Modern Games Beats Bass Student Annapolis 12 More in Breeders’ Cup Mile; Flightline dominates in classic
The Irish-bred Modern Games beat Bass Racing’s own Annapolis and 12 other world-class thoroughbreds on Saturday in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. .
The race was contested as part of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, an event highlighted by the highly anticipated and widely anticipated victory of the undefeated Flightline, a career finale in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The undefeated 4-year-old won the 1¼ mile race by a record 8¼ lengths and will now retire for a breeding career at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky.
Modern Games, trained by British trainer Charles Appleby and ridden by England-based jockey William Buick, was the 6-5 betting favorite in the BC Mile and won by three-quarter lengths over the runner-up by far ( 55-1). Shirl’s Speight on the Keeneland grass course.
Annapolis, a product of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation run by Fort Worth philanthropist Ramona Bass and her son Perry Bass II, was the second choice in the bet (5-1) but did not never managed to get into contention and finished 11th after breaking behind the 14-horse field under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. It was the first time the 3-year-old colt trained by Todd Pletcher finished worse than second in eight races that produced five wins and two seconds.
While local fans focused on Annapolis and the BC Mile, much of the racing world was obsessed with the flagship race of the day, the Classic, and Flightline left no doubt as to who the best thoroughbred in This year.
The much-loved colt passed leader Life Is Good as he entered the top of the stretch and took victory in the $6 million race, nearly securing honors as Horse of the Year.
“Brilliant is his par,” coach John Sadler said. “He didn’t disappoint, and he never did. … This race, it’s just a remarkable, remarkable horse.
Flightline entered Saturday’s action with a lifetime record of 5-0 and an average winning margin of nearly 13 lengths, making him the crushing 2-5 favorite in an eight-horse field that included the second pick. Epicenter (5-1) and Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike.
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“He’s just this rare horse that happens every 20 or 30 years,” Sadler added. “One of the best American racehorses we’ve seen in a long, long time. And I respond to the Secretariat, Seattle Slew, you go through the list.
Ridden by Flavien Part, Flightline completed the mile and a quarter in 2:00.05 and paid $2.88 for a $2 winning bet. His winning time was just off Authentic’s record of 1:59.60 set at Keeneland two years ago.
Olympiad finished second at 26-1 odds, Taiba (8-1) finished third and Rich Strike (24-1) finished fourth.
The Breeders’ Cup nine-race card unfolded with partly sunny skies and stiff crosswinds blowing across the infield and backstretch. Skies became more overcast as the Classic approached in front of a crowd of 45,973, but no rain fell.
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In other Breeders’ Cup races:
- $4 Million Turf: Rebel’s Romance swept the leaders with a furrow left and earned a 2¼ length win over fellow Irishman Stone Age. The race featured nine Irish horses, one from Brazil and another from China.
- $2 Million Filly and Mare Turf: Tuesday caught In Italian at the 1/16th mark and raced to a one-length victory. The Irishman won for the third time this year and ended a four-race drought.
- $2 Million Sprint: Elite Power won by 1¼ in length over CZ Rocket, one of coach Bill Mott’s two wins.
- $1 Million Dirt Mile: Favorite Cody’s Wish caught and then passed Cyberknife in the stretch to win by a header. The foal is named after Cody Dorman, 17, who has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a rare genetic condition. A post-race investigation initially delayed making the finish official as the stewards looked into possible interference between Cyberknife, Slow Down Andy and Law Professor. The finish has been respected.
- $1 million Turf Sprint: 42-1 long shot Caravel upset, going from thread to thread beating Britain’s Emaraaty Ana by half a length.
- Sprint for Filly and $1 Million Mare: Goodnight Olive moved to the front in the stretch and won the Breeders’ Cup opener by seven furlongs by 2½ lengths over Echo Zulu. She won her sixth consecutive victory and her fourth at 4 years old.
Three horses have been observed for medical issues after being drawn in separate races:
- Messier, trained by Bob Baffert, competing for the first time since finishing 19th in the Kentucky Derby, was stopped after race two after jockey John Velazquez observed bleeding. The 3 year old colt was taken to the barn for evaluation and was stable and comfortable.
- Epicenter Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen was stopped during the Breeders’ Cup Classic by jockey Joel Rosario on the straight with a fractured right forelimb. Epicenter got into the equine ambulance and was taken to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, where he was to undergo surgery.
- British gelding Domestic Spending was pulled up by jockey Flavien Prat just after the farthest turn during the $2million Breeders’ Cup Mile. Trainer Chad Brown later tweeted that the horse suffered a severe broken pelvis and was in stable condition at Rood & Riddle.