The racing was action-packed with the official attendance for @BreedersCup Future Stars Friday at Churchill Downs published at 42,249.
Bulletin showed excellent early speed to make all in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
In the first running of the race as an official part of the Breeders’ Cup programme – rather than on the undercard – the Todd Pletcher-trained juvenile broke smartly under Javier Castellano, with only Chelsea Cloisters going with him in the early stages.
Wesley Ward’s filly could not maintain the brutal gallop, however, and faded behind the winner in the straight, with none of the European raiders getting close to landing a telling blow.
Both tracks at Churchill Downs have faced a deluge of rain in recent days and few managed to get into the five-and-a-half furlong sprint, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained So Perfect staying on best of those from off the pace into third, with Queen Of Bermuda, from the William Haggas yard, next best in fourth.
Abbaye third Soldier’s Call and O’Brien’s Sergei Prokofiev were right towards the head of the market, yet neither managed to get involved in the finish.
Chad Brown has Royal Ascot on his mind for Newspaperofrecord after the long-striding filly lit up the early salvos of the Breeders’ Cup with a sensational front-running rout of her Juvenile Fillies Turf opposition.
Brown had won the $1 million Grade 1 four times in the previous ten years, but this daughter of Lope De Vega, a 200,000gns acquisition at the Tattersalls Book One sale last year, looks a little special.
On soft ground, she surged into a dominant position once the gates opened and obliterated the field from there to stretch her unbeaten record to three under Irad Otiz Jr. It was nearly seven lengths back to Kevin Ryan’s East under Jamie Spencer, with Aidan O’Brien’s Just Wonderful taking fourth.
If Newspaperofrecord were to travel to Britain next year, Royal Ascot would doubtless be the likeliest destination, and she could lend some real x-factor to the meeting were she to turn up in this sort of shape.
Line Of Duty entered the Derby picture after surging up the Churchill Downs straight to win the Juvenile Turf, getting Britain off the mark at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Off a strong early tempo, William Buick produced 3-1 joint-favourite Line Of Duty late, pulling the two-year-old out off the home bend before he quickened smartly down the outside to claim Uncle Benny and Somelikeithotbrown. The Tom Dascombe-trained Arthur Kitt emerged with plenty of credit in fourth.
Line Of Duty did bump Uncle Benny late on, causing an anxious wait for connections as the stewards launched an inquiry, but the Charlie Appleby-trained juvenile kept the race, much to the relief of Buick.
The relieved jockey said: “I’ve never been so tense on a racecourse, but that was a great decision by the stewards because we saw the best horse won the race. I thought he did very well because I didn’t have a straightforward trip myself.
“He jumped too well, which we can’t really say many times about our horses – especially two-year-olds – so I took him back and then I got a couple of bumps and had to take him off heels.
“I can’t explain to you how relieved I am right now.”
It was another big win in a superb year for Godolphin, Buick and Appleby, the highlight of which was a Derby victory at Epsom for Masar who, incidentally, came sixth in this race when favourite at Del Mar a year ago.
That may be a small comfort for Aidan O’Brien, who saw potential Classic hope Anthony Van Dyck finish down the field after failing to fire from an admittedly difficult wide draw.
The racing continues today!