Gun Runner eases to Breeders’ Cup Classic victory, Talismanic edges Longines Breeders Cup Turf
Gun Runner humbled a high-class field to win the $6m (£4.7m) Breeders' Cup Classic on the second day of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Championships at Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California, USA.
Ridden by Florent Geroux, the four-year-old led from the start to finish and charged clear in the home straight to win by two and a quarter lengths.
In doing so, the horse – trained by Steven Asmussen – claimed his fourth consecutive victory in a Grade One race having also won the Stephen Foster Handicap, Whitney Stakes and Woodward.
Collected finished second in America’s richest race, with West Coast taking third after a late run albeit a further length and a quarter adrift.
Last year’s winner Arrogate, making his final start, was unable to make up a slow start as he was joint fifth with Gunnevera. Churchill, trained by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, had made a promising start but slipped back through the field to finish seventh.
Earlier, the Godolphin operation added the Longines Breeders Cup Turf to its ever-increasing tally of big race successes when Talismanic delivered victory in another fine encounter.
Ridden by Mickael Barzalona, the Andre Fabre-trained horse became the latest European challenger to take the prestigious prize, coming in half a length clear of Beach Patrol in second.
All eyes were on whether Highland Reel could match High Chaparral in becoming a back-to-back winner. However the defending champion could only manage third, with the small consolation of knowing the prize money earned confirmed the horse as Europe’s biggest money-earner.
Jockey William Buick made a winning return to racing in the United States by riding Wuheida to victory in the Filly and Mare Turf. The success came three months after Buick suffered a serious injury from a fall in Chicago and the joy on the jockey’s face at the finish line was understandably gleaming. Wuheida, trained by Charlie Appleby and owned by the Godolphin operation, beat Rhododendron by a length, ahead of Cambodia in third who was a further three-quarters of a length back.
There was some success for Aiden O’Brien as Declarationofpeace won the Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes. Run over five furlongs for two year old horses, jockey Ryan Moore saw his mount to success by a head in a thrilling finish, getting the decision from Sound and Silence in second and Out Of The Flames in third.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile went the way of trainer Chad C Brown as Good Magic romped to an emphatic victory.
Having seen Rushing Fall take out the Juvenile Fillies Turf the day previous, Brown was in the winner’s enclosure once more as jockey Jose Ortiz steered Good Magic to this Grade One success, with Solomini and Bolt D’Oro trailing in second and third respectively.
Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing for Longines, presented Longines watches to the owner, breeder, trainer and jockey of winning horses of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff race, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf race.
The 2017 races at Del Mar marked the 34th edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Considered by many to be one of the premiere thoroughbred horseracing events of the year, the Breeders’ Cup attracts the best horses, breeders, trainers, and owners from across the globe. Additionally, the Breeders’ Cup Classic race is often one of the deciding factors in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings and the Longines World’s Best Jockey Award.