the Najran mare Wasted Tears was bred in the Bluegrass by Bart Evans and Stonehaven Steadings.
L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Echo Zulu led gate to wire to take down top prize in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Echo Zulu was never seriously threatened in the 1 1/16-mile test and posted a 5 ¼-length score in 1:42.24. For trainer Steve Asmussen, it was his second win in the Juvenile Fillies. In winning her third Grade 1 race and fourth overall, Echo Zulu has won her races by a combined margin of 22 lengths.
“The level of pride is just unbelievable with her being the first crop of Gun Runner, what he’s done for us,” said Asmussen. “A filly that came through mom and dad’s program in Laredo. She’s just brilliant. She’s faster than they are. It’s as simple as that. We’re so fortunate to be around her.”
The daughter of Gun Runner is out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho. She was bred in Kentucky by Betz, J. Betz, Burns, CHNNHK, Magers, Co Co Equine, and Ramsby. She now boasts career earnings of $1,480,000.
“It reminds me of Gun Runner,” said owner Ron Winchell. “She got out there and took command. Then took it down a notch, relaxed and got it done in the stretch.”
Bobby Flay’s homebred Pizza Bianca surged late in a dramatic finish to win the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) by a half-length for trainer Christophe Clement. The exciting victory gave Clement his first ever Breeders’ Cup triumph with his 41st starter.
“Very nice. Great win,” said Clement. “I’m delighted.”
Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Pizza Bianca covered the mile over a firm turf in 1:36.08. The $520,000 winner’s share of the purse increased Pizza Bianca’s bankroll to $637,635. She is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock (AUS) out of the Galileo (IRE) mare White Hot (IRE).
“For some reason on the second turn I ended up father back than I wanted to be,” said Jose Ortiz. “So, I kept going in, going in, and finally I got in at the quarter pole. At the eighth pole, I got a perfect split. I had a lot of horse.”